Mike Tirico

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Mike Tirico
Mike Tirico 2017.JPG
Tirico in 2017.
BornMichael Todd Tirico
(1966-12-13) December 13, 1966 (age 51)
Queens, New York
EducationSyracuse University
OccupationSports announcer
Years active1988–present
EmployerESPN (1991–2016)
NBC Sports (2016–present)
Spouse(s)Debbie Tirico (wife)

Michael Todd Tirico (/tɪˈrk/; 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.[1] Tirico has called a multitude of programming for ESPN/ABC, including NBA, college basketball, golf, and tennis. He was one of the anchors of ESPN's coverage of the FIFA World Cup along with Bob Ley.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] In August 2018, he was named the new studio host of NBC's Football Night in America, replacing Dan Patrick.[5]


ABC and ESPN (1991–2016)[edit]

Tirico joined ESPN in 1991 as a SportsCenter anchor,[6] after four years as Sports Director at CBS affiliate WTVH-TV in Syracuse, New York, during his undergraduate years at Syracuse University.[7] 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.[8] Tirico has handled the play-by-play for ESPN's Thursday night college football package (1997 to 2005),[9] college basketball coverage (1997 to 2002),[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

Tirico served as a studio host and contributor for NBC's broadcasts of the 2016 Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro in August.[11] 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.[14]

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.[14] The NFL later stated that its contract with NBC required that the network use its lead play-by-play commentator for all primetime broadcasts.[15] In the meantime, Tirico called the two preseason games allocated to NBC,[16] 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.[17][18]

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.[19] 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.[19][20]

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.[21][22]

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, due to the NFL having changed its stance on its previous requirement.[23] In 2017, Tirico took over the role of Tom Hammond in Triple Crown coverage,[24] and succeeded Dan Hicks full-time as the play-by-play commentator for Notre Dame football.[25]

NBC lost Thursday Night Football to Fox for the 2018 season. Tirico was assigned as commentator for NBC's Thanksgiving Day primetime game (this time, joined by his Football Night in America colleagues Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison), and was once-again assigned to two late-season Thursday Night Football games on Saturdays, alongside Kurt Warner.[26][27]

Broadcasting partners[edit]

Tirico has been paired in the college football booth with Tim Brant,[28] Terry Bowden,[29] Mike Gottfried,[30] Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and David Norrie. His partners in NBA coverage have included Tom Tolbert,[31] Hubie Brown, and Greg Anthony.[32] His color commentators for golf coverage were Curtis Strange,[33] Ian Baker-Finch,[34] Nick Faldo,[35] and Paul Azinger.[36] 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).

On April 21 and 22, 2007, he appeared as a guest host, filling in for Michael Wilbon, alongside Tony Kornheiser on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.[37]

Radio career[edit]

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 Mike Tirico Show on ESPN Radio from 1:00 to 3:00 pm weekdays (Eastern time). The show filled the empty seat left by Dan Patrick. During the spring of 2008, the title of The Mike Tirico Show, which featured Scott Van Pelt as a co-host, was changed to Tirico and Van Pelt. On May 19, 2009, Tirico announced he would be leaving the show to focus more on his television play-by-play duties, and the name of the show became The Scott Van Pelt Show.

Sexual harassment controversy[edit]

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.[38][39]

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.[40] 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)."[41]

Personal life[edit]

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.[42][43] Tirico and his wife Debbie have two children. The Tiricos have lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1999.[43]

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."[44] 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.[45]


