ESPN was forced to move on to Plan B last week when the news broke that Tony Romo would be staying at CBS. The Worldwide Leader in Sports wanted to steal Romo away and feature him on their Monday Night Football broadcasts in a broader attempt to make their broadcast package more appealing to the NFL when the TV rights deals expire in 2022.
Most thought ESPN's plan with no Romo would involve Peyton Manning in some capacity, although the future Hall of Famer has expressed little-to-no interest in life as a color commentator. But Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports their plans are much grander than that. According to Marchand, ESPN is attempting to trade for NBC's Al Michaels and make Michaels/Manning on MNF their version of Jim Nantz and Romo. From the article:
"Thinking large and outside the box, ESPN plans to attempt to acquire Al Michaels from NBC Sports for “Monday Night Football,” The Post has learned. ESPN would like to team Michaels with Peyton Manning in its dream booth, according to sources."
Michaels is under contract with NBC for the next two years, and talks have yet to begin between ESPN and NBC.
Michaels has been with NBC since 2006. Manning retired after the 2015-16 season and, despite many a rumor suggesting otherwise, appears to be content living out of the spotlight in his retirement. For now, that is.