Leading up to his 11th Super Bowl on the call, and very likely his last game at NBC, the broadcaster gets deep into his craft—but he’s mum on where he’ll be practicing it next.
Jon Wertheim, Updated:Feb 3, 2022, Original:Feb 2, 2022
As lopsided NFL trades go, well, forget about Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. In 2006—in what was largely a face-saving PR stunt—ABC allowed its lead pro football play-by-play voice, Al Michaels, to decamp to NBC in exchange for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a precursor to Mickey Mouse created by Walt Disney in the 1920s.
Since the swap, Oswald has sat on the intellectual property equivalent of the injured list. Michaels, on the other hand, became the centerpiece for Sunday Night Football, a ratings juggernaut for NBC that, most weeks, outdraws every other show on TV.
As with any sports franchise, success has plenty of parents. The show’s director (Drew Esocoff) and executive producer (Fred Gaudelli) take back seats to no one. Same for sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, who just finished her final season. The original SNF analyst, the late John Madden, may be the GOAT, but when he was replaced in 2009 by former All-Pro receiver Cris Collinsworth, ratings remained astronomical.