Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Jul 2005

Michaels Signs with ESPN for Monday Nights

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

The ESPN team of Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire will no longer plague our airwaves in 2006 when Al Michaels becomes the play-by-play voice for ESPN's Monday Night Football.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 26 Jul 2005

43 comments, Last at 28 Jul 2005, 3:43pm by David Keller


by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 3:29pm

One down, two to go... Lets hope they've got some cap room left to replace Theismann and Maguire.

by karl (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 3:44pm

Two words: Kenny Mayne.

by Adam H (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 4:07pm

With all the gloom and doom in the news lately, it's really nice to read something positve. Yay!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 4:57pm

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!.....oh, god, no....they wouldn't actualy pair Maguire and Theismann with Michaels, would they?

I actually think Theismann may have redeemable value as an analyst, as part of a two-man team, as long as the play-by-play guy was slightly taciturn, and the producer controlled a shock collar fitted around Joe's neck. Patrick and Maguire need to retire to the end of a tavern someplace, where the music is played so loud that nobody can hear them.

by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 5:05pm

ESPNews is reporting that Theismann will do the color, with both Kolber and Tafoya on the sidelines.

by Bob P (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 5:06pm

Posted at 3:55PM on espn.com: it will be Michaels and Joe Theisman in the booth with Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya on the sidelines.

Michaels will also appear on SportsCenter, NFL Prime Time, and Sunday NFL Countdown.

by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 5:07pm

Apparently Theisman will be in the booth with Michaels. Kolber and Tafoya will be sideline reporters.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 5:16pm

Has anybody heard who will be in the booth with Michaels? How about the sideline reporters?

by Bob P (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 5:23pm

Well, how was that (#5-6-7) for hitting the enter key almost simultaneously!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 5:28pm

I think Michaels is o.k., but my concern would be that having two raging egomaniacs sharing a booth will redline the ol' blab-o-meter. I can't help but think that those two will unconciously start competing with each other for microphone time, to the detriment of simply desrbing the game.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 6:02pm

"Watch this right here, watch it...bam, I'm fired!"

by Glenn (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 6:27pm

Now the bad news: "Maguire will be part of a two-hour Monday night pregame show to be hosted by Chris Berman"

Hopefully, not co-hosting. That would be death.

by Mahatma Kane Jeeves (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 6:34pm

Gosh, I'm gonna miss Mike Patrick's insighful play-by-play, with comments like, "TENNESSEE JUST GOT A FIRST DOWN, DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!"

by El Angelo (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 6:54pm

This is going to be comedy gold giving Theismann a spot of prominence. Is there any way we can bring back Eric Dickerson for more scintillating sideline reporting?

by Gaynell Tinsley (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 6:59pm

What's the over/under on the number of times they show the Thiesmann leg break?

by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 7:28pm

Why do we need sideline reporters? I hate them.

by Ben (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 8:16pm

Micheals is great. I wish Theismann would give up TV.

by David Keller (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 8:33pm

Al Michaels' first name is Al, and his last name is Michaels.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 8:58pm

David Keller's first name is David, his last name is Keller, and what everyone else on FO calls him, is unprintable (in deference to ESPN).

by Paul (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 10:19pm

Theisman is bad; but, then again, listening to Madden constantly state the obvious was tough to take every Monday.

by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 10:42pm

let's look back at that post again. Right there! That's where the punchline needed to be. Right there!

by SteelerBill (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 10:49pm

I might be the only person in America that enjoyed the ESPN Sunday Night crew....

Having said that I'm more disappointed about losing NFL Primetime...!!

by Dave Worley (not verified) :: Tue, 07/26/2005 - 10:56pm

Hey,is Dandy Don Meridith avalable?[is he dead],if so give Theisman the boot. Oh, give Frank Gifford another shot,Kathy Lee could do the sideline reporting.

by Paul (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 12:14am

Bah-dah-binggg; bah-dah-boom

by Glenn (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 12:27am

Michaels will make Theisman better.

You saw it here first.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 5:50am

Awww...I liked Patrick cause he was so easy to imitate...I could go back and forth between him and Madden all day. :)

I think they should do a football show with Madden, Patrick, Berman and Dennis Miller. That way I would never be scared by anything else ever again.

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 11:03am

Does anybody know much about Michaels' sporting background? I'm not aware of whether he ever played football at any level, so it always interests me that I find him so much more insightful than other commentators.

