Super Bowl: Al Michaels introduces Cris Collinsworth for 'final time,' fuels speculation about future
Is Sunday's Super Bowl the final time we'll see Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in a broadcast booth together?
It sure sounds like it from Michaels' pregame introduction. The veteran play-by-play man introduced his longtime broadcast partner for "one final time" to start NBC's coverage of the Super Bowl on Sunday, adding fuel to the speculation that he'll leave the network this offseason.
Super Bowl Slide.
📺: #SBLVI on NBC
📱: https://t.co/K02y40b5Nu pic.twitter.com/bOSt2xHlmr
— NFL (@NFL) February 13, 2022
"The Bengals ... get to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988 when this man — come sliding in here for one final time — Cris Collinsworth played in that game," Michaels said.
Michaels' intro gave a nod to the internet-famous Collinsworth "slide" that's become the analyst's weekly trademark. Did it also signal an end to his partnership with Collinsworth? Or just an end to their 2021 season together?
What's next for Michaels?
Michaels' contract with NBC is expiring after the Super Bowl. He's reportedly drawn interest from Amazon for its upcoming streaming coverage and ESPN for a potential return to the "Monday Night Football" booth. At 77 years old, retirement would also be a reasonable option for Michaels. But he told reporters last week "I’m not ready for any rocking chair or golf."
Michaels has been calling games nationally since joining ABC in 1977. He joined John Madden in NBC's "Sunday Night Football" booth in 2006 and has called games alongside Collinsworth since the former Bengals receiver replaced a retired Madden in the analyst chair in 2009.
Whether it's with ESPN, Amazon or elsewhere, most signs point to Michaels leaving NBC after 16 seasons. Now it appears that Micheals is acknowledging it.