NFL Network turns to Nessler, Mayock for new two-man booth
Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock will call Thursday night games on NFL Network
They replace Matt Millen and Joe Theismann, who were polarizing figures
Nessler is expected to continue calling college football games for ESPN
The NFL Network has a new announcing team for its game coverage.
SI.com has learned that Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock will call the network's eight-game Thursday Night Football package. SI.com reported last month that Mayock had been tapped to replace analysts Matt Millen and Joe Theismann on the broadcast. Nessler, the longtime ESPN announcer, will be the play-by-play voice of the new two-person team.
An NFL Network spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by SI.com.
Mayock is one of the rising stars in sports broadcasting and amplified that standing with another terrific performance during this year's NFL draft coverage. Last year he replaced Pat Haden as the analyst for NBC's Notre Dame football coverage. He also served alongside Tom Hammond as the analyst on NBC's coverage of the wild-card playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks last season.
Nessler has worked for ESPN since 1992, most notably calling college football and college basketball games for ABC and ESPN. He and partner Todd Blackledge were assigned the ESPN Saturday prime time college football telecast last season and called Ohio State's win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl this January. It is expected Nessler will continue to have a role on ESPN's college football coverage.
As for his NFL experience, Nessler served as the lead announcer on the back end of Monday Night Football doubleheaders in 2006 and 2010. He served as the radio play-by-play man for the Falcons from 1982-88 and called Vikings games on the radio the following season.
Since grabbing a share of the NFL's game package, NFL Network has gone through a number of announcing teams for its Thursday Night Football program. HBO's Bryant Gumbel was the network's first play-by-play announcer and lasted two seasons before leaving in 2008. He was replaced by Bob Papa, the voice of the New York Giants. Both Papa and Theismann are expected to continue in some role with the NFL Network. SI.com and other outlets reported that the NFL Network considered Gus Johnson for the play-by-play role, but the network ultimately opted for Nessler. Both Millen and Theismann were polarizing figures, often drawing the ire of fans on Twitter and other social media outlets.
Nessler and Mayock will make their debut Nov. 10 with coverage of the Raiders-Chargers game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Jets meet the Broncos in Denver the following week followed by a Thanksgiving night broadcast featuring the 49ers at the Ravens. The network has a potential ratings winner late in the year when Dallas plays at Tampa Bay on Saturday Dec. 17.
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