Mike Tirico will call Thursday Night Football games for NBC in 2017.
John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported Wednesday that the NFL approved NBC’s request to allow Tirico to be the play-by-play announcer for TNF, taking Al Michaels’ place next to analyst Cris Collinsworth.
Last season, the NFL insisted Michaels perform both the Sunday night and Thursday night duties as NBC’s No. 1 broadcast team, per its contract with the network. The league will now allow Tirico to take over the Thursday game with Michaels remaining on Sunday nights.
“We’re excited to have Mike join Cris for Thursday Night Football, giving us two top teams in the booth for TV’s two most watched primetime shows,” an NBC spokesperson told Ourand.
NBC’s Thursday night broadcasts begin Nov. 9 and run through Dec. 14. CBS will broadcast a five-game slate on Thursday nights from Sept. 28 through Oct. 26, with new No. 1 crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo calling the contests. All TNF games air on NFL Network.
An NFL spokesman confirmed the change from Michaels to Tirico in a statement to the Sports Business Journal:
“Although there have been a number of changes in the networks’ broadcast booths over the past couple of seasons, our priority, and the priority of our network partners remains the same – produce a high quality, engaging broadcast that our fans love whether its Thursday, Sunday or Monday. For ‘TNF,’ we get that with Mike Tirico, a terrific broadcaster, and Cris Collinsworth at NBC and the new team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo at CBS.”
The change is good for all parties. Tirico is as good a football play-by-play announcer as there is in the business and will give fans a more diverse voice in primetime. It also takes a burden away from Michaels calling multiple night games in a week. Get pumped for primetime!