Al Michaels did an interview with Sports Business Journal and it’s mandated by law that someone who is in the public eye is asked about the criticism they received. Michaels, one of the best broadcasters to ever do it by anyone’s metrics, didn’t feign any excitement last season when Amazon was dealt an unseemly matchup in its rookie season. At times people couldn’t help but notice that he sounded low-energy and those with jobs commenting on media for a living and those who simply do it as a hobby shared that opinion online.
Michaels remains unbothered by the critique.
“Look, sometimes I’ll take some (expletive),” Michaels said. “People say, ‘He didn’t get excited enough.’ What do you want me to do? Scream, holler, yell the game? That ain’t me. That ain’t [Joe] Buck, that ain’t [Jim] Nantz. I can’t pay attention to anti-social media. We live in a country with 330 million people. And if eight people rip you on social media, I’m going, ‘huh?’ Now anybody sitting in a basement has a platform. You can’t let things like that distress you. I’ve been doing this for so long. And I wouldn’t be here at this point still doing a major package if I was doing it the wrong way.”
Obviously he’s correct. He does not stink at broadcasting. He’s awesome. That’s why Amazon tapped him as the voice of Thursday Night Football and it was a huge deal that he left NBC. And he didn’t bring the topic up so we can’t be too tough here, but on the other hand, did you really think we’d still be dismissing critics both valid and otherwise as gross basement people? In the year of our Lord 2023?
Michaels himself calls games on the Internet for a league whose commissioner hosted an entire draft from his own basement. Sports bloggers long ago migrated upstairs and some even have real human offices in big cities where they go in to write. Plus an overwhelming amount of social media use/internet browsing comes via mobile phone now and we suspect a person is more likely to be in the bathroom than in the basement when they’re weighing in on this stuff.
Basements and those who inhabit them occasionally need no defense because they provide defense from tornadoes, oppressive summer heat, and loud children upstairs. But it should be mentioned that great ideas have been hatched below ground. Ever heard of Wayne’s World or Kyle Brandt’s Basement or, uh, Amazon, which was fueled by the tireless work of Jeff Bezos in his basement?
Anyway, it’s time for some actual competitive football with the old familiar voices we all know and love. Like Al.