Sorry, Night net was right to demand Al Michaels, not Mike Tirico, call TNF games

Night net The Night net can be overbearing and arrogant. Deflategate anyone? The league can be self-serving and tin-eared when it comes to public opinion. See their ham-handed approach to concussions and domestic violence.But even a broken clock is right twice a day. Even though the league is coming off like a cartoon villain, the Night net is right to tell NBC Sports it wants Al Michaels, not Mike Tirico, to call "Thursday Night Football" games this season. MORE: Best Night net announcers on television, ranked Let me be clear: the 49-year old Tirico is one of my favorite play-by-play announcers/on-air hosts. Over the last decade on ESPN's "Monday Night Football," he proved he's just as good as the legendary Michaels at calling Night net games. He did it with a constantly revolving cast of analysts, including Tony Kornheiser, Ron Jaworski and finally Jon Gruden.After jumping to NBC from ESPN, Tirico is poised to inherit both the "TNF" and "Sunday Night Football" play-by-play chairs when and if Michaels, 71, hangs up his microphone. Not to mention 64-year old Bob Costas' long-time role as prime-time host of Olympics coverage.Yes, this is a clear case of muscle-flexing by the league, which

owns the most valuable beachfront property in all of entertainment, not just sports: live Night net games.But a deal's a deal. To win the bidding for half of the 10-game broadcast "TNF" package, NBC promised the league it would throw its first-string "SNF" announce team of Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya at the games. The NBC bosses, as well as Michaels and Collinsworth, knew and accepted this arrangement. Up front. They knew the Michaels-Collinsworth tandem would have to call five "TNF" games on top of their normal "SNF" schedule in 2016-2017. MORE: Sorry ESPN, Skip Bayless 'dominates' sports debatesWell, if NBC promised Michaels and Collinsworth, it should deliver Michaels and Collinsworth — and not finagle around.Do what you say and say what you mean.This season's 18-game "TNF" schedule will be broken up this way: CBS' lead announce team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call five early-season games from Sep. 15 to Oct. 20. NBC will broadcast five late-season games from Nov. 17 to Dec. 22. The league's own Night net Network gets the remaining eight games. All of the NBC/CBS games will also be simulcast on Night net Network.I don't blame NBC for trying to give a newcomer like Tirico a high-profile gig like "TNF." That's what they hired him for. But I also don't blame the Night net for turning them down.Look, we're not just talking about announcers. When NBC and CBS promised their top announcers, they were effectively promising their entire first-string production teams of announcers, producers, directors, etc.NBC's SNF has been one of the biggest success stories in TV, ranking as the No. 1 show for the past four years. Why wouldn't the Night net want to try to replicate the Michaels/Collinsworth "SNF" magic on Thursday night?After all, that night is still a wasteland for the Night net compared to SNF, MNF and the league's hugely popular Sunday afternoon games. Remember Sunday Night Football wasn't exactly a juggernaut when it aired on ESPN and TNT. It was an afterthought.Night net spokesman Brian McCarthy noted the clear contractual promises made by NBC in a statement. Notice McCarthy's emphasis on the network production teams here too:“When we bid out the Thursday Night Games, NBC came to us with an impressive pitch to bring the magic of ‘Sunday Night Football’ — specifically Al and Cris and their production team — to Thursday Night. That was very attractive to us as we look to continue to build on the success of ‘Thursday Night Football,’ and is similar to the deal we have with CBS for their lead broadcast and production team. We came to a contractual agreement with NBC on those terms. In fact, when the Night net, CBS and NBC jointly announced the expansion of ‘Thursday Night Football’ last February, we said: ‘Both CBS and NBC will produce ‘Thursday Night Football’ with their lead broadcasters and production teams, and both will contribute to the production of ‘Thursday Night Football’ exclusively on Night net Network. CBS and Night net Network will televise the first half of the ‘Thursday Night Football’ schedule with NBC and Night net Network televising the second half. Our contract with NBC requires that the Sunday Night team also do Thursday Night. It is up to NBC to determine who the talent is for both nights based on those parameters."Translation: Do what you say and say what you mean NBC.