NBC decides to have Tony Dungy join Al Michaels for Chargers-Jaguars.
1. The broadcast crews for NFL wild-card weekend are set.
Seahawks-49ers, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox: Joe Davis, Daryl Johnston
Chargers-Jaguars, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC: Al Michaels, Tony Dungy
Dolphins-Bills, 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Giants-Vikings, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox: Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen
Ravens-Bengals, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth
Cowboys-Bucs, 8:15 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
All of the crews have worked together this season except for one: Michaels and Dungy, who have the call of Chargers-Jaguars on Saturday night.
If you’re wondering why Michaels’s broadcast partner this season, Kirk Herbstreit, isn’t calling the game, it comes down to Herbstreit being an employee of Amazon (and ESPN) and not NBC.
An NBC spokesperson told Sports Illustrated, “Early in the season, we decided to have Tony, who has called many football games, serve as the analyst for one of our NFL wild-card games. This is an NBC Sports presentation, so the plan was always to use an NBC Sports broadcaster in the booth.”
NBC ran into trouble last season when it used Drew Brees, who had never called an NFL game, on the Bengals-Titans playoff game. Brees was simply not ready for the assignment, and reviews across the board were ugly.
Dungy has some experience calling games and will definitely perform better than Brees, but he does not have any experience calling games with Michaels, so who knows how they will mesh.
It would’ve been nice if, after suffering through a pretty brutal Thursday Night Football schedule, Herbstreit had been rewarded with the playoff game, but that would’ve required a separate deal between NBC and Herbstreit and permission from ESPN.
Speaking of ESPN, Buck and Aikman also suffered from a subpar schedule this season, so it’s nice to see them get rewarded with the sexiest game of the weekend. Cowboys + Tom Brady is the perfect formula for big viewership.
2. A 65–7 game means disaster for ratings, and that’s what happened Monday night to ESPN. Georgia’s thrashing of TCU generated 17.2 million viewers. That is the lowest viewership number for a national title game since the BCS era began in 1999.
3. Bush-league move from Kentucky last night, as a fan was kicked out of Rupp Arena for holding up sign that asked coach John Calipari to “Please go to Texas.”
4. For some people, birthdays are a big deal. For other people, birthdays are just another day on the calendar. Golfer Ian Poulter seems to be firmly entrenched in the first category, because he actually called out the Ryder Cup for not wishing Sergio Garcia a happy birthday. Yes, this is a real tweet.
5. We had some classic Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on First Take today.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features a conversation with author and reporter Jim Miller. The bulk of the discussion is about ESPN’s coverage of Damar Hamlin’s injury on Monday Night Football and why the network deserves nothing but praise.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: If you’re an NFL fan, I guarantee you will be riveted to this video of Chris Berman narrating what happened on the final day of the regular season in 1999.
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Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter,Instagram and TikTok.
This content was originally published here.