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#pounditThursday, October 29, 2020

This is why Al Michaels is not calling Sunday Night Football

Al Michaels

Those watching “Sunday Night Football” between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers noticed something immediately: Mike Tirico was on the call instead of Al Michaels.

So where was Michaels? The NBC play-by-play voice was out on a “bye week.”

Prior to the start of the NFL season, NBC said that Michaels would miss a few weeks this season where Tirico would sub in for him. These were described as “bye weeks.”

Michaels apparently was part of deciding this plan to cut down on travel.

“This is a great schedule for me,” Michaels told the New York Post regarding the plan. “A lot of West Coast games and a couple of byes during the season to cut down on some travel, which is welcome for me. I was part of formulating the plan. I’m all in.”

It’s unclear what other games Michaels will miss besides Thanksgiving. Tirico will call two playoff games for NBC.

There seems to be another matter at play here.

Michaels’ contract with NBC expires after next season. Tirico was brought in by NBC to call NFL games and be the face of the network’s Olympics coverage. It’s hard not to view this as a warmup for if/when Tirico eventually replaces Michaels.

The presence of Tirico is why some at ESPN thought they might be able to trade for Michaels.

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