Al Michaels went from calling the best prime-time NFL game of the week to the worst. According to play-by-play colleague Kevin Harlan, the drop-off has been an eye-opening experience.
Harlan (seen above in 2016) joined CBS Sports Radio’s Damon Amendolara Show Tuesday morning. During the segment, the No. 3 NFL play-by-play voice for CBS discussed Michaels’ move from NBC to Amazon’s Prime Video for Thursday Night Football, where the competition has often been poor.
“It’s a little different swimming in those Thursday night waters than it is Sunday night, isn’t it? I think he’s finding that out,” Harlan said of Michaels. “It’s been kind of an eye-opening experience for a guy that loves the limelight and a guy that deserves to be there as maybe the best TV voice in the history of the NFL.”
— CBS Sports Radio (@CBSSportsRadio) November 8, 2022
After two decades calling Monday Night Football for ABC and 16 seasons on NBC’s coverage of Sunday Night Football, Michaels is now married to the snoozefest that is Thursday Night Football. As much as Prime Video seeks to make Thursday Night Football into a big event considering the $1 billion per year they’re paying for exclusive game rights, the matchups have failed to live up to those expectations.
“Some of those matchups on Thursday have been pretty interesting, and I think Al has voiced his displeasure during those games,” Harlan told Amendolara. “I’m sure he can’t believe what has happened. He deserves a better game.”
Although the matchups haven’t been great, Michaels is a solid fit for Thursday Night Football considering his tendency to take subtle jabs at the game rather than attempting to mask the poor quality of play. Some of Michaels’ more blunt assessments include threatening to retire if the matchups don’t improve and comparing Thursday Night Football to the “type of game you’d like to have as the 5th regional on CBS on Sunday.”
It’s a little strange not hearing Michaels on the biggest game of the week for the first time in nearly four decades. And while the grim Thursday night matchups may be disappointing for Michaels, he can always look to his bank account for a little extra motivation, with the 77-year-old broadcaster reportedly making in the neighborhood of $16 million annually with Amazon.