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Al Michaels, left and Chris Collinsworth go sideways before a NFL game in September. (Duane Burleson / AP) Des Bieler…
We do not know if Al Michaels actually bet on Sunday night’s matchup between Chiefs and Bengals. But the veteran play-by-play man who shouted the game for NBC’s national audience, like heck sounded as he did – and not at all happy to lose his bet.
Michaels is well known for his on-air game references and he was on it again late in the fourth quarter of what would be a 45-10 Kansas City win. It is important to note that it was also the point of the moment in question and that the total score of the two sides increased to 55. It is very important to note that at the kickoff the over / under figure of the game had reached 56.5.
When the judges had driven quite easily into the ground, eventually they found themselves in front of a fourth and four games on the Cincinnati 5-yard line. If it were earlier in the game, even with the big lead, Kansas City would probably have chosen a field goal. But given that it was only 4:21 at the clock, the team took a more sporty approach and held its crime on the field.
Of course, it was not entirely the question that Chiefs Coach Andy Reid would call for a pass to the final zone given that he has generally kept his foot on the gas while allowing quarterback Patrick Mahomes to come to a record start this season. But it was more likely that Reid would call a running game, which he made on nine of the previous 11 games during the run. Michaels was in any case very interested in what was about to illuminate.
Believed that the fans in Kansas City roared for the sight of the crimes of the team who stayed in the field, Michaels began to say “and the crowd …” before analyst Cris Collinsworth interjected with “… Wanting Blood.”
“Yes, yes,” continued Michaels, “but I’m trying to do some math here.” After Collinsworth replied, “As always, dangerous” Michaels said, “You know what I’m thinking about.”
“56 and a half is a number that many fans are thinking of right now.”
Having said more or less that he was well aware that the fourth down game could determine if the game hit over, Michaels saw Mahome’s handball to back back Spencer Ware on a fair pedestrian sweep play to the left. The Bengals, who expected a run in that situation, were hardly cheated and stopped Ware before reaching the zone, leading to a less than exciting “hunh” from the advertiser.
As if making sure all frustrated players look at home knew that Michaels felt his pain, he squinted, took the breath in between his teeth and offered another “hunh”.
Of course, there was no chance of overpowering when Bengal got the ball back with plenty of time to control an otherwise pointless touchdown device. But Cincinnati replaced quarterback Andy Dalton with backup Jeff Driskel, giving the third-year-old his first NFL experience and signals that yes it was actually over.
For Michaels, it was just the latest example of his known awareness of such game factors in games as he covers, and a particularly insignificant one. In fairness, he was probably even more blatant two years ago when he noted a 31-17 points with 22 seconds left in a game between Packers and Lions that it was “just a little below where some would like to see this one wind up”.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford then raised a Hail Mary pass to the end zone, and when the ball was still in the air, Michaels said “hearts are turning around the country right now”. When the pass was connected to Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin and shot the score over a certain magic number, Michaels quipped, “Well, that’s overwhelming.”
“I’ve had a lot of fun with this over the years and came in a back door, a side door, no matter – different ways to use the English language – people know what I’m talking about,” Michaels said before this season began. “But in the past when I did, it was almost like the fans would think:” He’s not gonna do it, but it’s a little cool. “Now it will be out there.”
Fred Gaudelli, the executive producer of “Sunday Night Football” said at the time that “there will be no specific game announcements in our air this year”, but he added that “I’ve got a rascal in the late fourth quarter booth. “
This rascal appeared this week to delight those who like his so-so-so-beaten play references. And really, what more would he talk about at that moment in the game, his excitement over the upcoming debut of Jeff Driskel Experience?
Never change, Al.
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