As an example, in the 2003 Pats-Broncos game when Bellichick called for an intentional safety late in the game, Michaels actually suggested that strategy before the play was run. After the Pats won, Belichick was, of course, highly praised for his inventive coaching. I wonder how many of the former players and coaches who have jobs up in the booth would have predicted intentional safety in that situation? (it certainly didn't seem to occur to former coach John Madden)

by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 11:39am

I'm always amazed at how former players and announcers seem clueless when it comes to matters of strategy. I agree that the intentional safety you mentioned was brilliant, and Michaels was probably the only announcer who would have suggested it beforehand. But sometimes even the real basics of strategy (like the fact that if you go for it and fail on fourth-and-goal, at least you've given the other team bad field position) are too complex for the former coaches to comprehend. It's just stunning to me that a person who had a job as a professional coach can't articulate basic concepts of strategy, but a lot of them can't.

by Paul (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 1:02pm

Maybe that's why some of them are no longer coaching... In reality, some of these coaches were successfull, probably not becasue of their ability to strategize or game plan, but merely because of their ability to motivate a diverse group of athletes.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 1:36pm

Re: (#27, #28, #29 )--

I wonder how much of the genius/madness ascribed to coaches like Belichick, Billick, Martz, and so on, is just that they take risks or play the percentages on certain things, when the "comfortable" option is less likely to get you a win.

An ex-coach/broadcaster like Madden, will be as conventional in the booth as he was on the sidelines. ?l Michaels was always a broadcaster, never a coach. According to his agent's bio page (linked), he's been a sports broadcaster since college. I hear that outsider perspective is useful sometimes. ;-)

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 2:17pm

I wonder if it is because they neither played nor coached that makes guys like Michaels better than others.

An ex-coach or (worse) an ex-lineman may believe that they don't need to do as much research because they've "been there" and have "inside" knowledge. Plus, many of us commoners give them instant credibility because they played or coached, regardless of what they actually know. Now, take a guy who is a journalist first and foremost. He knows that he has to do research and he's good at research by training. He also has to prove himself to the knuckledragging troglodyte who is, sadly, your typical NFL fan in America today. At the same time, he brings the perspective of someone is wasn't involved in the sport, so he can explain seemingly complex concepts to the remainder of the audience, like the girlfriends and wives who are married to the knuckledraggers who know little about the sport.

Of course, there's also the fact that these guys tend to be more educated and will refrain from speaking in cliches for three hours, which is a major plus.

by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 3:25pm

Good point, Sophandros. I've always thought a network ought to find a well-spoken NFL beat writer at some newspaper and turn him into a color commentator. It could make for a unique perspective. I also think former assistant coaches could be good, as could former officials, who know the rules inside and out and are trained to spot things most people miss.

by C (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 3:30pm

Two! sideline reporters? Blech!

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 3:37pm

Wow. I love the idea of having a former official do color commentary.

by Paul (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 4:22pm

A former official doing color commentary is very intriguing. Also (re: #30) I've read that Belichick does exactly what Starshatterer was suggesting: play statistical odds on certain plays and that Belichick has the odds of most plays and variations of a play committed to his memory -- like a good Blackjack player who counts cards. Also the difference between Belichick and other coaches who take chances versus those coaches that don't take chances are often due blame assessment (i.e., the coach would rather pick a play whose failure could be blamed on improper execution from the players as opposed to poor play selection.

by Simon (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 5:00pm

suzy kolber > michelle tafoya

i think this well be one of the best commentary teams this year. where can i be the officially licensed Michaels Team Merchandise?

by simon (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 5:01pm

be = buy ...

...in my world.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 6:39pm

Bleah. I love Al Michaels, who is surprisingly perceptive in play-by-play situations. But I can't stand Theismann. He's just plain horrible. I might be biased by the Green Bay-Minnesota game where they all simply laughed off Favre's illegal forward pass, and a previous game where they defended an interception ("it's just as good as a punt" What?!). I think that was them.

Plus I think Michaels and Madden complemented each other well, with Michaels shoring up Madden's faults pretty well. But maybe Michaels will pair better with Theismann, but I just can't see it.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2005 - 7:36pm

Re: 32 - Didn't the Atlanta Falcons (and maybe one other NFL team) offer ESPN's Chris Mortensen its GM job years ago? I bet Mort could do color commentary well.

by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 10:55am

That's the first I've heard of Mort being offered a GM job. I do know the Giants' Ernie Accorsi started as a sportswriter, so it's not unprecdented.

by Broadway Joe (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 11:50am

Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber as sideline reporters ?? Are the Jets playing on Monday night this year ? Better get some extra chapstick.

by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 2:24pm

Fred Claire was a sportswriter before becoming Dodgers GM.

by David Keller (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2005 - 3:43pm

I know Fred Claire. For breakfast, he enjoys a tall glass of orange juice. He likes Total, but will sometimes mix things up and have oatmeal. At lunch, he will eat a turkey sandwich, on wheat, mustard only. For dinner, it could be anything. Sometimes, it's fresh fish, with a side of vegetables, and perhaps a baked potato. Other nights, it might be a pasta dish, with a salad. He likes ice cream, especially strawberry.