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Cris Collinsworth Posts Tribute Video to Al Michaels With Signature Slide

Collinsworth took the opportunity to pay tribute and say goodbye to his longtime broadcast partner with a quick clip of the “Collinsworth Slide.”

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The great NFL broadcasting carousel of the 2022 offseason has almost come to a stop, with only Fox’s No. 1 analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt still to be resolved.

ESPN officially announced its new Monday Night Football team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, a seismic move in sports media. Amazon soon followed by introducing the crew for its upcoming Thursday Night Football broadcast, Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit.

And while there wasn’t an official introduction directly from NBC, plenty of outlets — including Deadline, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter — were given the announcement that Mike Tirico is taking over the Sunday Night Football play-by-play chair alongside incumbent analyst Cris Collinsworth.

The news was a formality, really. It was widely presumed that Tirico would step into that role. It’s essentially why NBC hired Tirico from ESPN, to eventually succeed Michaels on TV’s No. 1 primetime broadcast.

Nonetheless, Collinsworth took the opportunity last week to pay tribute and say goodbye to his longtime broadcast partner with a quick clip of something viewers have come to know and love to begin the SNF telecast: The “Collinsworth Slide.”

“Come slide in here one more time,” said Michaels to Collinsworth, who rolled his chair into frame for the customary two-shot to introduce the telecast and set up the Super Bowl LVI clash between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.

That was their final broadcast together after 13 years calling NFL games for NBC, the last time Collinsworth would slide over to Michaels on camera.

“It started off as the dumbest thing ever,” Collinsworth explained to Pardon My Take in 2020. “They would put a mark down and say put one leg on either side of the mark… Well, Al opens the show by himself. He’s done it forever. It’s Al Michaels and America in a one-on-one, sort of bonding exercise that he does.

“So in order to do the one-on-one, they said ‘Cris, you gotta get out of the shot.’ I was like, OK, what do you want me to do? You want me to put my legs between the mark on the thing or do you want me in the shot? ‘Well, just lean out.’ Just lean out and give Al some room so he can do his thing… How it became a thing, I have no idea.”

Now, Collinsworth will be sliding over to join Tirico in the frame. Kirk Herbstreit wouldn’t dare try to emulate the slide on Thursday Night Football, would he? Even Michaels might have something to say about that.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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