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Speculating about the next moves of Tirico and Brady and remembering Prince, Elvis and Nixon


This is what I’m thinking:

If the widespread reports are true that versatile play-by-play man Mike Tirico is leaving ESPN after 25 years for NBC, I can’t imagine he would trade places unless he had assurances that he would eventually replace Al Michaels on Sunday Night Football.

Granted, Michaels still does quality work and reportedly has two years left on his contract, but he will be 72 in November and not everyone is like Vin Scully and can continue forever.

The idea that Tirico would leave all the prestigious NFL, pro and college basketball, golf and tennis assignments that he does for ESPN to work five Thursday Night Football games on NBC makes about as much sense as the Bills drafting a kicker in the first round.

NBC Sports doesn’t have enough professional sports to keep Tirico busy. Its high-profile events are the NFL, the Olympics, the Triple Crown of horse racing and the British Open and Ryder Cup in golf.

The Syracuse University graduate could also work at NBCSN, the network’s cable arm. It has the NHL and soccer, neither of which gets much national attention.

It wouldn’t shock me if NBC tried to find a place for Tirico to work in its news division, perhaps on “Today” in some capacity. It also wouldn't shock me if Tirico was going to simultaneously work at ESPN and NBC, though there has been no suggestion that is going to happen.

Tirico’s reported departure would leave multiple holes at ESPN, most prominently on Monday Night Football.

The Sports Business Daily, which first reported Tirico’s move to NBC, speculated that another Syracuse graduate, Sean McDonough, appears to be the favorite to replace Tirico alongside Jon Gruden on MNF. I’ve always thought McDonough has been underrated, especially on college basketball.

I heard multiple members of the local media suggest that New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady won’t be able to play against the Buffalo Bills after his four-game suspension in the Deflategate case was reinstated Monday by a federal appeals court.

Not so fast.

Mike Florio of NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk was among those who noted that Brady has at least one more appeal left to a larger panel of the Federal Appeals Court, three of whom reinstated the suspension by a 2-1 vote.

Brady also could take the case to the United States Supreme Court, though nobody expects it would agree to hear a case that is silly compared to those the court usually agrees to hear.

Since the vote among judges so far is 2-2 in the determination that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to impose the suspension, it wouldn’t be shocking if some kind of compromise was reached to end the embarrassing circus associated with arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

And any reduction in the number of games for Brady’s suspension would mean he would be able to play against the Bills since that game is the fourth on the Patriots’ schedule this season. I might be in the minority, but I'd rather watch Brady play against the Bills anyway.

My memory was jogged by the current theatrical movie starring Kevin Spacey, “Elvis & Nixon.” I thought I had seen something like that before. Sure enough, Showtime carried a TV movie in 1997, “Elvis and Nixon,” that dealt with the singer’s request to be assigned a new position as a Federal agent at large to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Rick Peters, who has an extensive TV series resume that recently included “Agent Carter,” played Elvis. Bob Gunton, who played the evil warden in “Shawshank Redemption,” played President Nixon.

The hastily promoted "Saturday Night Live" to Prince featuring many of his past performances on the late-night program had a 4.2 rating on Channel 2, which is lower than the program usually averages here for original episodes. Original “SNL” episodes often are the highest-rated programs here on Saturday night. On this past Saturday night, two episodes of CBS’ “48 Hours” out-rated the Prince tribute.

I would guess that the relatively low tribute viewership celebrating the musical icon might have been because the audience for Prince is older than many of the millennials that regularly watch “SNL.” My 23-year-old son suggested that many members of his generation know Prince more for comedian Dave Chappelle’s parody of him than for his music.




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