Turns out, ABC's loss should be NBC's gain.
The NFL will return to NBC for the first time since the late '90s next season, and to broadcast NBC's marquee Sunday night game of the week, they have recruited none other than this past season's ABC Monday Night Football duo, Al Michaels and John Madden.
Talk about a coup.
A network that lost its Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA contracts in rapid-fire succession, a network that has been reduced to airing arena football and rodeos as its premier weekend sporting events, will bring in two of the most well-known broadcasters of the past quarter-century to man the booth for its national telecast.
Michaels was originally slated to continue serving as the Monday Night Football play-by-play man on ESPN alongside Joe Theismann, but backed out to switch networks.
For money? Maybe. To continue working with Madden? Possibly. My bet is that Michaels cringed the instant an ESPN executive said, "Wait, we'll put Tony Kornheiser in the booth, too! It will be great!"
Michaels has a great sense of timing from years in the broadcast booth. Part of that timing is knowing when to back out.
Can you imagine Michaels calling the 1980 Miracle on Ice alongside Kornheiser and Theismann?
Michaels: Five seconds!
Kornheiser: I don't care what you say, Terry Bradshaw would not make a better hockey player than Jack Tatum!
Michaels: Do you belie---
Theismann: Bradshaw would bring skill and finesse! All Tatum would be is a goon!
Michaels: Believe in mirac---
Kornheiser: But you have to be tough to play hockey! Tatum would knock Bradshaw's head off!
Michaels (as the USA team is mobbing each other at center ice): Do you b----
Theismann: Are you saying Bradshaw's not tough? Are you saying quarterbacks aren't tough enough to play hockey? You want to see how tough a a quarterback is? Let's go! right now!
(Kornheiser and Theismann begin fighting, as Michaels struggles to keep his microphone on)
Michaels: Doyoubelieveinmiraclesyes! Ow! you rolled on my leg, you &%$#!! Stop It!! Go to commercial!! Now!!!