Cris Collinsworth Credit: NBC Sports

Cris Collinsworth bounced around various NFL media gigs after retirement until landing at NBC, where in 2009, he started calling Sunday Night Football with the legendary Al Michaels. For nearly 15 years, the two capped off NFL Sundays for fans around the country, and Collinsworth learned a great deal broadcasting alongside the elder statesman Michaels.

In an interview with Barrett Sports Media released Friday, Collinsworth explained how he mastered the temperament and tone of calling games for a national audience thanks primarily to Michaels’ guidance.

“I think I learned that you don’t have to be mean-spirited, but you’ve got to be honest, and you’ve got to be willing to say what others may not feel comfortable saying because your relationship isn’t really with the players and coaches anymore, it’s with the audience,” Collinsworth told Derek Futterman of BSM. “It’s with the people that are watching on television, and you have to earn their trust that whether it’s something positive or negative that you’re saying, it’s what you honestly believe.”

Before calling SNF, Collinsworth worked on NBC, CBS and HBO studio shows. Even during his playing days, Collinsworth did radio and television broadcasting. But the Sunday night atmosphere and the national audience were unique for Collinsworth.

“They want to take three hours and watch a football game and not have the announcer wear them out [or] feel like the announcer’s a shill for players and coaches in the league,” Collinsworth said. “but know that I’ve done my homework and hopefully it’s a little bit fun [and] a little bit relaxing.”

Today, Collinsworth has a new partner at NBC in Mike Tirico. The 64-year-old is under contract at the network for two more seasons beyond this one.

While Collinsworth won’t make any declarations about his future yet, he certainly seems more comfortable in his job, thanks to Michaels.

[Barrett Sports Media]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.