Michael Todd Tirico (//; born December 13, 1966) is an American sportscaster working for NBC Sports. He is perhaps best known for his 10-year run as an NFL play-by-play announcer on ESPN's Monday Night Football from 2006 to 2015. During his 25 year tenure with ESPN, Tirico also called a multitude of sports for the network, including the NBA, college football and basketball, golf, tennis, and hockey. He was one of the anchors of ESPN's coverage of the FIFA World Cup along with Bob Ley.
Tirico in 2017.
Michael Todd Tirico
December 13, 1966
NBC Sports (2016–present)
|Spouse(s)||Debbie Tirico (wife)|
Tirico left ESPN when his contract expired in the summer of 2016, and was subsequently hired by NBC Sports. Tirico debuted during its coverage of the 2016 Open Championship. Although it was reported that NBC had intended Tirico to serve as the lead play-by-play for newly acquired portion of the Thursday Night Football package, contractual obligations required the positions to be filled by NBC's existing Sunday Night Football broadcast team. However, Tirico would call a limited schedule of games from both packages in the 2016 season, primarily as a substitute for lead commentator Al Michaels, and on several NFL Network-exclusive games. Tirico would become the lead play-by-play commentator for NBC's Thursday Night Football games in the 2017 season. After calling three Notre Dame games in 2016, Tirico also replaced Dan Hicks as the full-time play-by-play man for Notre Dame football in 2017.
On February 9, 2017, it was announced that Tirico would become primetime host of NBC's coverage of the Olympics, beginning at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and as the on-site host for NBC's coverage of the NFL beginning in the 2017 season, both replacing veteran sportscaster, Bob Costas. In August 2018, he was named the new studio host of NBC's Football Night in America, replacing Dan Patrick.
ABC and ESPN (1991–2016)Edit
Tirico joined ESPN in 1991 as a SportsCenter anchor, after four years as Sports Director at CBS affiliate WTVH-TV in Syracuse, New York, during his undergraduate years at Syracuse University. Tirico is noted for his versatile nature and the variety of assignments he has handled for SportsCenter. Tirico was the very first host seen on ESPNews. Tirico has handled the play-by-play for ESPN's Thursday night college football package (1997 to 2005), college basketball coverage (1997 to 2002), NBA coverage (2002 to 2016), and golf coverage for ESPN/ABC (1997 to 2015). Tirico has also hosted studio coverage of various ESPN and ABC covered events, including a stint on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown (previously known as NFL Prime Monday) from 1993 to 2001 and ABC's NBA studio shows. He also broadcasts NBA games on ESPN/ABC and usually does play-by-play for the NBA Finals on ESPN Radio. He anchored the 2009 U.S. Open (tennis) and co-anchored the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 (his last assignment at ESPN).
NBC Sports (2016–present)Edit
On May 9, 2016, after a leak the prior month, it was officially announced that Mike Tirico would join NBC Sports effective July 1, 2016. Tirico signed off for the last time on ESPN on June 30, 2016, during the conclusion of that day's coverage of the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Tirico's first on-air appearance on an NBC property came during the 2016 Open Championship on NBC's Golf Channel, calling play-by-play for the first three hours of first and second round coverage. Tirico moved to the studio host role in the afternoons on both Thursday and Friday, and he hosted all on the coverage on NBC proper over the weekend.
Tirico served as a studio host and contributor for NBC's broadcasts of the 2016 Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro in August. Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated suggested that Tirico could potentially succeed Bob Costas as the primetime host of NBC's Olympics coverage. NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus explained following the 2014 Winter Olympics that the division had begun to "think about what life after Bob might be, whether post-Rio, post-Pyeongchang, post-Tokyo, whenever he does not want to do it anymore." Deitsch also felt that Tirico's experience in radio could allow him to contribute to the NBC Sports Radio network.
Sports Business Journal initially reported that Tirico would serve as NBC's lead play-by-play announcer for Thursday Night Football (which was expanding to NBC during the upcoming season), and was likely to be a future successor to Al Michaels. The NFL later stated that its contract with NBC required that the network use its lead play-by-play commentator for all primetime broadcasts. In the meantime, Tirico called the two preseason games allocated to NBC, and was placed on play-by-play for NBC's first three Notre Dame college football games to fill in for Dan Hicks, due to Hicks' conflicts with his lead play-by-play role on NBC's golf coverage, including the 2016 Ryder Cup. Tirico would join Hicks to host Sunday coverage of the event.
Tirico was assigned to two late-season games in the Thursday Night Football package produced for NFL Network, held on a Saturday and Christmas Sunday respectively, with Doug Flutie and Tony Dungy. In November 2016, NBC announced that Tirico would perform play-by-play with Cris Collinsworth on three Sunday Night Football games (including the Thanksgiving primetime game) and one Thursday Night Football game, filling in for Al Michaels. Michaels had requested time off due to NBC's increased NFL workload.
