What an Al Michaels-Peyton Manning ESPN Booth Would Mean for Several Players in This Saga: TRAINA THOUGHTS

Publish date:

1. The fallout from Tony Romo deciding to remain at CBS continued Thursday when New York Post sports media reporter (and a guest on the SI Media Podcast this week), Andrew Marchand, reported that ESPN wants to trade for NBC's Al Michaels and hire Peyton Manning to pair them in the network's Monday Night Football booth.

Here, in Traina Thoughts, are some thoughts.

• The biggest factor in ABC's reported pursuit of an Michaels-Peyton booth is Disney/ABC/ESPN trying to get a Super Bowl (and better Monday Night Football games) in the next television deal that the league will negotiate with potential rights holders. That is the driving force behind all of this.

• As I've written, announcers do not equal ratings. Monday Night Football's ratings were actually up in 2019 from 2018. What announcers do, if they are good, is give your network prestige, they keep the NFL happy, they keep your advertisers happy and they don't make a network's life a living hell when it comes to social media. They don't, however, translate to viewers.

• Going after Michaels is a smart move for ESPN because it needs a veteran—and a legend—to guide Peyton Manning, who has never called a football game in his life. Just like Jim Nantz helped make Tony Romo, ESPN would need Michaels to help make Peyton.

• You have to feel for Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland. No matter how you feel about their work, these are two guys under contract for the 2020 season and yet they have to deal with reports almost every day about how they're going to be replaced.

• As I said, Peyton has never been in a booth as an analyst for a football game. He may be a phenomenal analyst. He may be a terrible analyst. I don't know. You don't know. Nobody knows.

Having said that, I'm not sure what ESPN's Adam Schefter was trying to show recently when he tweeted this video, but Peyton's analysis here is nothing special at all. This is the kind of stuff you hear every Sunday from most of the CBS and FOX analysts working games. This is also literally what Dan Orlovsky does on a regular basis on Get Up or on Twitter. There isn't anything unique from Peyton in the clip.

• On the SI Media Podcast recorded earlier this week with Marchand, he said ESPN wouldn't have gone into the $17-18 million range for Romo if he had become a free agent. So it's interesting and bizarre at the same time that ESPN would go to the $18-20 million range for Peyton, as has been reported.

• The network that could make out the best in all of this is NBC. Al Michaels is as good as it gets when it comes to play-by-play and at 75 he has lost NOTHING off his fastball. However, if NBC did trade Al to ESPN, they could just slide Mike Tirico into the play-by-play role for Sunday Night Football and still provide an excellent broadcast each and every week.

• No matter what happens, this will always be Al Michaels's greatest on-air moment.

2. This is how the Hot Take World works. I've said it before and I'll say again: Please don't watch any FS1 daytime programming. Be better than that.

3. LeBron James used Instagram to get all philosophical.

4. Stone Cold Steve Austin will appear on Monday Night Raw March 16 to celebrate 3-16.

5. If you're on Twitter, you've seen this clip by now of MSNBC's Brian Williams and New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay struggle with some basic math.

Sadly, we can no longer just enjoy embarrassing live TV clips anymore without some people immediately calling for firings. Williams and Gay should not be fired or face any other kind of discipline. Mistakes happen and this was a bad one. But it gave us a great TV moment, which we should just enjoy for what it is and not make it a referendum on people's careers.

At least Gay showed she has a sense of humor about the whole thing.

6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols. Nichols talks about her role as host of The Jump each weekday, what she wants to accomplish in her interviews, Spike Lee vs. the Knicks and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Jake "The Snake" Roberts returned to pro wrestling Wednesday night when he appeared on AEW's weekly show to cut a promo.

If you grew up in the '80s watching the WWF, you know Roberts is an all-time heel, so let's remember his most famous angle.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.