Why Mike Tirico is calling ‘Sunday Night Football’ instead of Al Michaels in Week 6

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For the first time in the 2021 season, NBC play-by-play commentator Al Michaels will not be calling the ‘Sunday Night Football’ game between the Steelers and the Seahawks in Week 6.

Fellow NBC broadcaster, Mike Tirico, will take over for Michaels and join Cris Collinsworth in the booth. Tirico filled in for Michaels a few times in the 2020 season, and he currently hosts ‘Football Night in America’ during halftime on Sunday nights.

Starting in 2016, NBC began giving Michaels time off for a few games. This season is Michaels’ last season on his NBC contract, and the almost 77-year-old broadcaster will most likely be stepping away from NBC after the Super Bowl in February.

MORE: NFL picks, predictions for Week 6

Why is Mike Tirico calling ‘Sunday Night Football’?

As Michaels has gotten older, NBC occasionally gives him weeks off throughout the season. When Tirico joined NBC in 2016, he began filling in for Michaels whenever he had weeks off. This week is one of Michaels’ weeks off, so that is why Tirico will be stepping in.

Tirico is expected to fill in a couple more times this season, but those games are to be determined.

Cris Collinsworth with his infamous slide will be joining Tirico in the booth, and Michele Tafoya will still be the sideline reporter for Sunday night’s game.

MORE: Why ESPN’s Peyton and Eli Manning broadcast is only right way to watch ‘Monday Night Football’

Where will Al Michaels be in 2022?

Since Michaels’ NBC contract is up following the 2021 NFL season, it is possible that his last game he calls for NBC will be Super Bowl LVI in February. NBC and Michaels have yet to confirm this.

But, this might not be the last we see of Michaels in the booth. Starting in the 2022 season, Amazon will be the home for ‘Thursday Night Football’ games. It was reported in Sept. 2021 that Michaels could possibly be signing a deal with Amazon to work play-by-play for the Thursday games. According to the New York Post, Amazon is 90 percent sure they will hire Michaels in this role.

The deal between Amazon and Michaels is not official.

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Who would replace Al Michaels on NBC?

Because Tirico has been filling in for Michaels, it is expected for Tirico to take on Michaels’ role full-time whenever Michaels leaves NBC. Cris Collinsworth will continue to be the color analyst on staff for Sunday nights alongside Tirico. 



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