When it was announced that Mike Tirico would be NBC’s new play by play man in the booth for Notre Dame football games, many fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were excited. Tirico is a well liked sports personality, and is one of the very best in the business. NBC had come a long ways since the days of Tom Hammond.
While fans often complained about Hammond, many had also expressed their displeasure with the color commentary of Pat Haden, Mike Mayock, and now Doug Flutie. A common beef is that all three of the most recent color guys have been from “rival schools.” Haden played for the USC Trojans, while Mayock and Flutie are alums of the Boston College Eagles.
It just didn’t seem right — it just didn’t seem fair that Notre Dame didn’t have one of its own in the booth calling the games inside Notre Dame Stadium. Mike Tirico addressed this last year during the season:
“One thing we’re pretty conscious of is — we’re really careful about not being the Notre Dame network,” Tirico told The Schwab Speaks podcast Tuesday. “I think people might say that out of laziness and naïveté. We went down to Athens, spent the day with Georgia. We covered that game. You go back and watch or listen to that game, I’ll put that up with any neutral network broadcast, because that’s what we are. We’re a network broadcaster even though we have the contract for Notre Dame’s home games.”
I think it’s safe to say that many think this is a crock of shit. While the statement is most certainly true from their perspective, Notre Dame fans just can’t understand why this is the case, or even why NBC wants it to be that way. As OFD alum, Bobby Norell, stated:
“If they don’t wanna be the “Notre Dame Network”…why not just call it “College Football on NBC” instead of “Notre Dame football on NBC”? Or why do they put the ND logo next to the NBC logo? Or why do they use the victory march as part of the intro?”
Bobby is absolutely right. Notre Dame fans feel cheated with the proverbial “bait and switch” in the way NBC promotes a Notre Dame football game as opposed to how they broadcast it live. It’s not that fans demand “homer calls” from the booth, but they certainly don’t want to feel like they are being railroaded either. Notre Dame fans are the ones that are tuning in each week a game is on NBC, so why should they have to appease opposing fans — there’s enough of that going on INSIDE the stadium. We want it out of our living room when the Irish wear the Blue jerseys.
Pat Haden wasn’t very good at his job, but Mike Mayock was actually considered a good hire because he does a nice job (mostly). Hiring Doug Flutie was the last straw for Irish fans. He’s fucking terrible, when something is that bad, one can’t help but look around for a better option. In the minds of many, many Irish fans, the better option is former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.
Quinn has been involved with college football broadcasting ever since he left the NFL. He does a really nice job in the booth and in the studio for FOX. So... why isn’t he an option for NBC? Oh that’s right... they can’t be seen as being pro ND, because to them, a “ND guy” in the booth would obviously mean that he’s going to cheer like crazy for the Irish and piss all over the other team (kind of what we deal with in Flutie, but in reverse).
Do you know who else thinks it’s ridiculous? Yep... Brady Quinn. When speaking with Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, Quinn told them that he has spoke with NBC in the past:
“It’s funny. Just to be blunt, NBC and I have had conversations. It’s hard for Sam Flood (NBC and NBC Sports Network executive producer and president) to get over having an alum (as an analyst). I think he’s worried about being biased and essentially becoming ‘the Notre Dame Network,’ because I am an alum.”
Quinn also voiced his frustration in regards to how he sees this thinking:
“It’s kind of backwards as far as their thinking in it. My aim is just to call the game the way I see it. It’s not to favor one team as opposed to the other. It’s about being great at what I’m trying to do.”
Calling out a potential future employer is never something I would recommend, but I get the sense that NBC is never going to budge in this matter. If they do, there would be no better option than Brady Quinn.
Football gods save us from Doug.
Who would you rather have in the NBC booth?
This poll is closed