Maybe the complete depth and breadth of the Rams’ success this past 2017 season could not be truly actualized and validated with Los Angeles TV market until the soundtrack of an Al Michaels’ call on an NBC prime-time broadcast occurred Saturday night.
So it took getting the calendar to turn over to ’18, and see an actual Coliseum game with the lights on after dark, to convince some of us this was no Hollywood mirage.
A miracle? Only Michaels is legally allowed to throw out that adjective according to the Sports TV Standards and Practices.
Some eight hours before Saturday’s kickoff, Michaels was relaxing in a Banana Republic-chic gray T-shirt with matching sweat pants as he and the NBC crew finished off a production meeting at the five-star, $700-plus-a-night Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. They were shuttled off for the final half-hour drive up the 10 Freeway to get cozy in the two-star, facelift-ready Coliseum, which Michaels found some irony in that these L.A. Rams were about to have their first real meaningful game at an historic facility they purposefully abandoned more than 20 years ago because it wasn’t up to their standards.
Rather than risk getting stuck along the 12-mile drive to Exposition Park from his home in Brentwood, Michaels took his briefcase of notes with him to meetings and dinner at the hotel on Friday night. He also was able to bring his wife, Linda, along for the ride and join her for a cup of coffee at the hotel restaurant, as they awaited to see their son-in-law and grandson later at the game.
“It’s new and different – something that’s never happened to me in 32 years of prime-time NFL – so it’s best to make this like a regular game,” said Michaels. “I was just trying to figure out how to put in for mileage. I have had to do that in a few decades.”
As some of the NBC NFL telecasts come on at 8:30 p.m. Sunday nights East Coast time, Micheals says Saturday’s Rams-Falcons telecast at 5:15 p.m. local time “was almost like a day game for us. On a regular Sunday, we could have our early meeting, then it’s watching all the network pregame shows, and their games, and we don’t come on the air until 11 hours later. How many jobs are you expected to be at your best 11 hours after you start your day?”
AN L.A. REUNION
In more than one case of history circling back on itself, Michaels is somewhat astonished that he had never called a L.A. Rams game from the Coliseum in all the past three-plus decades he…