Wait, is ESPN really trading for Al Michaels?

Al Michaels. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Al Michaels. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

After sending him to NBC for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 2006 (yeah, seriously), is Disney really looking to trade for Al Michaels?

Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

It happened back in 2006 and it just might happen again. According to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, Disney is reportedly looking into putting together a dream-team pairing for ESPN’s Monday Night Football: Al Michaels as the play-by-play guy and Peyton Manning as the color commentator.

Michaels has been the crème de la crème of play-by-play for decades. He’s called just about everything in his illustrious broadcasting career. From The Miracle on Ice, to the World Series, to the Super Bowl, Michaels is a god among men in his industry. No wonder Disney wants him so badly to fix the running joke that has become Monday Night Football the last few years.

Of course, Michaels is still under contract with NBC, the same broadcasting company who traded Oswald the Lucky Rabbit back to Disney in exchange for his dulcet tones in 2006. Since that trade, we haven’t seen the precursor to Mickey Mouse star in any iconic children’s cartoon. All the while, NBC’s Sunday Night Football has taken Monday Night Football to the woodshed repeatedly.

News of Disney’s interest in Michaels comes on the heels of CBS giving its top color commentator Tony Romo $17 million annually to call games next to Jim Nantz. He has been sensational in the CBS booth since retiring in 2016. Romo could have been what Jon Gruden was for ESPN in the Monday Night booth. Gruden left Disney in 2018 to coach the Oakland Raiders for a second time.

Disney and NBC theoretically orchestrating another trade involving Michaels makes some sense. NBC already has Michaels’ eventual Sunday Night Football successor in Mike Tirico, Gruden’s former Monday Night Football partner back in the day. Michaels is in his mid-70s and may retire from calling games after the native Angeleno calls a Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

So NBC is in good shape to send Michaels to Disney with Tirico waiting in the wing and with Cris Collinsworth as good as ever as a color commentator. Maybe NBC can take Disney to the cleaners again like it did the last time Michaels switched broadcasting companies?

As for Disney, trading for Michaels is a way to add some juice to the worst No. 1 NFL broadcasting team in America. Disney can’t trot out Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland again. Everybody knows that. While nobody knows how Manning will do in the booth, we’ve seen him star in every commercial under the sun for years, as well as Peyton’s Places on Disney’s ESPN+ property.

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Ultimately, Disney needs to do whatever it takes to get Michaels in the Monday Night booth to call games alongside Manning. At this time, it feels like a package deal with the Michaels/Manning pairing. Marchand adds Disney has interest in Philip Rivers possibly being a fit. While he’ll surely pop on television too, Michaels and Manning could be a total game changer in the industry.