In an attempt to revamp its “Monday Night Football” coverage, it was reported Thursday that ESPN was hoping to acquire sports broadcaster Al Michaels from NBC Sports.
It makes sense. The Worldwide Leader’s current team of Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland leaves a lot to be desired, and with Tony Romo recently signing a record-breaking contract with CBS, hiring Michaels could help ESPN get Peyton Manning in its booth to compete.
It wouldn’t be the first trade Michaels would be apart of between the two networks. Hilariously, when NBC traded for him from ABC back in 2006, a cartoon character was part of the deal’s contingencies.
Former ESPN president George Bodenheimer wrote about what Disney, ESPN and ABC’s parent company, wanted in exchange for the legendary play-caller. Here’s an excerpt from Bodenheimer’s book that was published in ESPN The Magazine in 2015:
The first thing I did was call Disney CEO Bob Iger to give him the news. A couple of days later, Iger called me back.
“George,” he said, “I’d be willing to let Al Michaels go if you can get us the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBC.”
After a slight pause, I responded, “Who or what is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?”
“Well, it goes back to the very beginning of Walt Disney’s career,” Iger explained. “Oswald is a revered figure at Disney, and I’d like to get him back.” …
It turns out that Oswald was a precursor to Mickey Mouse, designed personally by Walt Disney for Universal Pictures back in the 1920s — and Bob Iger knew it was important to the Disney family. Within a week, Ebersol had run the traps at NBC’s sister company, Universal, received approval, and the deal was worked out.
That’s right. The broadcaster who called the Miracle on Ice was bargained for with a black and white rabbit that looks like Mickey Mouse.
If ESPN can’t lure back Michaels, perhaps they should animate the cartoon to call Monday Night Football games from the Booger Mobile.