Al Michaels has been on the call for countless historic sports broadcasts throughout his career, but maybe none bigger than the recent Taylor Swift phenomenon overshadowing the NFL.
Monday night, Michaels appeared on the show that is Stephen A. Smith’s dream job, Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he discussed calling a game with Swift in attendance. Swift attended her third NFL game of the season last week. And after CBS and NBC took turns relishing the ability to put Swift on camera during an NFL game, last week was Amazon’s chance at the spectacle on the Prime Video broadcast of Thursday Night Football.
“We love it, man.” Michaels admitted of Swift’s newfound football fandom. “We had to be judicious, we had the game last Thursday night in Kansas City, we knew she’d be there. So, how much do you show her? She had been on twice and football fans were going, ‘Enough!’ But we were praying she’d come into the booth and sing for us.”
Prior to the game, Michaels seemed less inclined to savor Swift’s presence, promising to keep the focus on the field and not “make a sideshow of the show.” Swift singing to Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit would certainly be making a sideshow of the show. But when push came to shove, Prime Video couldn’t ignore Swift’s presence.
“I had to acknowledge it, but what do you do?” Michaels continued on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “We had a shot of her, and I didn’t know how to describe her.”
Unsure of the best way to describe Taylor Swift, Michaels ultimately decided on Travis Kelce’s “good buddy and girlfriend.” Travis Kelce’s good buddy? Michaels is one of the greatest announcers and play-by-play voices in sports history and the oratory savant decided on Travis Kelce’s “good buddy” to describe arguably the biggest musical artist on the planet?
“You’re doing a game like that, I know the internet’s going to blow up, Page Six is waiting for whatever I say,” Michaels said in defense of his hilariously awkward introduction for Swift. “You know what I really wanted to say? Fiancé. I didn’t because I figured Travis would beat me up at the end of the game.”
After more than 50 years as the voice behind some of the country’s biggest sporting events in history, Michaels was tripped up by Swift sitting in a suite at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Amazing.
“It’s hard because people tune into watch a football game, I’m not doing Access Hollywood,” Michaels said, implying that he’s a little out of his element when it comes to pop culture. “At a certain point, it’s like, where do you go from here?”
Apparently, the answer is good buddy. Whenever you’re not sure how to introduce someone, opt for good buddy.