Fox is prepared to make another high profile move in their NFL announcing assignments. Multiple sources have told Awful Announcing the broadcast team of Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch will call one of Fox's Divisional Round NFL playoff games in January. Today, a Fox Sports spokesperson confirmed the playoff assignment for Burkhardt and Lynch.
It's been an incredible first season for Kevin Burkhardt at Fox. When the network announced his hire before the season, he was best known as a reporter for New York Mets telecasts on SNY. Last year he was calling Dallas Cowboys games on radio for Compass Media and now he'll be calling an NFL playoff game for a nationwide television audience.
Networks are notoriously less comfortable changing the NFL announcing hierarchy than Peyton Manning is scrambling outside of the pocket. The status quo rules, especially when it comes to playoff assignments. The retiring Dan Dierdorf has called a playoff game for CBS every year since joining the network in 1999 from ABC – 15 consecutive seasons. Phil Simms has announced the playoffs ever since CBS acquired the AFC package from NBC in 1998. Before last year, Daryl Johnston had called a playoff game for Fox every year since 2001.
That's why it was a major story in the broadcasting world when Fox broke rank last year and awarded a Divisional Round assignment to Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick, leapfrogging the pair over Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa. That trio had called a playoff game for Fox going back to 2008 as the established #2 team at the network. In a case of poor timing, the usually capable Billick had several glaring gaffes in the closing minutes of the Seahawks-Falcons playoff game. Now it'll be the turn of Burkhardt and Lynch on the big stage.
The pair has certainly impressed with their work during the season and it's a well deserved designation. Burkhardt calls a very good game and has the kind of smooth, understated delivery that has long been a staple of the top NFL announcers. Lynch has blossomed in the new partnership as well and has seen his role increase in the last year with a 1 on 1 interview with Roger Goodell on Fox Sports 1. Perhaps most importantly, their chemistry has grown in the booth as the year has progressed and they along with sideline reporter Erin Andrews have become one of Fox's best broadcast teams. Now the crew will get the coveted opportunity to call a playoff game for Fox in their first season together.
Ken Fang and Brad Gagnon also contributed to this report.