You’ll need a program to sort out the NFL broadcast booth changes – The Denver Post


Those who don’t pay attention to NFL broadcasting machinations will be in for some surprises once the regular season opens in Los Angeles (Bills-Rams) Thursday night on NBC.

Hurricane force winds have blown through NFL broadcast booths, sending some voices flying off to new, exotic locations giving the league’s TV partners a new look and sound. In the most eye-popping move, rekindling memories of when Fox literally came out of nowhere to take NFC rights from well-entrenched CBS in 1994, Amazon Prime Video takes over the league’s Thursday Night Football offering becoming the first NFL TV package to be offered exclusively by a streaming service.

Over the years, TNF was passed between CBS, NBC and Fox like a hot potato. It remains to be seen if NFL Crazies will now pay to watch TNF on Amazon. Fans in the participant’s home markets will be able to watch the game on a “free” TV outlet. The Amazonians have brought in a high-profile booth featuring highly decorated play-by-play practitioner Al (El Exigente) Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s No. 1 college football analyst, who will continue in that role.

While voices don’t move the ratings needle, the Amazon duo (Kaylee Hartung will work the sidelines) may be worth paying for, if only to see if they are able to get along. Both are at the top of their profession and set in their ways. And Michaels did not earn his nickname “El Exigente,” The Demanding One for passing out bouquets during telecasts. Add to this the fact Amazon is rolling out its own new bells and whistles and the old adage, what can go wrong, will go wrong, could apply here.

NBC, Michaels’ last broadcast home, gets to introduce a plan that’s been in the works for a few years. Finally, Mike Tirico will take over for Michaels as play-by-play voice of “Sunday Night Football,” primetime television’s No. 1 rated show for 11 straight years. Tirico joins the NFL’s top TV analyst Cris Collinsworth. Melissa Stark replaces Michelle Tafoya as SNF’s sideline snoop.

Just over a year ago, media seals wrote Collinsworth’s NBC epitaph, saying he would eventually be replaced by Drew Brees. The Peacock suits left Collinsworth hanging until they figured out Brees was not a very good broadcaster. NBC extended Collinsworth’s contract. Brees now stars in gambling commercials.

After 20 seasons working as Fox Sports No. 1 NFL team, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman took the Bristol Faculty’s Big Moo-la-dee and ran directly to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth. When they are not busy casting aspersions on the guys they used to work for (the same suits who hired Tom Brady on spec) the highly regarded duo is pledging allegiance to their new home, saying they melt when they hear the MNF theme. Buck and Aikman replace Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese.

While the Foxies wait for Brady to bring star power to their NFL booth, Kevin Burkhardt, Fox’s No. 2 NFL play-by-play voice will move into Buck’s No. 1 spot while his partner last season, Greg Olsen, will move into Aikman’s chair. The “new” guys will also call Super Bowl LVII.

No surprises or changes in CBS top NFL booth. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be back together for their seventh season.

Once the dust settles from all these moves Herbstreit, on Amazon, will face the most pressure. His schedule is killer. He will work TNF for Amazon and then head to the location of ESPN’s Saturday morning College GameDay show. Then it’s off to the booth to work the primetime Saturday game with Chris Fowler. After the college assignments, it’s back to preparing for the next TNF tilt. Herbstreit’s usual window for college football prep will have to shrink. He must become a master of compartmentalization.

When recently asked about Herbstreit’s situation, Aikman, who worked TNF and Sunday afternoon football for Fox for four seasons, didn’t mince words.

“It is a lot,” Aikman said. “I don’t envy him.”


The late John Madden’s incredible journey — coach, broadcaster, video game entrepreneur — has been well chronicled. Yet the upcoming Madden special (Saturday Sept. 10, 10 p.m.) on EPIX brings some angles into clearer focus. Leave it to the resourceful producers at NFL Films to dig into the archives and present material that has been overlooked or forgotten.

Such is the case with the Giants and Tom Coughlin’s connection to Madden. The special includes a recorded voicemail from Madden that he left on Coughlin’s phone the morning after the 2007 regular season finale when the Giants, with nothing to play for, battled the undefeated Patriots, losing 38-35. Madden’s stirring message to Coughlin, which he played for the team, remains on point: “Never mail it in. If you’re going to compete, play to win.”

Five weeks later New York beat New England in a rematch at Super Bowl XLII.


No one was surprised that Knicks prez Leon Rose remained comfortably mum during the Donovan Mitchell saga. That doesn’t mean his silence was golden.

Stephen A. Smith put the whammy on Rose three days BEFORE Mitchell was traded to Cleveland. “He [Rose] is scared to talk to the media,” SAS said on “First Take.” “He doesn’t embrace accountability.”

Smith, who also chided James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan, again did not discount the possibility that “star” players still won’t join the Knicks because of the organization’s dysfunctional reputation.



That’s our essential question after hearing a variety of Gasbags fret over the possibility of John Sterling being off the night Aaron Judge either ties, or breaks, Roger Maris’ AL single-season HR record.

Worry about that? They should worry that the voice making the call gets it right.


SiriusXM suits have a large (Noon-3 p.m) window to fill with the departure of Pat McAfee and his crew. Didn’t know Christopher (Mad Dog) Russo was also a company spokesman. Twice, on the air, he explained why he thought SiriusXM scholars and McAfee couldn’t reach a deal. The second time around, fine-tuning his spin, Dog blamed it on a lack of communication. “There was never a point man [to communicate with] on Pat’s show,” Russo said. “Pat was not going to sit there and go on other shows. He wasn’t going to play into the synergy SiriusXM wants.” … Monday must have been a slow morning for WFAN/SNY Sal Licata. OK, so he had a problem with Joe Torre being invited to the Mets’ Old Timers Day. But did he have to ramble on and on and on about it? Then again, Russo had a problem with Torre being at Citi Field for OTD too. Was this a case of great minds thinking alike?

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Her impact as an athlete, cultural icon and activist is literally immeasurable. All the ceremonies and salutes at the U.S. Open are well deserved and appropriate.


Mental mistakes continue to disrupt the Yankee second baseman’s performance. And it’s getting a little late in the season to put the training wheels back on and work on the fundamentals.


What Timmy Trumpet said: “I can’t wait to play this song for [Edwin] Diaz at the World Series.”

What Timmy Trumpet meant to say: “I’m already bigger than the Baha Men.”



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