When it was first announced that Mike Tirico was leaving ESPN for NBC, Notre Dame fans swooned at the thought of Tirico possibly becoming the new play by play announcer for Notre Dame Football home games. Most people, however, had assumed it was for NBC's NFL coverage.
The "most people" we're right. The thing is, the NFL had mandated that the Sunday night crew be the same crew for the Thursday night games. As it is with most things that the NFL wants, the NFL gets.
This basically leaves Mike Tirico wide open as the blue-chip ringer some crafty old coach has ready to put in to dominate the game.
Enter the ringer...
NBC announces Mike Tirico will do play-by-play for #NotreDame’s first 3 home games of the season on NBC while Dan Hicks is on assignment.— Eric Hansen (@EHansenNDI) August 30, 2016
Here’s the thing though: This is only for the first three home games of the year. Dan Hicks will be back (stop hitting yourself).
The partnership between NBC and Notre Dame is long and the angst that the Fighting Irish fans have towards the broadcast team is almost equally long. Without going too far back, Notre Dame fans wanted Tom Hammond gone (for obvious reasons other than not being able to have the will to live after hearing a talking meat pillow drone on for three hours). With Hammond gone, enter Dan Hicks- but OH MY GOD HE IS JUST AS NAP-INDUCING AS THE MEAT PILLOW FELLA!
It doesn’t stop there. No, the color commentator/analyst has been just as vilified by fans. Pat Haden had his human interest tale to tell each week about the opponent- and by god he was going to tell it 20 times over. Haden bolts to help the burial of Souther Cal football, and then NBC does something smart when it hires NFL draft guru Mike Mayock. Mayock was smart, knowledgable, and unbelievably annoying as time went on. As "good" as he was, Notre Dame fans took offense at the many times Mayock would tear apart an Irish player and then praise an opponent. Notre Dame fans are a sensitive bunch- AND DAMMIT THIS IS OUR NETWORK. Once Mayock left, we got another Boston College alum in Doug Flutie. Things just keep getting weird.
This whole Tirico business has fans excited to have a real football announcer in the booth and not just some golf/horse racing junkie that has to do this per a contract in blood with NBC. The thing is... Notre Dame fans are a sensitive bunch, and I see no scenario that ends without a big number of fans openly wanting Tirico fired because he mispronounced a name, or perhaps there was some joy in his voice after the third turnover of the half.
Irish fans are appeased- for now.