Al Michaels: The End of An Era?

mauidano

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jtn46

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Michaels works primarily for Amazon now, not NBC. Maybe he does have a deal where he can call NBC games but as that piece points out the last thing he called for NBC was the Super Bowl 2 years ago. It’s pretty weird to frame this as NBC moving on from him here when that happened 2 years ago.
 

MuzzyField

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Michaels works primarily for Amazon now, not NBC. Maybe he does have a deal where he can call NBC games but as that piece points out the last thing he called for NBC was the Super Bowl 2 years ago. It’s pretty weird to frame this as NBC moving on from him here when that happened 2 years ago.
It's not. He did the Chargers/Jags playoff game last season.
 

jtn46

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It's not. He did the Chargers/Jags playoff game last season.
Oh right, and kind of got killed for not making a great call at the end. Still I don’t think this is the mark that the Post is making it out to be. If Michaels wanted to stay at NBC that probably could have been worked out but he took the bag.
 

Manuel Aristides

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I've been lucky enough to work with Al a few times myself. Always seemed like a good dude, nice to the "little people," professional. Even great careers must eventually fade away. He's an inch from 80, though, that's a tough age to be TV ready. Whispers are his verbal eye rolling over the TSwift Takeover may have been the last straw, and if so, good for him, IMO.
 

nattysez

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He's definitely lost his fastball. Some of his calls on Amazon this season have been tough to listen to.
 

Auger34

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I still think Michaels is the best of the best.

Unfortunately, he's been subjected to calling mostly atrocious games on Thursday and his partner is a human charisma vacuum. I think he's at the age and point of accomplishment where he's not going to pretend to like something just to be "professional".

And for the love of God please get Herbstreit as far away from the NFL as possible and put Michaels with someone worthy of standing next to him.
 

joe dokes

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His autobiography is a good read. Especially if you grew up a sports nut in Brooklyn.
 

trekfan55

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Al spanned history. He was a great baseball announcer as well (was on call at the earthquake series). And of course called the Miracle on Ice. They were trying to get him to reenact it on the movie "Miracle" but he couldn't replicate that so they synced the movie action to the actual broadcast.
Plus other Olympic events when ABC had coverage.
 

smokin joe wood

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I still think Michaels is the best of the best.

Unfortunately, he's been subjected to calling mostly atrocious games on Thursday and his partner is a human charisma vacuum. I think he's at the age and point of accomplishment where he's not going to pretend to like something just to be "professional".

And for the love of God please get Herbstreit as far away from the NFL as possible and put Michaels with someone worthy of standing next to him.
This take interests me. His job title is professional broadcaster, no? "Pretending" games are interesting is what every PxP for Patriots games has been doing when they're on offense all season. I don't think that makes you a lesser broadcaster. I also don't think it means you're being any less genuine. It means you're calling a game without intrigue or stakes. That's like 65% of all live sporting events.

It's important to remember than Michaels' run at NBC was unprecedented. The SNF window got the best game almost every week. They invented the flex for that timeslot! He was also working with the greatest living sports producer every single week and an excellent analyst. It's much more likely that Michaels hasn't really slipped as much as his surrounding cast and the quality of the games has. Going from Collinsworth to Herbstreit is HUGE. People may not like Collinsworth but his preparation is incredible and he's super plugged into the NFL scene. Kirk is not and has a 3-hour live show every Saturday morning and calls a game Saturday night. He's overextended and can't carry Al like Cris did.

On the "worth of standing next to him" part - I am endlessly fascinated by who folks think are good analysts and why. Who, in your opinion, is worthy of calling games with Michaels?
 

Hoya81

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If Brady actually ends up as the no.1 guy for Fox, Amazon should throw the checkbook at Greg Olsen.
 

RG33

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If Brady actually ends up as the no.1 guy for Fox, Amazon should throw the checkbook at Greg Olsen.
Oh man, I can’t stand him. He doesn’t stop talking. I know people have come around on him from the early days where he was an utter train-wreck, I’m just not there yet though.
 

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This take interests me. His job title is professional broadcaster, no? "Pretending" games are interesting is what every PxP for Patriots games has been doing when they're on offense all season. I don't think that makes you a lesser broadcaster. I also don't think it means you're being any less genuine. It means you're calling a game without intrigue or stakes. That's like 65% of all live sporting events.

