Report: Al Michaels to Choose Between “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon or ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”

Michaels, who is believed to be deep in negotiations with Amazon, could also be an intriguing target for ESPN

NBC sportcaster Al Michaels before a game between the Eagles and Cowboys
NBC sportcaster Al Michaels before a game between the Eagles and Cowboys.
Richard Rodriguez/Getty

The last time Al Michaels changed hands between Disney-owned ESPN/ABC and NBC was in 2006 when former Disney CEO Bob Iger agreed to release the legendary sportscaster from his contract with ABC if NBC would give back the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a precursor to Mickey Mouse who was designed personally by Walt Disney back in the 1920s.

Now, with the 77-year-old set to become a coveted free agent and vacate doing play-by-play on Sunday Night Football, all it’ll take for ESPN to get him back is a boatload of cash that blows whatever Amazon Prime Video is offering him out of the water, according to The New York Post.

Michaels, who is believed to be deep in negotiations with Amazon about handling play-by-play duties on Thursday Night Football once that broadcast exclusively moves to Prime next season, could be an intriguing target for ESPN and would certainly help continue the revitalization of Monday Night Football, which is adding six ABC games and will also send its broadcast team to two upcoming Super Bowls. Michaels is set to call the Super Bowl for NBC in less than three weeks and then step aside so Mike Tirico can slide into the lead seat in NBC”s football broadcast booth alongside Cris Collinsworth.

Were ESPN to land Michaels, it would mean a major shakeup of its current Monday night crew of Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick Jr. That shakeup could include poaching Troy Aikman from Fox, a tactic that Amazon may also employ if/when Michaels is signed for Thursday Night Football. It’s a game of musical chairs that just had another name added into the mix due to former New Orleans coach Sean Payton informing the Saints he will not be coming back to the team next season. And, there could be some more names in play in the near future — massive ones.

“Now, Michaels and Aikman could possibly make themselves a package deal if ESPN wants in,” per The Post. “The just-retired Sean Payton is a possibility, but the names that would really draw interest are Rams coach Sean McVay if he stepped down, or either Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers if they retire and somehow want to be broadcasters.” 

Brady retiring and immediately heading into the broadcast booth seems pretty far-fetched, as does Rodgers making that move. That said, Rodgers has repeatedly stated his interest in hosting Jeopardy! on a full-time basis, so he clearly at least has some degree of interest in regularly appearing on television doing something other than playing quarterback.

With so much uncertainty, it is shaping up to be a busy NFL offseason with big-name quarterbacks and broadcasters on the move.

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