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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

1 NFL owner lobbied FOX to hire Al Michaels

Al Michaels on the field

Aug 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Network television commentator Al Michaels before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Al Michaels has left NBC and will be the voice of “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon this season. Before deciding to sign with Amazon, Michaels was considering his options, which mostly included going to ESPN. But there was another possibility that was being pushed: for FOX to hire Michaels.

The broadcasting dominoes this offseason began to fall when Troy Aikman left FOX to join ESPN. Joe Buck was still under contract with FOX for another year, so there was no guarantee he would leave to rejoin Aikman, his longtime announcing partner.

ESPN was considering hiring Michaels to team with Aikman on “Monday Night Football” prior to FOX letting Buck out of his contract to join Aikman at ESPN. Once Buck left, FOX had to fill its No. 1 broadcasting team.

According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reached out to FOX owner Rupert Murdoch and lobbied him to hire Michaels. Kraft is the chairman of the NFL’s broadcasting committee, and wanted to ensure FOX would have a top-quality, experienced announcer for the Super Bowl.

FOX not only has the broadcast rights for the Super Bowl LVII in 2023, but also for Super Bowl LIX in 2025.

FOX ended up elevating Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen to their No. 1 NFL announcing team.

This wil be Burkhardt’s first Super Bowl, while Michaels has called 11 Super Bowls during his legendary career, including last season’s game between the Rams and Bengals on NBC.

NBC has elevated Mike Tirico to the lead announcer for “Sunday Night Football.” Tirico called a few Thursday and Sunday night games for NBC over the last few years. ESPN massively upgraded its Monday night booth by hiring Buck and Aikman. Now, Michaels is with Amazon, giving them the type of quality and prestige the NFL is looking for from its broadcast partners.

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