Collinsworth to replace Madden on NBC

Cris Collinsworth will take over for the now retired John Madden in the broadcast booth for Sunday Night Football games.

Cris CollinsworthCollinsworth had the role before but never got to perform.

The former Cincinnati Bengals receiver, who got his TV break working NFL games not deemed worthy of airing in much of the USA, had worked his way up to lead analyst on Fox until NBC lured him back to work games on TV’s most-watched night. NBC’s Sunday night games would supplant Monday Night Football as the NFL’s marquee prime-time package.

Collinsworth sat out the 2005 season to wait for NBC’s 2006 kickoff. When Madden became available, a prospect no network has been known to resist, NBC suggested Collinsworth could still work the games — but doing play-by-play.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said Thursday that he didn’t want to talk about the analyst who would replace the only announcer to call Super Bowls on all four networks: “I just want to declare this ‘Celebrate John Madden Week.’ ” But then, Collinsworth is used to waiting.

Collinsworth is pretty solid as an analyst, but he can be hit and miss calling games. He has the tendency to be an obvious-stator, but as he gains more confidence and experience I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Hey, at least it’s not Bryant Gumbel.

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