The NFL and Amazon Prime teamed up in 2022 to provide a revamped Thursday Night Football experience moving away from coverage on NFL Network. Heading into the 2023 NFL season, who are the Amazon NFL announcers? The newly announced partnership slightly rocked the broadcasting world as Amazon poached talent from other networks.
Who Are the Amazon NFL Announcers?
The in-game crew is where Amazon did the most damage to other networks. Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit headline the star-studded staff for the Thursday Night Football Amazon NFL announcers. They will join forces with former ESPN college football reporter Kaylee Hartung. Here’s a closer look at what they have all done before joining the Amazon crew.
Al Michaels | Play-By-Play Announcer
Michaels has been on sports television since 1978 with quite an impressive résumé. From 1976-2006, Michaels was a fixture on ABC Sports for three decades, calling “The Miracle on Ice,” a handful of World Series, Monday Night Football, and some work in the NBA. After Monday Night Football moved from ABC to ESPN, the status of Michaels’ position was unclear.
Michaels is the only commentator to lend his vocal tones to the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, and Stanley Cup. Michaels has raised the bar in announcing and has secured legendary status in the sports world.
While he originally intended to stay on the MNF broadcast, John Madden’s move to Sunday Night Football on NBC swayed him to make a move. In a deal known as the “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit trade,” ABC granted Michaels the right to join NBC in exchange for a few rights, most notably Disney’s Oswald character that Walt Disney lost in the 1920s. From 2006 to 2021, Michaels served as the play-by-play announcer for NBC.
He is tied with Pat Summerall for the most play-by-play calls in the Super Bowl, a five-time Sports Emmy award winner, and a National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame member.
Kirk Herbstreit | Color Commentator
A former Ohio State QB, Herbstreit has become one of the most recognizable names in college football. Alongside his new duties as one of the Amazon NFL announcers, he’s an ESPN College GameDay analyst and provides color commentary for CFB games broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.
Herbstreit is one of the most acclaimed color commentators in football history. Herbstreit has 14 Emmys to his name, and the duo of Michaels and Herbsteit rivals any production value in football.
Joining ESPN back in 1996, Herbstreit immediately joined the GameDay crew as an analyst. The move to color commentating NFL football should not be difficult as he currently serves as the analyst for ABC’s prime-time Saturday college football games alongside colleague Chris Fowler.
Herbstreit has also been on the call for the NFL’s Monday Night doubleheaders the past two seasons. Like his cohost, Herbstreit has five Sports Emmys and was the voice of the in-game commentator for EA Sports’ NCAA Football.
Kaylee Hartung | Sideline Reporter
Hartung has bounced around the broadcasting world in various roles. After graduating from Washington and Lee University, she was a reporter at CBSNews.com daily on “Washington Unplugged.”
Hartung also worked with ESPN, mainly covering college football for the SECNetwork. CNN hired Hartung in 2017, but she left in 2019 to join ABC News as a correspondent. Her addition to the Amazon NFL announcing cast ends her five-year sports broadcasting hiatus.
Hartung cut her teeth as the contributing correspondent for NBC’s Today Show. She also took on high-profile roles with ABC’s Good Morning America, Nightline, and World News Tonight with David Muir.
Who Are the Amazon NFL Halftime Commentators?
Now that you know the in-game announcers, who is taking care of the coverage before the game, at halftime, and postgame coverage?
Amazon has assembled a five-person crew to take on these duties. The show was supposed to feature six people, but Aqib Talib was forced to step away while taking care of a family issue. Here’s a look at each member of Amazon’s halftime commentators.
Charissa Thompson | Host
Charissa Thompson started her sports broadcasting career in 2007 when she joined the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports Net. In 2008, she completed her first run as an NFL sideline reporter.
Thompson joined ESPN in 2011, where she cohosted a show with Michael Smith called “Numbers Never Lie.” She would also fill in for hosting duties on SportsNation and First Take. Following Michelle Beadle’s move to NBC, Thompson would take over hosting duties for SportsNation.
Thompson would rejoin Fox Sports for the launch of FS1 in 2013 as the host of Fox Sports Live. Fox also gave her duties as a presenter for Fox NFL Kickoff.
Tony Gonzalez | Analyst
A 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Gonzalez is considered by many to be one of the greatest NFL tight ends of all time. He was a six-time first-team All-Pro and 14-time Pro Bowler, the most for a TE and the second-most in league history.
Gonzalez’s iron-man status solidified his impressive career — playing 270 of 272 games. He currently holds NFL records for the most career receiving yards (15,127) and most career receptions for a tight end (1,325).
Following his retirement in 2013, Gonzalez joined NFL Today, CBS’ NFL pregame show. In 2017, Gonzalez moved from CBS to Fox’s NFL pregame show. He left the show in June 2021 to focus on other TV and film projects before joining Amazon in 2022.
Gonzalez has earned acclaim for his work off the field, earning a 2020 Sports Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Studio Show-Weekly.”
Richard Sherman | Analyst
Richard Sherman played college football at Stanford and started as a wide receiver. Following a season-ending knee injury in 2008, he switched to cornerback, making 112 tackles and intercepting six passes over the next two years.
The Seattle Seahawks drafted Sherman in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He would become one of the leaders of the “Legion of Boom” and helped push Seattle to its Super Bowl 48 victory.
MORE: 2023 NFL Schedule
Sherman played his final seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before joining Tom Brady for one final season in Tampa Bay.
Sherman left the NFL after the 2021 season but clarified he had not officially retired. He has been an active writer at The Players’ Tribune and was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 15. Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime will be the first broadcasting experience for Sherman.
Ryan Fitzpatrick | Analyst
A Harvard alum and former QB for the Ivy League football team, Ryan Fitzpatrick was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 2005 NFL Draft. During his 16-year career, Fitzpatrick played for nine different NFL franchises. The longest of his stops was in Buffalo from 2009-2012. However, his only winning seasons were in 2015 with the New York Jets and 2020 with the Miami Dolphins.
Fitzpatrick became the stop-gap option for many teams as a boom-or-bust field general. He was never afraid to sling the ball downfield, but the results were not always pretty. This reputation earned him the nicknames “Fitzmagic” and “Fitztragic.”
Fitzpatrick has the most career passing yards and touchdowns among NFL QBs without a playoff appearance. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in three consecutive games and also carries the distinction of starting for nine NFL franchises, which remains a record.
Andrew Whitworth | Analyst
Another recently retired player, Andrew Whitworth ended his 16-year NFL career following his Super Bowl 51 victory and winning the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, the former LSU Tiger spent his first eleven seasons in Ohio. Whitworth is the oldest offensive lineman to play and win a Super Bowl. He’s also the oldest tackle to play an NFL game.
Whitworth will transition immediately from the NFL to NFL broadcasting with his new gig on Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football coverage.