Al Michaels will turn 77 during the NFL season and has a capable successor in the wings for NBC’s "Sunday Night Football" play-by-play job in Mike Tirico, who has filled in at times for him.
That, along with the fact that NBC will carry the next Super Bowl from Michaels’ adopted home area in Southern California, has led to speculation he might choose to go out on top and retire or severely cut back after this season.
Michaels is aware of such chatter. But he said on a season preview call with reporters on Wednesday that he has not made any decision about his future.
"Not really, because it's a long season," Michaels said. "I know there's a lot of stuff that's already been out there, but frankly, I have chosen to just concentrate on what's directly ahead of me right now. I’ve been doing this for a long time, still love doing it. I don't know what the future holds. And that is the truth.
"But as we go through the season and we get toward the end of it, I think there will be a little bit more clarity and I’ll see how I feel about certain things. But all I know is I just want to make this, which is Year 36 for me on prime time football, the best. Then we'll see what happens."
Michaels widely is regarded as still being in top professional form.
"I think if all of a sudden it just doesn't click for me the way it has, I should be the first to know," he said. "Believe me, I'm not going to just play out some sort of a string to set some sort of a record or be a burden on anybody . . At this particular point, I feel good. I feel good physically. I feel good mentally and, hopefully, that continues.
"You never know what's around the corner, but for right now, I feel great."
Michaels spent his early childhood in Brooklyn and, briefly, in North Bellmore before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager. He said the location of the Super Bowl in his adopted home will not factor in his decision.
"Not at all," he said. "It’s an irony that it comes at a time in my hometown where I'm winding down to a degree and I don’t know much longer I’ll go on.
"But there's no sense as far as I am concerned to put a coda on some part of my career just because the Super Bowl is in Los Angeles. I'm just thrilled that I'll be able to take an Uber home. It’s as simple as that."