Now that Fox has locked in the rights to Thursday Night Football, one question still to be answered is the identity of the TNF broadcast crew. When CBS first got the rights in 2014, the NFL required that the package be called by the network’s “A” announcing team, so Jim Nantz and Phil Simms got the gig and pulled double duty on both the Sunday afternoon AFC package and TNF.
When NBC muscled its way into TNF in 2016, it utilized Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth despite its efforts to get Mike Tirico involved, though Tirico was featured at times during the 2017 season. But now with Fox in tow, it appears that its “A” team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman won’t be calling the package.
As of right now, it does not look like Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will do the Thursday night games. Full story coming tomorrow in SBD's Morning Buzz.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 31, 2018
So who will call Thursday Night Football for Fox? Let’s look at the potential candidates:
Kevin Burkhardt/Charles Davis
Formed just before this season, this pairing was supposed to involve Jay Cutler before he joined the Miami Dolphins. Strong chemistry formed between Burkhardt and Davis, and they be a good choice to call Thursday Night Football. If they’re kept intact for 2018, they would be slated to call one Divisional Playoff game next season. If Buck and Aikman aren’t going to call TNF, they would have to be considered the leaders in the clubhouse as the next choice.
Kenny Albert/Ronde Barber
Kenny Albert was once on the “B” team with Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa, forming the famed “Kenny, Moose, and Goose” show, but he’s been on the “C” for the last few seasons. Albert will be NBC’s top announcer for hockey at the Olympics, and he’s a solid announcer and is able keep on top of trends. Barber has risen up the ranks since joining Fox in 2013. Would they be ready for primetime?
Chris Myers/Daryl Johnston
Myers and Johnston became the Fox “D” team this past season. Myers is normally the NASCAR on Fox host and serves as sideline reporter during the NFL postseason for the network. They could call some late season Saturday night games for Fox.
Gus Johnson/Joel Klatt
Fox could make a splash by bringing its top college football team over to call Thursday Night Football, which would bring Gus back to the NFL full-time. Johnson has called a few NFL games since joining Fox, but he’s concentrated mostly on college football. Calling TNF would give Johnson and Klatt the rare Thursday/Saturday night double, and would certainly raise their profile, but would having the duo split their attention between the NFL and college football diminish their quality?
Joe Davis/Brady Quinn
Davis and Quinn are another college football team that could come over to call the NFL. They were utilized in Week 17 of the past regular season, and could also call some late season games in 2018.