The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.

10.05.2006

The NHL on the NFL on NBC

The "infamous" (apparently) Eric McErlain over at Off Wing Opinion turned me on to this tidbit from a Washington Times piece by Tim Lemke. NBC plans on using their new Sunday Night Football package as a means for advertising their hockey coverage. Which gives me an opportunity to examine the effect the NFL is going to have on the NHL on NBC, a topic that I've spent a while ruminating on.

Obviously, professional outdoor football's return to NBC is a good thing for hockey. That goes without saying. If nothing else, it lends the NHL a little bit more credibility than it had before. When the TV deal with NBC was announced, it was viewed as a big step backwards for the NHL (which it was) partly because NBC was no longer a very legitimate sports network. At the time, the only other sports they carried were golf and arena football, and many folks had a field day lumping the NHL in with the AFL as an insignificant niche sport. The arrival of the NFL eliminates that. Advertising for the NHL during football games is an added bonus (especially when the Super Bowl moves to NBC).

More important than that, though, will be the possible change in the television booth. I have no sources to verify that this will actually happen, but I can only hope that now that NBC has Al Michaels under contract, we will see a return to the glory days of him doing Monday Night Football (well, Sunday in this case) during the fall and winter, and then doing play-by-play for hockey during the spring. Even if it's only during the playoffs. I'm not saying that the broadcast team NBC has now is bad (I almost kind of like Doc Emerick's banshee screams every time there is a shot on goal, or a pass near the goal, or a player near the goal) but Al Michaels is, in addition to being a great football guy, the best hockey play by play announcer that ever was. Six words: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" I get chills just typing it.

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