SI.com writer Richard Deitsch broke the news today that NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock will join the NFL Network\’s broadcast team for its eight-game Thursday Night Football package this upcoming season. Assuming we have one. Mayock will reportedly replace Matt Millen and Joe Theismann on the broadcast and the speculation is also building that Gus Johnson will also be added as the play-by-play man in the booth.
Mayock is well known for his NFL draft analyst and was also the analyst on NBC\’s Notre Dame football coverage last season. Johnson is a cult hero of sorts for his play-by-play calls of numerous NCAA basketball games as well as his work already calling games weekly on the NFL schedule. There are none more memorable than the call of the last second Hail Mary pass to Mike Thomas from David Garrard against the Texans just last season. (see video below) His excitement is infectious in nature.
Hopefully if they do choose bring Johnson on board they include his broadcast partner and ex-player Steve Tasker as the two work very well together. In addition, they should consider Lindsay Soto as a sideline reporter. Soto knows the game, is very professional and is very easy on the eyes. The best bi-product of this news is that we no longer will be forced to listen to Millen and Theismann every week. I do not hate current play-by-play man Bob Papa, but do think that Johnson would be an upgrade.
Perhaps this news is an early apology from the NFL of sorts for the current lockout as many have speculated that game viewer ship next season will down because of it. Most team fans could care less about the specifics of the labor situation and just want to watch the games. Hopefully the next piece of good news we get will be immediately after the draft as hopefully both sides can come to some sort of agreement and get on with free agency. There has not been much good news since the season has ended and every little bit of good news like this broadcast announcement sure brightens my day as an NFL fan. Hopefully they will have games to announce in 2011. As they say on television, stay tuned.