NEW YORK -- Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann are reuniting on television on NBC's Sunday night NFL coverage.
The network announced Monday that it had hired Patrick, hoping the recapture the chemistry that hooked viewers to ESPN's "SportsCenter" during the pair's run from 1992-97.
"It was seamless. We never tried to understand why it worked," Patrick said on a conference call. "It just did."
Patrick joins the returning cast of NBC's studio show that includes Olbermann and host Bob Costas. Patrick said the idea originated in casual conversations with Costas, some of whose highlight duties he will take.
Patrick's discussions with NBC initially took place last summer. But his then-employer, ESPN, invoked a clause in Patrick's contract and barred him from covering the NFL or Olympics on TV for a year, said NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol.
Since leaving ESPN in August, Patrick has hosted a radio show and written for Sports Illustrated.
Patrick will work Super Bowls that NBC broadcasts and will participate in the network's Olympic coverage starting with the Winter Games in 2010.
Olbermann recalled that their old SportsCenter shows were an "attempt by him to crack me up or by me to crack him up."
"As long as we kept that undercurrent going," Olbermann said, "we knew it would be entertaining for the audience."