The NFL’s offseason has been a busy one for the sports media. If you’re an NFL fan and don’t know Kevin Burkhardt’s name, you will soon. Fox Sports tapped the play-by-play announcer to be its No. 1 voice at NFL games this season. Burkhardt replaces Joe Buck, who dated Troy Aikman in favor of a big ESPN contract.
Burkhardt has been a competent sportscaster for years, but his career hasn’t always been as glamorous as his current position. Let’s look at the brew of NFL advertisers this offseason as well as Burkhardt’s humble beginnings as a car dealership.
Fox Sports’ Joe Buck exit was the first domino to fall
Buck leaving Fox Sports paved the way for Burkhardt. Like Sports Illustrated reports, Troy Aikman’s contract was up this year. Aikman spoke with Amazon and ESPN about switching to their coverage and ultimately settled on ESPN.
Wanting to stick with his broadcast partner of more than 20 years, Buck spoke to ESPN and Fox and reached an agreement to exit his contract a year early. It put one of the best ad partnerships in sports on Monday night coverage.
Monday Night Football was the first game of the week for the NFL. This has changed in recent years as the game has lost importance in terms of the weekly schedule. Now Aikman and Buck can restore prestige to Monday nights.
This begs the question: how is Fox Sports recovering from the loss of its two biggest football announcers? They do this by talking to a trusted and experienced person they already have within the network.
Kevin Burkhardt brings extensive sports broadcasting experience to his new role
Today, Burkhardt is one of Fox’s most talented broadcasters, working across multiple sports. According to New York Post, however, his career was not always so successful. Twenty years ago, Burkhardt was a used car salesman trying to break into the world of sports broadcasting.
The 48-year-old graduated from college in 1997 and served as a minor league baseball announcer for four seasons. He eventually made his way to New York talk radio station WCBS, where he worked part-time while selling cars. In 2013, Fox Sports hired him.
Burkhardt quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the No. 2 play-by-play guy for Fox’s NFL coverage alongside the excellent Greg Olsen on the color. He also hosted Fox playoffs and MLB World Series coverage.
Buck and Burkhardt moving are two of many moves that have taken place this offseason with NFL broadcast partners.
The NFL’s Top Announcement Teams Have Had a Whole Shakeup
While there have been a lot of player moves in the NFL this offseason, the top announce teams have also changed significantly. Below is a brief overview of how the top teams will look heading into this season:
- As noted above, Buck and Aikman will occupy the ESPN Monday Night Football booth.
- Burkhardt will take the No. 1 spot at Fox, with Tom Brady set to join him once he retires. Brady reportedly signed a $375 million deal with the network. It will take effect once he hangs up his cleats.
- Leaving NBC’s Sunday Night Football duties, Al Michaels will join Kirk Herbstreit in calling Thursday Night Football games for Amazon Prime.
- After signing a big contract with NBC several years ago, Mike Tirico will finally take on play-by-play duties on Sunday Night Football. Cris Collinsworth will continue in her role as color commentator.
- The only network without a major change at the top of its broadcast teams? CBS. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will continue to call major Sunday games on this network.
For Burkhardt, he’s stepping into big shoes after a busy offseason. But if his past work is any indication, he’ll be more than capable of filling the role.
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