A look back at Al Michaels’ career

NBC broadcaster Al Michaels, right, had an accomplished broadcasting career that began in the state of Arizona. Here he talks to Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, left. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — News that Sunday’s Super Bowl could be Al Michaels’ last with NBC has sparked some thought about the 77-year-old announcer’s career. Few memories, however, date back to the early 1960s when Michaels was a college student at Arizona State.

It was there that he crossed paths with longtime Suns radio announcer Al McCoy. The two first interacted when McCoy called ASU basketball games, and Michaels did the same for ASU’s student radio station, known today as Blaze Radio. Michaels also served as a sports editor for the college newspaper, The State Press.

“I was doing the plays on real radio and he was doing them on campus radio and then later he applied for the Suns radio job and he didn’t get it because they hired me” , McCoy said. “Knowing him since he was in college, it’s been really great to follow his career because he’s had such an outstanding career, both when he started with minor league baseball in Hawaii and then in during his years in Cincinnati and San Francisco with NBC.”

Michaels is set to announce his 11th Super Bowl, this one featuring the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.

He’s been the lead announcer for “Sunday Night Football” since its inception in 2006, but his contract with NBC is set to expire after Sunday’s game. And after? During an NBC Sports Super Bowl LVI conference call, Michaels said he has no plans to stop now.

“I like what I’m doing. I feel good,” he said. “I’m not ready for a rocking chair or golf.”

The announcer made the most of his time at ASU. He told AZCentral that one of his most memorable calls came in 1979 when “Arizona State’s mile relay team set the world record at Mt. San Antonio (College) Relays, 3 : 04.5, and they beat the world record held by the Olympic team by 1.1 seconds.

He also remembers a few hijinx while he was a student at Tempe. In his 2014 book, “You Can’t Make This Up,” he wrote about a prank he performed on The Arizona Republic. He and several ASU friends called the athletic office and shared details of athlete Clint Romas’ incredible accomplishments. Except Romas didn’t exist. The newspaper later retracted the story, Michaels said.

Many went to recognize the announcer for his time on “Sunday Night Football,” but some became admirers and fans of his time calling MLB games.

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Jeff Munn, the play-by-play broadcaster for ASU women’s basketball, remembers listening to Michaels call baseball games on the radio.

“One summer night in 1974, I could listen to Vin Scully doing Dodgers games on the radio, Dick Enberg on the Angels, and for a year Al Michaels on the Giants,” Munn said. “For a radio nerd, a baseball fan, that was just nirvana. There’s a lot of things, but his ability to understand the moment as it’s happening, and that seems a little weird, but my Al Michaels’ favorite calls are those that both involve baseball.

Ann Meyers Drysdale’s friendship with Michaels grew over the years. It started when her brother Dave was playing basketball at UCLA and later when Michasels worked with her late husband Don Drysdale on “Monday Night Baseball.”

“They became very good friends and he and his wife Linda are still very special,” said Meyers Drysdale, vice president of the Mercury and Suns and one of the NBA’s first female color analysts. “We all develop relationships in this profession that we have and you know so many people have respect for him, not just as a talent but just as a person.”

ESPN and Arizona Cardinals announcer Dave Pasch said: “Every time Al calls a game, his presence alone makes it feel like a major event.

“He has a great voice and still provides a sense of place and perspective due to the number of big games he’s played over the years. He has such a recognizable and comforting voice, and rises to the occasion. great times.

If NBC decides to leave Michaels, he should be courted heavily. Multiple reports suggest Amazon will push for the veteran play-by-play broadcaster as it becomes the first streaming service to have exclusive rights to a nationwide package of NFL games. Amazon will stream 15 “Thursday Night Football” games per year through the 2032 season via Prime video to Amazon customers with a Prime subscription.

As he has throughout this season, Michaels has taken every game week in and week out and is ready to call another Super Bowl.

“I’ve always thought that as soon as you start thinking about other things, it pulls you away from that,” Michaels said. “I don’t know what the future holds, but after this game is over, I have very close friends and guys who really understand the business inside and out, and we’ll talk about what’s going on. and what I might want to do.