Al Michaels on Bob Costas: Viewers ‘Don’t Want to Be Lectured To’

by Andrew Johnson

The only point of injecting political commentary into football broadcasts to “piss [the fans] off,” says Sunday Night Football play-by-play man Al Michaels, commenting on his NBC Sports colleague Bob Costas’s new habit of offering commentary during halftime broadcasts.

Over the past few seasons, Costas has used his halftime soliloquies to tackle various political or cultural issues, including gun control and the name of the Washington Redskins.

“You should have seen Twitter on Bob that night, but that’s a whole other story,” he told the Hollywood Reporter when asked about the name controversy. “Our audience wants to watch a football game, and all you really do to fans when they’re watching the game, if you go in that direction, is piss ’em off. They don’t want to be lectured to — period.”

On whether he was surprised that the Redskins controversy has gotten so big, Michaels said, “You know how things go in this world right now: Something gets out there, and . . .”

Last year, Costas called the team’s name “an insult, a slur” during a halftime disquisition on the issue. And following the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher in 2012, Costas said that the United States’ “gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy.”