Michaels, Theismann, Kolber, Tafoya to crew MNF
Monday Night Football will have a new home in 2006, but the faces on the telecast team will be familar to prime-time football.
Al Michaels is staying with Monday Night Football when it moves from ABC to ESPN for the 2006 NFL season, parting with John Madden after four seasons in the booth together.
Michaels, who will also appear on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL PrimeTime and SportsCenter, will be joined by analyst Joe Theismann in the booth, with Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya reporting from the sidelines.
"Monday Night Football and ESPN are the two biggest game changers in our industry in the last 30 years, and we have assembled a talent and production team that will reflect that," ESPN President George Bodenheimer said in the statement. "This team is a true collaboration of ESPN and ABC Sports, and clearly demonstrates the strength and promise of what our company can deliver."
Michaels has been the play-by-play man on Monday Night Football since 1986, the last three with Madden as analyst. After this season, Madden is moving to NBC, which is taking over the Sunday night time slot in 2006 for what the NFL considers its main prime-time package.
"I feel like I'm a creature of Monday night. I'm home and I'm staying home," said Michaels, who had been heavily pursued by NBC, but said he wanted to stay where he has worked for 29 years -- ABC and ESPN are both owned by the Disney Co.
"The three words 'Monday Night Football' resonate like no other," he said during a news conference Tuesday to announce the lineup.
Theismann, who led the Redskins to victory as quarterback in Super Bowl XVII, has been an NFL analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He had teamed with play-by-play man Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire on ABC's Sunday night games.
Kolber as been a sideline reporter for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 2001. Tafoya, who joined ESPN in 2000, was named the sideline reporter for ABC Sports' Monday Night Football prior to last season.
"This NFL team will be unsurpassed," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Production. "ESPN and ABC Sports NFL coverage has won the last two Sports Emmys for live event series, and this team positions us to take game coverage to an even higher level."
Shapiro said Maguire and Patrick are both expected to stay with ESPN. He said Maguire will be part of a two-hour Monday night pregame show to be hosted by Chris Berman, who has hosted the network's Sunday night "NFL Primetime."
In April, ESPN and the NFL reached an eight-year agreement to move the Monday night broadcasts to ESPN beginning with the 2006 season, concluding MNF's 36-year run on ABC after this upcoming season.
NBC, which had been without NFL football since losing its contract to CBS in 1997, announced Tuesday that Bob Costas will host its Sunday night pregame show.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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