Let's get one thing very clear. Al Michaels is the greatest NFL play-by-play guy ever. It's not even close. I like Joe Buck an awful lot but that's not even worth the debate. I'd say Michaels is the best at any sport but I get the love for Vin Scully. I also must admit I am too young to have seen Howard Cosell so if you want to argue that point, it's very fair. But I have Michaels far ahead of Pat Summerall, Mike Tirico or anyone else.
Having said that, Michaels has been terrible this year. He has sounded bored and disinterested all year. I can't imagine how he'll be on Thursday when we are getting punished by being forced to watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Chicago Bears. It might be impossible to be enthusiastic about anything to do with that game. We'll all be watching like this.
So when this news broke today, I was a little surprised.
SOURCE - Michaels signed a three-year deal and is being paid an estimated $500,000 to $1 million per game. He flies private and it is one Thursday a week for less than half the year. So why would he give it up?
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m doing next year,” Michaels said. “There’s no question about that in my mind.”
That sounds like the best job but he sounds more miserable than ever. I wonder if he doesn't see Amazon in the same light as he did when he was on Monday Night Football on ABC. If you're 40 or older, it's takes a couple mental leaps to think of a streaming service in the same light as network tv. It absolutely is and isn't just the future. It's the present. But to older people (like myself) who used to worship a TV Guide, it doesn't feel quite the same.
I think there is also the case where sports maybe don't mean as much as you get older. I know it's a job for him but I don't think Michaels likes football all that much anymore. I know he has a great life playing golf and living in California.
That group of Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf was the best Monday Night crew I've ever heard. I also loved when he was with Dennis Miller. Al Michaels is the best. But he's also 78 years old. That crew in that picture above was the team from 1987-99. We're talking 25 years ago. His memory is still there. It's not like Dick Stockton where he can't remember names. Michaels just doesn't seem to want to be there.
Hopefully the Jaguars and Bears can bring back that enthusiasm.