NFL Network has a new announcing team for its prime time regular-season games, with Brad Nessler handling the play-by-play and Mike Mayock as the color commentator.
Although NFL Network hasn’t formally announced the pairing, Richard Deitsch of SI.com reports that the decision has been made.
The promotion of Mayock was expected and, frankly, overdue: He’s been the best analyst on NFL Network for years, and his presence in the booth represents a major improvement over last year’s commentators, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen.
The decision to put Nessler, who also calls college football for ESPN, in the play-by-play chair is something of a surprise. He replaces Bob Papa, who had been with NFL Network the last two years. Prior to that NFL Network had Bryant Gumbel in the play-by-play role.
Gus Johnson had also been considered for the play-by-play role. After the decision to go to Mayock was made, Papa was told to re-audition for his old job, and apparently NFL Network thought Nessler was a better fit with Mayock.
Mayock and Nessler will debut on Thursday, November 10, when the Raiders play the Chargers in San Diego.
UPDATE: NFL Network has now announced the move.
“My favorite aspect of this industry is to do live games,” Mayock said in NFL Network’s statement. “You are able to get up close to the coaches and players and the environment is electric. To have the opportunity to call NFL games in primetime on NFL Network is like a dream come true.”
Added Nessler, “The NFL has always been a big part of my life and my career. To join NFL Network and the great team they’ve assembled is an honor. Primetime football on Thursday nights is an event. It’s an exciting new challenge and I can’t wait to be part of it all.”