When the New England Patriots meet the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, two of the football world’s most revered announcers will be in the broadcast booth. NBC Sports’ play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color commentator Cris Collinsworth will call the action live on NBC from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, starting at 6:00 p.m. ET.
NBC producer Fred Gaudelli, who will be running the show on Super Bowl Sunday, told Adweek earlier this month it would be a “huge disappointment” if this year’s broadcast was not the most-watched show in the history of television. That means Michaels and Collinsworth will have to announce a flawless game for more than 112.2 million views. It may seem like a lot of pressure, but Gaudelli has full confidence in his broadcasters.
“That makes a huge difference, because most people judge these broadcasts on how good the announcers are,” Gaudelli told USA Today. “It really doesn’t matter what [the producers] do, unless we’re making mistake after mistake. They really judge it by the announcers, and we’ve got the two best announcers. So not much can go wrong.”
Michaels has already announced some of the most historic games in sports history, including the United States men’s hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. This year’s Super Bowl will mark the ninth time the 70 year old has announced the NFL’s most prestigious contest. Despite the event’s massive global audience, Michaels compares his approach to the Super Bowl as a broad-scale version of what he and Collinsworth do each week as hosts of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
“We like to think we have this big tent and we are basically standing outside saying, 'Come one, come all!' We have something for the aficionado; we have something for the person who only watches one game a year. That’s pretty much our philosophy on Sunday Night Football. We go into every game thinking of it as a mini Super Bowl,” Michaels told Sports Illustrated’s TheMMQB.com. “They tell us it’s the No. 1 show on television right now with over 20 million people every week, and that’s pretty much our attitude. So the Super Bowl is very much an extension of our attitude for a regular Sunday night game.”
Collinsworth, 55, rose to fame as an All-Pro wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1980s before shifting to a career as a broadcaster. Super Bowl XLIX will mark Collinsworth’s third time calling the big game. He and Michaels last called the Super Bowl together in 2012.
Collinsworth “sees things that no one else sees,” Michaels told USA Today. Collinsworth watches the action on the field and seamlessly integrates statistics, football strategy and his own experiences to provide analysis to the fans watching at home. He spends hours watching film and reading up on each team before entering the broadcast booth, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“I feel like my job is to see what the people at home won’t see by following the football.” Collinsworth told USA Today. “I never watch the football. I just don’t. The football ends up where you are eventually. I want to tell [the fans] something about what they didn’t see.”