It's important to remember than Michaels' run at NBC was unprecedented. The SNF window got the best game almost every week. They invented the flex for that timeslot! He was also working with the greatest living sports producer every single week and an excellent analyst. It's much more likely that Michaels hasn't really slipped as much as his surrounding cast and the quality of the games has. Going from Collinsworth to Herbstreit is HUGE. People may not like Collinsworth but his preparation is incredible and he's super plugged into the NFL scene. Kirk is not and has a 3-hour live show every Saturday morning and calls a game Saturday night. He's overextended and can't carry Al like Cris did.

On the "worth of standing next to him" part - I am endlessly fascinated by who folks think are good analysts and why. Who, in your opinion, is worthy of calling games with Michaels?
Yeah I know a lot don’t like Collinsworth, but the NBC Sunday Night game with Al, Collinsworth, Rodney in the studio, etc. was just the best produced sports broadcast. They got the best games, the production always looked polished, it was just a great way to end the weekend. All good things come to an end, but I was pretty bummed when it came to an end.
 

Bongorific

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This take interests me. His job title is professional broadcaster, no? "Pretending" games are interesting is what every PxP for Patriots games has been doing when they're on offense all season. I don't think that makes you a lesser broadcaster. I also don't think it means you're being any less genuine. It means you're calling a game without intrigue or stakes. That's like 65% of all live sporting events.

It's important to remember than Michaels' run at NBC was unprecedented. The SNF window got the best game almost every week. They invented the flex for that timeslot! He was also working with the greatest living sports producer every single week and an excellent analyst. It's much more likely that Michaels hasn't really slipped as much as his surrounding cast and the quality of the games has. Going from Collinsworth to Herbstreit is HUGE. People may not like Collinsworth but his preparation is incredible and he's super plugged into the NFL scene. Kirk is not and has a 3-hour live show every Saturday morning and calls a game Saturday night. He's overextended and can't carry Al like Cris did.

On the "worth of standing next to him" part - I am endlessly fascinated by who folks think are good analysts and why. Who, in your opinion, is worthy of calling games with Michaels?
Yeah I know a lot don’t like Collinsworth, but the NBC Sunday Night game with Al, Collinsworth, Rodney in the studio, etc. was just the best produced sports broadcast. They got the best games, the production always looked polished, it was just a great way to end the weekend. All good things come to an end, but I was pretty bummed when it came to an end.
 
I am absolute fascinated by how Al Michaels transformed his voice over the years to make it deeper. Go back and listen to his calls of the Miracle on Ice, or the Hagler-Hearns fight, and think of where his voice is now - he's got to be at least an octave lower, doesn't he? I can't think of any significant commentator who sounds so different at the end of his career relative to the beginning.
 

Vandalman

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I am absolute fascinated by how Al Michaels transformed his voice over the years to make it deeper. Go back and listen to his calls of the Miracle on Ice, or the Hagler-Hearns fight, and think of where his voice is now - he's got to be at least an octave lower, doesn't he? I can't think of any significant commentator who sounds so different at the end of his career relative to the beginning.
Johnny Most, perhaps.
 

luckiestman

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I am absolute fascinated by how Al Michaels transformed his voice over the years to make it deeper. Go back and listen to his calls of the Miracle on Ice, or the Hagler-Hearns fight, and think of where his voice is now - he's got to be at least an octave lower, doesn't he? I can't think of any significant commentator who sounds so different at the end of his career relative to the beginning.
Could he have had a deviated septum fixed?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Olsen lost me last week. Whatever game they were calling, he is blathering on and on about the buffalo nickel. Burkhardt tries to interject some explainers, but Olsen isn’t having it.

Recognizing that 80 percent of the audience doesn’t even really understand a 4-3 in the first place, after letting it go for a while., Burkhardt tries to set his partner up for a punchline by asking whether the linebacker in a buffalo nickel plays out of a buffalo stance. Not really that funny, but he is willing to take the heat to get his partner to shut up. But Olsen blows through it, with some “don’t even get me started” blather about the buffalo nickel.

So, one of two things happened here: (1) Olsen doesn’t know Neneh Cherry or (2) Olsen does not have the self-awareness to avoid leaving his partner hanging, because he’s so enamored with his bullshit point that he can’t stop. “Settle down, money man,” or whatever, closes the deal, gets a chuckle from the over 40s, Olsen shuts up, and we move along.

I don’t know if it’s 1 or 2 but either is bad.
 

