Much of this year’s wild NFL broadcasting carousel started with Al Michaels and discussions of where he’d land, with the most likely pick being Amazon. Michaels was in strong form for the Super Bowl, his final NBC broadcast. Since then, there’s been talk of Mike Tirico moving to the main Sunday Night Football announcing role, and lots of talk of Michaels calling Amazon’s Thursday Night Football package, but no reported firm deal between the sides (unlike the deal for Kirk Herbstreit to be the analyst on those games in addition to his ESPN work; that’s still not official, but it’s been reported as done). We still haven’t quite hit that mark, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post tweeted Monday that Michaels to Amazon is now “at half yard line,” and that Michaels (seen above in 2017) is expected to call Amazon’s full 16-game package this year:
If Al Michaels' Amazon deal goes through, he will call all of the platforms' 16 Thursday Night Football games, according to sources.
Deal is at half yard line.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) March 14, 2022
It’s notable that other networks have been discussed around Michaels as well, especially Fox after Joe Buck left for ESPN to join Troy Aikman. However, much of the recent discussion there has been focused on the idea of Fox elevating “internal favorite” Kevin Burkhardt to the top football play-by-play role. And now it seems like Michaels will be headed to Amazon as long discussed. However, as Super Bowl viewers well know, just getting into the final few yards doesn’t guarantee a touchdown.
It is also significant that this report is about Michaels calling the entire 16-game package, which will include 15 regular season games and one preseason game. Not all football on Thursdays is Thursday Night Football (the kickoff game and Thanksgiving games are in different packages), and last year’s Thursday Night Football package actually comprised 19 games (11 spread across Fox, NFL Network, and Amazon, eight on NFL Network only), including a London game, a Saturday doubleheader, and a Christmas Day game.
The 16-game package Amazon has appears more focused on Thursdays (and not in the first or last week of the regular season). But it’s still a lot of games, and that’s notable with the last few years seeing Tirico take on calling some regular NBC games for Michaels (after some initial NFL foolishness there). That may have been more about NBC preparing Tirico for the eventual SNF role than about Michaels wanting more time off, but it’s definitely notable that Michaels looks set to call this whole package for Amazon. We’ll see if this deal does in fact cross that goal line.
[Andrew Marchand on Twitter; photo from Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports]