Al Michaels opens up about his first NFL season on Amazon


When Amazon Prime Video received its schedule of NFL Thursday night games in the spring, legendary playoff man Al Michaels and his crew took notice of the Jets and Jaguars in late December.


“I have to say, when the schedule came up, we looked at this match and said, ‘What is this? Michaels told The Post.

Now, the Jets (7-7) against the Jaguars (6-8) have tiebreakers.

“But this is the NFL, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Michaels, 78, who has seen it all in action — including calling Mark Sanchez’s ass a decade ago.

Michaels was an essential part of Amazon making history as the first exclusive streamer of NFL games.

(Note: You’ll be able to watch the Jets on Fox 5 in the New York area, if you don’t have a Prime membership.)

Arguably the greatest NFL TV player in history, Michaels wasn’t used to a “B” schedule, spending nearly his entire career alongside Howard Cosell, John Madden, or Cris Collinsworth on Sundays and Mondays.

At times during the season, Michaels became the focus of games because he was not shy about, if he quotes a phrase from Cosell, “telling it like it is.”

“It was more about that particular game, rather than saying the schedule stinks,” said Michaels.

That particular game was the Colts-Broncos in Week 5, when Michaels looked on occasion A bit more like a Waldorf or Statler than just a game after game.

NBC commentator Al Michaels on the field during an NFL game
Al Michele put in an impressive performance in his first season with Amazon, even if he was a little grumpy.
Getty Images

“It’s very funny because one of the things that was said that night that was pitched to me was that I said, ‘This was the kind of game that would be the fifth CBS regional game,’” Michaels said. “What I actually said was rookie offensive tackle. For Indianapolis, who had like four penalties and gave up a few sacks it was,”[Bernhard] Raimann, that’s the kind of game that, if you’re that guy, you’d want to get it to #5 on CBS. There is a difference “.

It’s a fair point in this case. Still, at times, Michaels looked a little tacky games this season.

It wasn’t Michaels’ choice to leave NBC after he called Super Bowl XI this past February. The network chose to replace him on “Sunday Night Football” with Mike Tirico, who had been waiting anxiously in the on-deck circle for years. Even though Michaels has an “honorary” role with NBC and will call a playoff game for the network next month, he stuck out that when he did the weekly promo for Sunday and Monday games, he went weeks without saying “NBC” because it featured “Sunday Night Football.” It was even noticed inside the halls of NBC, according to sources. Was it on purpose?

“Not really,” Michaels said. Sunday night. No. I didn’t even think about it. When you say “Sunday night,” they know. Maybe I don’t. [say ESPN] When I say, “Monday night.” They know where it is.”

The implication was that there was some bad blood with NBC over how Terryco replaced him.

No, no, said Michaels. “Someone is trying to make things up about that. That has nothing to do with it. I have an honors deal there.”

Michaels has a three-year contract with Amazon to carry a boatload of millions and plans to return for a second year.

Kirk Herbstreet, Kylie Hartung, and Al Michaels
Al Michaels, Kylie Hartung, and Kirk Herbstreet
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“I still have a lot of energy,” said Michaels. “I still love what I do. So I’m ready to go. There’s no question about that. I mean, the idea of ​​stepping away, why?”

When the season started, Michaels’ partner, Kirk HerbstreetHe said he believed the duo could be the best pairing in the sport. They’re not quite there yet, though to have a stable team in a rookie year outlet is an accomplishment.

“I thought it was a great combination,” Michaels said. “I think the thing with Kirk is that early on some people said to me, ‘He’s a college student. What does he know about the NFL? “

With the NFL’s constant turnover, Michaels said Herbstreit has an advantage due to his ESPN College Football work. But what Michaels loves most is how streaming looks and feels with longtime producer Fred Godelli and the crew.

“The thing I’m most proud of is how it looks Great TV broadcastMichaels said. “I think some people thought, ‘What would this be?'” And Amazon is coming, and they don’t have the infrastructure, and will it be reckless? ‘It was anything but. I will put this show on whatever broadcast you’re watching these days.”

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