Marv Albert is returning to the NFL’s television booth this season, a fact that’s even a little surprising to him.
Speaking at CBS’ annual NFL media day Tuesday in New York, Albert said that “it kind of came from nowhere,” on being back on the gridiron. That doesn’t mean, however, that he is not excited for the new opportunity. “The packed houses and the huge TV ratings, its fun,” said Albert.
The idea came up, according to Albert, after the landmark TV deal between the NCAA, CBS and Turner that saw coverage of the Men’s Basketball Championship split up between the networks for the first time (CBS had held exclusive rights since 1991).
As part of the deal, Albert (who calls NBA games for TNT) worked games for the tournament, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus wanted to make him part of his network’s NFL team. “After the first weekend of games, I got a call saying [he] wanted to talk to me,” said Albert, who will still serve as TNT’s main play-by-play announcer for the NBA on Thursday nights, should this season be played.
Albert effectively replaces Gus Johnson, who left for Fox in May. He will team with former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon. “I just met him a couple of days ago, and we bonded,” said Albert.
This marks the first time Albert will call football games for TV since 1997 for NBC (when it had coverage of the AFC, which CBS took over in 1998), although he had been calling NFL for Westwood One Radio from 2002-2009.
The rest of CBS’ NFL broadcasting team remains status quo, as once again Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will partner up as the network’s #1 team. The rest of the teams in descending order are: Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf; Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts; Kevin Harlan/Solomon Wilcots; Bill Macatee/Steve Tasker; Spero Dedes/Steve Beurlein; and Don Criqui/Randy Cross (the Albert/Gannon duo is listed as the #4 announcing team).
James Brown will return as host for The NFL Today, the network’s pre- and post-game studio show. Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason and Shannon Sharpe will all return as analysts.
RELATED: CBS is Ready for Some Football