Through a variety of reports (and common sense), the new Sunday night football stand has been popping up for a while now.
The addition of Melissa Stark to replace the outgoing Michele Tafoya was the final piece of this particular puzzle, and today NBC made the news official with a statement. There are no surprises. As expected, in addition to Stark, it will be Mike Tirico who will finally take over play-by-play duties, alongside Cris Collinsworth.
From the NBC release:
Tirico and Collinsworth have teamed up to call 21 NFL games (19 regular season, two preseason) since Tirico joined NBC Sports in 2016. Stark, the newest member of the NBC Sports team, has served as a sideline reporter for ABC. Monday night football for three seasons (2000-02), and has been a host and reporter for NFL Network since 2011.
“Sunday night football is a viewing destination and we are thrilled to have Mike, Cris and Melissa call to action and tell the stories football fans have come to expect from prime time television’s #1 show,” said Pete Bevacquapresident of NBC Sports.
The trio will play their first game together at the prime-time Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, August 4 on NBC and Peacock. On Thursday, Sept. 8, Tirico, Collinsworth and Stark will call the NFL Kickoff Game on NBC and Peacock.
Tirico remains one of the most powerful and versatile sports broadcasters out there, and it will be a welcome addition to the world of primetime NFL calling. It has truly been a tumultuous offseason in the world of NFL television. The only top booth to stay the same is CBS, while FOX, NBC, and ESPN all saw big changes (or direct ports.) Plus, Amazon is building a new booth from the ground up and going with Al Michaels to direct it.
It is difficult to imagine a future year comparable to this in terms of turnover. Things will calm down now for a while, most likely, but activating NFL games this fall will be very different all around.