NBC turns Notre Dame football broadcasts into training ground

Jac Collinsworth (right) and Jason Garrett call Notre Dame football for NBC.

NBC Sports

You might find this hard to believe, but I went to Notre Dame football camp in the summer of 1988, before my freshman year of high school.

I swear to Touchdown Jesus. 

This Jewish kid and his close Catholic friend, whose family bled gold and blue, spent several days on campus, learning from the staff of former coach Lou Holtz. I remember then-defensive coordinator Barry Alvarez teaching me how to backpedal into pass coverage. Ironically, I was wearing a Wisconsin T-shirt, and he called me “Badger.” (He became Wisconsin’s coach two years later.)

We did the whole Notre Dame thing: Toured the locker room, tapped the “Play like a champion today” sign and stepped onto the field. Holtz even spoke to us and performed a trick in which he tore up a newspaper and magically put it back together. (It must be his only trick because he showed it to the current team last month.)

𝐋𝐞𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐝#GoIrish pic.twitter.com/3f65pXykxY

— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 17, 2022

My point is, Notre Dame football is special to me, even though I didn’t go to school there (I-L-L …). Naturally, the TV broadcasts are important to me. Since the Irish put their home games on NBC in 1991, fans have been blessed with some outstanding broadcasters: Dick Enberg, Tom Hammond, Don Criqui, Charlie Jones and Mike Tirico, to name a few.

Tirico’s Notre Dame days ended when he became the full-time play-by-play voice for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Rather than continue a lineage of proven, veteran announcers, NBC went the other direction, hiring 27-year-old Jac Collinsworth, the son of longtime “SNF” analyst Cris Collinsworth.

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That isn’t an accusation of nepotism. It’s a fact. So is that Jac graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 with a degree in film, television and theatre. It’s nice that NBC chose someone with Irish ties and promoted from within the network. Collinsworth has co-hosted “Football Night in America” since joining NBC in 2020, and he called USFL games for the network last spring.

But he doesn’t carry on the tradition, which makes me wonder just what NBC thinks of Notre Dame these days. The Irish still were basking in the golden glow of their 1988 national title when they agreed to a five-year, $38 million deal with NBC. They don’t carry the same heft they used to, but Notre Dame maintains a national following. Its games are a big deal and deserve a broadcast team worthy of them.

I gave Collinsworth and new analyst Jason Garrett, who replaced Drew …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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