When Al Michaels and his colleagues saw the first “Thursday Night Football” schedule on Amazon Prime Video, one game stood out — in a bad way.
Amidst a late stretch of seemingly enticing matchups, it was: Jaguars at Jets on Dec. 22.
Michaels can also be seen on Fox 5 in New York as he prepares to call Thursday night’s game, “This thing came up and we all looked at each other,” Michaels told Newsday.
“Let’s get this straight: You’ve got Jacksonville, a team that has had the worst record in the league for two years, against a team that won four games last year. In December. In New York. We tried to find out why. ”
It doesn’t matter anymore, as Amazon has a much more interesting game with playoff implications for both teams. The upstart Jaguars are 6-8 and the Jets are 7-7.
“It’s been a crazy year,” Michael said.
Calling Michael Jets a game is a little crazy.
The last time he did so was on Thanksgiving night in 2012, a 49-19 Patriots win, in which Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez lost a fumble when he ran into the back of his defender, Brandon Moore.
“You knew it was going to live in infamy, and it has,” Michaels said. “You never know what’s going to happen when me and my staff show up at a Jets game.”
Why hasn’t Michaels called a Jets game in a decade? Because he previously worked on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which doesn’t usually show Jets games.
When Mike Tirico succeeded him this season, Michael landed at Prime Video as part of an entirely new operation that included analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Michaels said he’s particularly proud of the first-class production values for Amazon Games, given all the unknowns about the process as 2022 dawns.
“I would put the production of this show up to anyone right now,” he said. “The trucks are top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art. Unbelievable what they have done. They have spared no expense. ”
That includes signing top dollar figures like veteran producer Fred Gaudelli, Michaels and Herbstreit.
Michael praised Herbstreit’s ability to switch between Thursday night NFL games and his other job as ESPN’s lead college football analyst.
“It’s amazing how he was able to pull this off,” Michaels said. “I’ve been impressed with his work ethic. He has come with great preparation. It was a pleasure to work with him.
“I think he did a great job. But like I said, I don’t know how the hell this guy did it. That’s surprising to me.”
Michaels has been accused of airing at times this season, but he said he was simply trying to reflect what was happening in front of him.
That was especially evident in the Oct. 6 game, when the Colts beat the Broncos 12-9 in overtime.
“It was a bad game,” he said. “I thought I had fun with what that game was. What would I have to do to sell you a 20-year-old Mazda as a used car salesman?
“The fans know what’s going on. They see it for what it is, and I think a lot of people appreciated that it reflected their feelings about the game, rather than trying to sell you crap that doesn’t exist.
Michaels has retained an honorary role at NBC and will work one of its NFL playoff games in January, he said he hopes. His analyst T.B.D.
From there, enjoy the ride on the 78.
On Tuesday, he took his wife, daughter and 13-year-old granddaughter to his old neighborhood in Flatbush and showed them the building where he spent his first 12 years. (After staying in Bellmore, the family moved to California when Michael was 14.)
From the apartment on Ocean Avenue, he and his father can walk to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers play.
When it came to football, young Michael was a giant fan. Jets didn’t exist yet.