Amazon’s Al Michaels caught a lot of heat regarding his lack of enthusiasm during last year’s NFL season.
The longtime voice of Monday Night Football and then Sunday Night Football was the inaugural voice of Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football this past NFL season. He likened calling some of last season’s bad games to trying to sell a used car. But after last season’s terrible slate, Michaels is thrilled by what’s on tap for TNF in 2023.
Michaels joined The Pat McAfee Show Friday afternoon to discuss the improved slate of games, but he also touched on some of last year’s perceptions about his lack of enthusiasm – fair or not.
"I feel like I've had a great feel for the game since I was six years old..
I think I can always feel what the fan feels and I'm always trying to reflect that"
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 19, 2023
“I thought a lot of people didn’t understand what was going on,” Michaels said. “I have a great feel I think since as a six-year-old, watching games, being a fan, I can feel where a game is. And I’m not going to oversell a game to you. That’s wrong. I can’t come on the air yelling, hollering, and screaming. Where do you go from there? And people expect me to be in rhythm with the game.”
“I’ve had a lot of talks with Jim Nantz and Joe Buck and my brother about this too. Where is the game? I’ve always said, in a way, the game is a melody and you provide the lyrics. And if the lyrics don’t match the melody, it sounds cacophonous. It sounds like, ‘What? What is that?’ The great thing is as a fan, I can feel where the game is. I can feel what the fan feels. And I’m just trying to stay in sync with that and reflect that.”
“It’s just a matter of, a lot of the games we had weren’t very good, so if I didn’t sound excited…If I sounded too excited, people would go, “Oh, he’s just trying to sell this crap.’ No! Can’t do that and I won’t do that. I think that’s been my M.O. for almost four decades now.”
Michaels was pretty clear that the lack of enthusiasm for last year’s games shouldn’t fall on his shoulders, but rather the quality of the games or lack thereof. We’ll have to see if that changes with the slate that’s supposed to be better for the 2023 NFL season. If anything, Michaels was candid about his approach and that’s not going to change for a Week 5 matchup between the Colts and Broncos.
[The Pat McAfee Show; photo from George Walker IV/USA TODAY Sports]