Tony Dungy and Al Michaels Credit: NBC

Al Michaels is fully in the elder statesman period of his legendary broadcasting career. As it often does, that also means he’s in his “get off my lawn” period as well whenever he receives criticism.

Michaels kicked off Prime Video’s first full season of Thursday Night Football last year alongside Kirk Herbstreit. Michaels’s job was tough at times due to a fairly uninteresting slate of NFL games that the announcer compared to selling a “used car.” By all accounts, he did the best he could with what he had to work with.

However, Michaels was on the receiving end of some harsh critiques following his and Tony Dungy’s call of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ comeback victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round on NBC.

Down 27-0 in the first half, the Jaguars mounted a comeback for the ages in the second half to win the game in the final moments, 31-30. However, viewers chastised the 78-year-old Michaels and 67-year-old Dungy for sounding like they’d love nothing more than to take a nap.

Michaels’ call of the game-winning field goal as time expired, in particular, left a lot to be desired.

Michaels didn’t take too kindly to the criticism, referring to it as “internet compost” the following day.

“Must have gotten a hundred texts from folks who were very happy to see me back on NBC,” Michaels said. “Read some comments that we didn’t sound excited enough. Internet compost! You know me as well as anyone — no screaming, no yelling, no hollering. It’s TELEVISION! Ellipses and captions are [sufficient] when pictures tell the story.”

The veteran broadcaster went full “old man yells at cloud” in an interview with Sports Business Journal’s Tom Friend on Monday, bringing back a classic “basement” reference for his critics.

“Look, sometimes I’ll take some ****,” said Michaels. “People say, ‘He didn’t get excited enough.’ What do you want me to do? Scream, holler, yell the game? That ain’t me. That ain’t [Joe] Buck, that ain’t [Jim] Nantz. I can’t pay attention to anti–social media. We live in a country with 330 million people. And if eight people rip you on social media, I’m going, ‘Huh?’ Now anybody sitting in a basement has a platform. You can’t let things like that distress you. I’ve been doing this for so long. And I wouldn’t be here at this point still doing a major package if I was doing it the wrong way.”

To be fair, it’s nice of him to assume that his critics can afford their own basement and aren’t just living in their mother’s.

Unfortunately for Michaels, he can’t really play the “Twitter critic” card here as criticism of that broadcast came from all corners of the sports media world.

The good news for Michaels is that the 2023 TNF slate looks pretty promising, so he shouldn’t have to try too much to make them exciting. Though, given his reaction to last year’s calls, it doesn’t sound like he’d change either way.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to