Auger34

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It's important to remember than Michaels' run at NBC was unprecedented. The SNF window got the best game almost every week. They invented the flex for that timeslot! He was also working with the greatest living sports producer every single week and an excellent analyst. It's much more likely that Michaels hasn't really slipped as much as his surrounding cast and the quality of the games has. Going from Collinsworth to Herbstreit is HUGE. People may not like Collinsworth but his preparation is incredible and he's super plugged into the NFL scene. Kirk is not and has a 3-hour live show every Saturday morning and calls a game Saturday night. He's overextended and can't carry Al like Cris did.

On the "worth of standing next to him" part - I am endlessly fascinated by who folks think are good analysts and why. Who, in your opinion, is worthy of calling games with Michaels?
To your final question, I don’t mean to be glib but…literally anyone that’s a professional and only does NFL games?

I also look at your Collinsworth-Herbie comparison in the opposite way. Collinsworth may have lifted Michaels but Michaels also helped Collinsworth out. Collinsworth has got worse with Tirico.
Also, can you name me a single PBP guy who can make Herbstreit seem even somewhat interesting when calling an NFL game? The guy has no knowledge of NFL football, is boring as fuck, and can only relate everything to college. I truly think he is Witten levels of bad. Every week he talks to Al like he just met him on the airplane and makes asides/“jokes” that are so lame and corny that the neighborhood dad joke guy cringes and shakes his head.
 

Garshaparra

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Al has definitely slowed down, but he and Buck as still by far the best.
I'll take Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan as leads over any of the #1 PBP leads forced into our ears for the last several years. Buck, Nance, Michaels and Tirico all seem barely committed, and Burkhardt is easily worse than Eagle or Harlan. Getting to hear their broadcasts of AFC East ball on CBS through the dynasty years has been a consistent treat. Both are just as knowledgeable and funny as any color guys they've had alongside. They both adapt to radio broadcasts seamlessly as well.
 

Marciano490

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I'll take Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan as leads over any of the #1 PBP leads forced into our ears for the last several years. Buck, Nance, Michaels and Tirico all seem barely committed, and Burkhardt is easily worse than Eagle or Harlan. Getting to hear their broadcasts of AFC East ball on CBS through the dynasty years has been a consistent treat. Both are just as knowledgeable and funny as any color guys they've had alongside. They both adapt to radio broadcasts seamlessly as well.
That’s true. They’re always very sharp and professional, but I find them very nondescript and never recognize them till they identify themselves.
 

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Glad some of you are coming around on what an utter bloviating blabbermouth Olsen is. Plus he’s getting worse as he’s so full of himself as he somehow became the number one analyst for Fox.

He NEVER stops talking and it’s like snoopy by the middle of the first quarter. He’s so fucking sure of himself and his rapid fire incessant blather is mind numbing.

Jonathan Vilma is miles better but somehow like James Lofton a few years back, he way down the lineup for CBS. Both of those dudes are so easy to listen to. Really all I need. Don’t need the analyst to try to show how smart they think they are.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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I am absolute fascinated by how Al Michaels transformed his voice over the years to make it deeper. Go back and listen to his calls of the Miracle on Ice, or the Hagler-Hearns fight, and think of where his voice is now - he's got to be at least an octave lower, doesn't he? I can't think of any significant commentator who sounds so different at the end of his career relative to the beginning.
Jerry Remy?
Johnny Most, perhaps.
Chalk a couple up to smoking, I guess?

I wonder if some of it is tapes degrading as they age, resulting in voices sounding a little higher than they actually were.
 

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I am absolute fascinated by how Al Michaels transformed his voice over the years to make it deeper. Go back and listen to his calls of the Miracle on Ice, or the Hagler-Hearns fight, and think of where his voice is now - he's got to be at least an octave lower, doesn't he? I can't think of any significant commentator who sounds so different at the end of his career relative to the beginning.
Different kind of "commentator," but Howard Stern's voice seemed to deepen by an octave over the years.
 

smokin joe wood

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To your final question, I don’t mean to be glib but…literally anyone that’s a professional and only does NFL games?

