BOSTON (CBS) — This is the time of year when an NFL team can grab the attention of the entire football universe by pulling off a blockbuster trade involving some very big names. Apparently, that might apply to broadcast networks, too.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post dropped a sports media bomb on Thursday, reporting that ESPN plans some major changes to its Monday Night Football broadcast — changes which would require a rare case of competing networks executing a trade of talent.
Marchand reported that ESPN has its eyes on a pairing of Al Michaels and Peyton Manning for Monday nights. Obviously, that scenario has two decently sized hurdles.
For one, Manning has proven difficult for any network to sign, as he’s been a coveted voice ever since retiring four years ago.
Larger than that, though, is the fact that Al Michaels works for NBC and is under contract through 2022.
Nevertheless, Marchand said it is possible, largely due to the fact that NBC already has a Michaels replacement on staff in Mike Tirico.
Plus, Michaels has gotten out of a contract early before, when he went from ABC/ESPN to NBC back in 2006. Marchand shared the fascinating details on that inter-network transaction:
In 2006, Michaels was set to continue on MNF as it transferred from ABC to ESPN, having agreed to a new deal to remain on the broadcast.
After Michaels’ MNF partner, John Madden, left for NBC, Michaels asked out of his signed contract. ESPN obliged, but it received Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in return.
Oswald was the precursor to the creation of Mickey Mouse. The rights to Oswald, though, were owned by NBC’s parent company then, Universal. It had been important to the Disney family to regain Oswald.
Al Michaels, Peyton Maning, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. You probably didn’t expect to read a story involving those three names when you awoke this morning, yet here we all are.