The NFL’s silly season apparently extends to the networks now.
As the football world waits to see where Tom Brady will play football in 2020, the sports TV world watches as ESPN tries to retool “Monday Night Football” on the fly. According to the New York Post, the Worldwide Leader has its lofty sights set not only Peyton Manning but Al Michaels, too.
The Post reported Thursday that ESPN will attempt to make a trade of sorts to acquire Michaels from NBC and pair him with Manning for the network’s top football broadcast. The report doesn’t indicate what ESPN would have to part with in order to obtain the right to Michaels, and as the Post notes, there’s no guarantee Michaels would want to leave the NBC booth, as he calls the top-rated “Sunday Night Football” broadcasts with Cris Collinsworth.
There’s also the tricky bit about Manning not being under contract. The future Hall of Famer has been the apple of networks’ eyes essentially since he announced his retirement. CBS reportedly gauged his interest and made an offer before it re-signed Tony Romo to a record-setting contract last month. To this point, however, he remains on the sidelines, although he has done some work for ESPN’s digital properties in the last couple of years.
ESPN’s current tandem of Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland hasn’t been met with much fanfare, and according to the Post report, the network is “strongly considering” making a move. It’s worth noting that any ratings downfalls aren’t necessarily the fault of Tessitore and McFarland. ESPN’s broadcast schedule hasn’t featured as many marquee matchups as, say, NBC’s Sunday night slate in recent seasons. However, the league’s TV deals are coming up for negotiations, and if ESPN is able to land one of these dream broadcast duos, that might be able to help them in their pitch.