On February 9, 2017, Bob Costas announced that he would be retiring as the primetime host of NBC's coverage of the Olympics, and that Tirico would replace him beginning at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Tirico also replaced Costas as studio host for NBC's NFL coverage and Football Night in America.
On May 31, 2017, it was announced that Mike Tirico would permanently replace Al Michaels as the play-by-play commentator for all of NBC's Thursday Night Football games. In 2017, Tirico took over the role of Tom Hammond in Triple Crown coverage, and succeeded Dan Hicks full-time as the play-by-play commentator for Notre Dame football.
In the 2018 season, after losing Thursday Night Football to Fox, Tirico was assigned to NBC's Thanksgiving game, joined by his Football Night in America colleagues Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison. He also called two NFL Network Special games in December.
On February 20, 2019, Tirico called his first NHL game on NBCSN's Wednesday Night Hockey, between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, joined by Eddie Olczyk on color commentator and Brian Boucher as the "Inside-the-Glass" reporter. Although he has served as studio host for selected NHL broadcasts, this marked his first broadcast as commentator. His performance was well-received by viewers and sportswriters.
Tirico has been paired in the college football booth with Tim Brant, Terry Bowden, Mike Gottfried, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and David Norrie. His partners in NBA coverage have included Tom Tolbert, Hubie Brown, and Greg Anthony. His color commentators for golf coverage were Curtis Strange, Ian Baker-Finch, Nick Faldo, and Paul Azinger. He has worked with Len Elmore on college basketball coverage. Tirico worked with Jon Gruden on NFL Monday Night Football and also the Outback Bowl (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) and Orange Bowl (2011 and 2012).
Tirico hosted his first show from WAER radio in Syracuse, the station where he started his sports broadcasting career, on the campus of Syracuse University. Fellow Orange alum Bob Costas was his first guest. On September 20, 2007, Tirico began hosting the short-lived The Mike Tirico Show on ESPN Radio with co-host Scott Van Pelt (later renamed Tirico &Van Pelt in May 2008), replacing Dan Patrick in its previous timeslot. On May 19, 2009, Tirico announced he would be leaving the show to focus more on his television duties; the show would carry on as The Scott Van Pelt Show, with Ryen Russillo becoming the new co-host.
Sexual harassment controversyEdit
Tirico's period at ESPN was not without controversy. Two books about the network, ESPN: The Uncensored History (2000) by former New York Times sportswriter Michael Freeman and 2011's These Guys Have All the Fun (by Washington Post writers James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales), recount allegations of sexual harassment. Tirico, for example, was suspended by the network for three months in 1992 for multiple incidents involving attempted groping, sexual solicitation, and stalking of female co-workers.
Following the ouster of NBC colleague Matt Lauer in late 2017 over sexual misconduct, along with other high-profile names in the media industry, the network indicated it knew of Tirico's past when it hired him from ESPN and received assurances from Tirico that he had changed. Thus NBC has no intention of replacing him on Olympics coverage. According to John Wildhack, a former ESPN executive who is now the athletics director at Syracuse, "That happened well over two decades ago and Mike has been nothing but the consummate professional (since)."
Tirico grew up in Queens, New York, and graduated from Bayside High School and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Tirico and his wife, Debbie, have two children. The Tiricos have lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1999.
Despite his dark skin and non-white features, Tirico claims he is not African American. He has stated that he’s seen pictures of his father and immediate family, all of whom are white. "The only contact I had growing up was with my mom’s side of the family. And they are all as white as the refrigerator I’m standing in front of right now." In regard to a genealogical test to see if he has a black ancestor, he said "Yeah. I’d like to find out the truth at some point, so I can answer questions for my kids", but made it clear he does not feel any urgency.
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-  Archived March 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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-  Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
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- Rosenthal, Phil. "Mike Tirico takes over as NBC's Notre Dame football announcer". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
- "Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison to call Thanksgiving Falcons-Saints game". Awful Announcing. 2018-11-15. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- "NBC to use studio personnel to announce Thanksgiving game". USA Today. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- "NFL Network sets Week 15 and 16 broadcast teams". Awful Announcing. 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- "NBC's Mike Tirico, Ann Arbor resident, will call first NHL game on Feb. 20 in Detroit". Detroit News. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- "With video: Mike Tirico earns rave reviews for NHL debut at LCA". Detroit News. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
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-  Archived June 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
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- Miller, Joshua Rhett (2017-12-06). "NBC: Mike Tirico's dodgy past won't cost him top Olympic gig". New York Post. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
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- Carroll, Lloyd (May 28, 2009). "Coming up next in TV land". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Baumgardner, Nick (October 7, 2011). "Ann Arbor's Mike Tirico gets to introduce the Lions to America on 'Monday Night Football'". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- "World Cup Anchor Mike Tirico's Bizarre History: Reports of Stalking and Sexual Harassment". The Daily Beast. July 17, 2014.
- "Wait, NBC Sports Announcer Mike Tirico Isn't Black? The Root". July 17, 2017.