ESPN had attempted to acquire NBC “Sunday Night Football” announcer Al Michaels to join the “Monday Night Football” booth.
Last week, we learned of a potential trade that could change the landscape of primetime football as we know it. ESPN was reportedly eyeing the acquisition of NBC’s Al Michaels. The longtime “Sunday Night Football” play-by-play man began announcing the nationally televised event alongside John Madden during the 2006 season. After Madden’s retirement, Cris Collinsworth began his work alongside Michaels in 2009.
ESPN eyed Michaels for a potential dream scenario in the “Monday Night Football” booth, as they would’ve traded for him and possibly inked a deal with legendary quarterback Peyton Manning. Since his retirement after the 2015 season, Manning has been a hot commodity in the market for football announcers and commentators but has yet to begin that new chapter.
Unfortunately, said “dream scenario” may be dead, as NBC reportedly declined the trade request from ESPN.
At the moment, two years remain on Michaels’ current “Sunday Night Football” contract. It’s unclear what the 75-year-old will do when that deal expires. If he does indeed call it quits — or if NBC pretty much does that for him — Mike Tirico would likely be his replacement.
Tirico, 53, began his tenure with NBC in 2016 after having spent time with ESPN since 1991. During his ESPN tenure, he was the play-by-play announcer for “Monday Night Football” from 2006-15. Multiple individuals have since succeeded him in that role, such as Sean McDonough (2016-17) and Joe Tessitore (2018-present).
In spite of the declined trade for Michaels, ESPN could still offer Manning a contract. It’s unclear how much money they would offer him, but judging by what CBS is now paying Tony Romo, Manning may ask for a significant payday.
The latest CBS contract signed by Romo pays him around $17 million per year. This exceeds the previous record of $8 million, a salary Madden made while with NBC.
Michaels and Manning would be a good duo, but that would, of course, mean the end of the Michaels-Collinsworth team. In my opinion, the current “Sunday Night Football” crew is the best there is when it comes to announcing these games. The Jim Nantz-Romo duo on CBS is a close second.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” team isn’t as strong as it once was, which could serve as the basis for the Michaels-Manning idea. It seems the network may not feel too highly about current commentator Booger McFarland as they do Manning, a future Hall of Famer and one of the more entertaining personalities you’ll find in the sports world.
There’s a reason Peyton’s hosted the ESPY Awards…people love him front and center.