The NFL coaching carousel has nothing on the NFL TV announcer carousel, apparently.

After reporting last week that Troy Aikman was in deep negotiations with ESPN instead of Amazon, which had long been rumored to be courting the Fox Sports NFL analyst, Andrew Marchand now reports that Amazon has set its sights on ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit to become their Thursday Night Football analyst.

Herbstreit, the longtime lead analyst of ESPN’s College GameDay has also been the network’s lead college football TV analyst for ABC’s Saturday college football primetime games. However, in recent years, he’s started including much more NFL coverage into his repertoire. Kirk joined ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage in 2018, called the first game of the 2020 Monday Night Football Kickoff Week doubleheader, and got to call another NFL game last season.

Herbstreit has said that he was very interested in getting the chance to call more NFL games and, “in a perfect world,” he’d get to call both NFL and college football games.

According to Marchand, even though Herbstreit is under contract with Disney for around $6 million per year, his deal allows him to work NFL games “with another entity” while continuing to work at ESPN. That seems to imply that even if Herbstreit were to become the TNF analyst for Amazon, presumably alongside Al Michaels, he could still continue to appear on College GameDay and work college football games for ESPN/ABC. However, Marchand also adds that the language in Herbstreit’s contract may be open to interpretation from Disney’s lawyers as well.

“Substantial talks between the sides have not begun yet, but are expected to pick up shortly,” wrote Marchand.

Of course, given the wild domino effect that Aikman seems to have put in motion, this could also be a very smart contract play by Herbstreit to get what he wants without having to leave ESPN as well. ESPN/ABC’s new NFL deal will see an increase to 25 games per season, necessitating a second NFL announcing booth. If Herbstreit needed some leverage to get himself in that booth for more MNF double-headers, this is his opportunity.

Not to mention that Herbie might be able to get paid either way. According to Marchand, Amazon was willing to offer Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay $100 million over five years. Even if they aren’t willing to throw that kind of money at Herbstreit, he’s almost certainly looking at a raise if he goes or if he can renegotiate his current deal.

While Lee Corso might be the scene-stealing presence of College GameDay, Herbstreit is the backbone of the show. Not to mention his opinion matters in the world of college football, for better or worse. So ESPN will need to think about whether or not they’d be willing to let him walk to Amazon instead of appeasing his interest in the NFL.

The NFL TV announcer carousel keeps spinning and hopefully, we find out where some of its riders are getting off this week.

[NY Post]

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