Andrew Marchand shocked the sports media world yet again today as he reported for the New York Post that ESPN is "considering" making a run at Al Michaels to join the Monday Night Football booth. Per Marchand:
ESPN is contemplating a pursuit of legendary play-by-player Al Michaels for “Monday Night Football,” The Post has learned.
No final decision on whether to fully engage Michaels has been made, according to sources.
Marchand describes ESPN as "satisfied" with their current grouping of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, and Brian Griese. Even if they weren't, it would be very unlikely to toss them away in favor of a home-run swing for Michaels. Rather, if the Worldwide Leader does decide to make a serious run for Michaels, he'd be the foundational piece of a new booth for the expanding slate of games ESPN will receive in the upcoming years, as Marchand notes:
Meanwhile, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” is on the verge of something of a renaissance as in its new 11-year deal, it will add six ABC games and two Super Bowls. Its schedule is expected to remain very strong, as it soon adds some late-season flex games. Its expansion in games will necessitate needing an extra broadcast team.
This is the only way adding Michaels to the roster makes any sense. ESPN is looking for a long-term marriage in the MNF booth after inking the new NFL deal. Michaels is 77 years-old and still going strong but probably won't be calling games bordering on 90 years-old. The network won't blow up an established trio they like in exchange for a few years (at best) of Michaels.
Still, it is Al Michaels. He is at the top of the industry and has a history with MNF. ESPN would be hard-pressed to not at least consider making a run. Even if the most likely outcome for next year remains Michaels joining Amazon Prime and ESPN sticking to the status quo.