The NFL agreed this offseason that Mike Tirico on play-by-play duties won’t be a bad thing for “Thursday Night Football.”
Tirico will take Al Michaels’ place on NBC’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts this season, according to multiple reports including the Associated Press. NBC wanted Tirico to handle Thursday nights with Michaels on “Sunday Night Football” when Tirico was hired from ESPN. Tirico handled play-by-play duties on “Monday Night Football” for ESPN and is one of the most recognizable voices in the business. But the Tirico Thursday night plan was nixed by the NFL before last season, due to a stipulation in the contract that said the network airing “Thursday Night Football” must use its lead broadcasters and production teams. So Michaels was on Thursday night broadcasts last year.
While it made sense that the NFL wanted to boost “Thursday Night Football” with the best production possible, it seemed like an odd battle to pick because Tirico is also well respected in broadcasting.
Michaels is a mainstay on “Sunday Night Football,” but due to the grind of a full season, Tirico stepped in for a few games in Michaels’ place late last season. Michaels, one of the greatest broadcasters of all time, will turn 73 this season. Allowing Michaels and Tirico to focus on one game a week should allow both of them to put in more preparation work for each game. CBS will handle the first part of the “Thursday Night Football” schedule this season, with NBC taking over on Nov. 9.
The NFL picked its battle last year, but apparently has let that go and will allow Tirico handle Thursday night games broadcast by NBC. That should be a good thing for everyone involved, including viewers.
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