  1. ^ "Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden duo to call Monday Night Football games in 2012". ESPN. February 17, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Mac Nwulu. "ESPN Hosts for FIFA World Cup in Brazil". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "NBC names Mike Tirico host of 2016 British Open coverage". Golf Digest. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  4. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/sports/mike-tirico-olympics-nbc-korea-race.html
  5. ^ https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/08/20/mike-tirico-taking-over-as-host-of-sunday-night-football/37544317/
  6. ^ [1] Archived March 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ [2] Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Mike Tirico's last day at ESPN is Thursday, 25 years to the day he joined the network". 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  9. ^ [3] Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "ESPN Sets Announcer Pairings for 2011-2012 College Basketball Season". Sportsmediajournal.com. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  11. ^ a b "Mike Tirico Set to Join NBC's Olympics Coverage". Variety. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Sportscaster Mike Tirico says goodbye to ESPN after 25 years". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  13. ^ "NBC names Mike Tirico host of 2016 British Open coverage". Golf Digest. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Deitsch, Richard. "For Mike Tirico, move to NBC should mean big money - and big opportunities". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  15. ^ "Al Michaels, not Mike Tirico, will be calling Thursday NFL games". New York Daily News. 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  16. ^ "Mike Tirico will be play-by-play voice for NBC's NFL preseason games". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  17. ^ "Media Circus: Mike Tirico on his future with NBC's NFL coverage". Si.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  18. ^ "NBC's Mike Tirico gets a first this weekend". USA Today. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Syracuse University alum Mike Tirico to call NFL games on NBC". Syracuse.com. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  20. ^ "Mike Tirico to replace Al Michaels on four NFL broadcasts on NBC". USA Today. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Bob Costas steps down as NBC host of Olympics; Mike Tirico to replace him". USA Today. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  22. ^ "Brennan: Bob Costas has been the face of the Olympics for Americans". USA Today. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Tirico To Call "Thursday Night Football" For NBC This Season". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  24. ^ "2017 Kentucky Derby: Mike Tirico succeeds Tom Hammond". NBC Sports. April 25, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  25. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Mike Tirico takes over as NBC's Notre Dame football announcer". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  26. ^ "Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison to call Thanksgiving Falcons-Saints game". Awful Announcing. 2018-11-15. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  27. ^ "NFL Network sets Week 15 and 16 broadcast teams". Awful Announcing. 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  28. ^ Farmer, Sam (2004-07-16). "Michaels Is Mr. Monday Night - Page 2 - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  29. ^ Marla Ridenour (2012-01-14). "Marla Ridenour: After time away in broadcasting, Zips coach Terry Bowden resumes his true calling - Top Stories". Ohio.com. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  30. ^ "ESPN has plenty on hand, little to say for Miami game - tribunedigital-baltimoresun". Articles.baltimoresun.com. 1994-10-10. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  31. ^ "The ABCs of ruining the NBA, Part II — Sports Media Watch". Sportsmediawatch.com. 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  32. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (2004-06-24). "He's ready to mock this draft - The Boston Globe". Articles.boston.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  33. ^ Scott, Jason (2005-01-02). "On the record with Mike Tirico". Michigangolf.com. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  34. ^ "Breaking, World, US & Local News - nydailynews.com - NY Daily News". New York: Articles.nydailynews.com. 2015-04-14. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  35. ^ "The 2011 Masters, TV Schedule: Nick Faldo, Jim Nantz, Mike Tirico Highlight ESPN's Friday Coverage - SB Nation Bay Area". Bayarea.sbnation.com. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  36. ^ [4] Archived June 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ McCormack, John. "PTI: Tirico speaks out". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  38. ^ "ESPN — Worldwide Leader in Sex". Detroit4lyfe.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  39. ^ "Here Are Those Tirico Stories We Hinted At Last Week". Deadspin. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ Bauder, David (2018-02-05). "NBC's Tirico set to fill Costas' shoes in Korea". Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  42. ^ Carroll, Lloyd (May 28, 2009). "Coming up next in TV land". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  43. ^ a b 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.
  44. ^ "World Cup Anchor Mike Tirico's Bizarre History: Reports of Stalking and Sexual Harassment". The Daily Beast. July 17, 2014.
  45. ^ "Wait, NBC Sports Announcer Mike Tirico Isn't Black? The Root". July 17, 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Al Michaels
Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer
Succeeded by
Sean McDonough
Preceded by
Bob Costas
American television prime time anchor, Winter Olympic Games