I also look at your Collinsworth-Herbie comparison in the opposite way. Collinsworth may have lifted Michaels but Michaels also helped Collinsworth out. Collinsworth has got worse with Tirico.
Also, can you name me a single PBP guy who can make Herbstreit seem even somewhat interesting when calling an NFL game? The guy has no knowledge of NFL football, is boring as fuck, and can only relate everything to college. I truly think he is Witten levels of bad. Every week he talks to Al like he just met him on the airplane and makes asides/“jokes” that are so lame and corny that the neighborhood dad joke guy cringes and shakes his head.
Al Michaels absolutely helped Collinsworth, but the SNF show was Collinsworth's show. There is a saying in TV that the broadcast is only as good as the analyst and I firmly believe that.
Caveat: I am not defending Herbstreit's TNF performance, as I said earlier, I think he is overextended.
Kirk Herbstreit is an incredibly talented broadcaster. That job is really difficult and he has helped revolutionize production with his ability to quickly recognize and diagnose plays in real time. I don't have the expectation that the analyst calling the game needs to be overly interesting. They need to know football and explain it to me and hopefully teach me a thing or two. The last interesting analyst to call a Super Bowl was John Madden almost 15 years ago. "Interesting" is pretty far down the list of traits I want in an analyst.

I agree he and Al have very little chemistry and that isn't helped by Herbstreit's schedule.
 

smokin joe wood

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I'll take Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan as leads over any of the #1 PBP leads forced into our ears for the last several years. Buck, Nance, Michaels and Tirico all seem barely committed, and Burkhardt is easily worse than Eagle or Harlan. Getting to hear their broadcasts of AFC East ball on CBS through the dynasty years has been a consistent treat. Both are just as knowledgeable and funny as any color guys they've had alongside. They both adapt to radio broadcasts seamlessly as well.
Eagle and Harlan are excellent!

Tirico was calling the backjudge by his first and last name less than 72 hours ago. With zero hesitation. Memorized that shit. Calling Tirico 'barely committed' is grossly underestimating his attention to detail. There isn't a PxP calling NFL football that knows the rules better than Mike Tirico. You can call that dude a lot of things but I wouldn't call him 'barely committed'.
 

Auger34

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Caveat: I am not defending Herbstreit's TNF performance, as I said earlier, I think he is overextended.
Kirk Herbstreit is an incredibly talented broadcaster. That job is really difficult and he has helped revolutionize production with his ability to quickly recognize and diagnose plays in real time. I don't have the expectation that the analyst calling the game needs to be overly interesting. They need to know football and explain it to me and hopefully teach me a thing or two. The last interesting analyst to call a Super Bowl was John Madden almost 15 years ago. "Interesting" is pretty far down the list of traits I want in an analyst.

I agree he and Al have very little chemistry and that isn't helped by Herbstreit's schedule.
Honest question (and I don’t think you’re defending him and honestly, I think we agree on the overall point about Herbstreit). Has Kirk helped you learn anything on his NFL calls?
He’s so obviously out of his depth and overextended that it’s glaring. All of his knowledge on the players is due to his work in college football.

And when I say “interesting”, I mean knowing football and presenting it in an entertaining way. It also helps if they are able to engage in a bit of small talk with their partner with some sense of humor. The Herbstreit/Michaels dialogue is honestly painful to listen to. It makes me feel awkward sitting at home. I watch a lot of football and it’s literally the only pairing that is like that on the air right now.
 

smokin joe wood

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Honest question (and I don’t think you’re defending him and honestly, I think we agree on the overall point about Herbstreit). Has Kirk helped you learn anything on his NFL calls?
He’s so obviously out of his depth and overextended that it’s glaring. All of his knowledge on the players is due to his work in college football.

And when I say “interesting”, I mean knowing football and presenting it in an entertaining way. It also helps if they are able to engage in a bit of small talk with their partner with some sense of humor. The Herbstreit/Michaels dialogue is honestly painful to listen to. It makes me feel awkward sitting at home. I watch a lot of football and it’s literally the only pairing that is like that on the air right now.
I'm sure I've gleaned something from his calls on TNF but I wouldn't say he's been overly informative. Completely agree that he and Al don't have 'it' and the small talk is rough. Al was also born in the mid 1940s so I don't understand a lot of his references and would react similarly. I can't put that only on Kirk.

Kirk is pretty stiff. I think he knows it. McAfee has extended his career on GameDay by carrying the energy of the show and loosening Kirk up a bit. He's also starting using his dog as a way to humanize himself. None of this would be necessary if he was just calling College Football. I blame Amazon more than Herbstreit for the overexposure.

There are tons of announcers that are boring and not good at TV. Herbstreit is mostly boring but he's very good at TV. He sees things that 1% of announcers see.

Full disclosure - a part of my job as a producer is helping announcers and giving them feedback after games.