ESPN’s Mike Tirico on the Super Bowl and His Personal Style
Mike Tirico knows a thing or two about sportscasting. He’s been working at ESPN since 1991, and has been a play-by-play commentator for the channel’s Monday Night Football games since 2006 — in addition to manning the booth at basketball games, golf championships and tennis tournaments. We get his thoughts on this weekend’s Super Bowl, his prolific career and how it feels to wear Brooks Brothers in the booth.
BB: What are you most looking forward to seeing this year as the Panthers face the Broncos?
Mike: Can Carolina get off to the great early start they have enjoyed in their first two playoff games? If they do that I think they will win; if not it will make for an exciting game.
BB: With teams of this caliber, does the losing team ever just have a bad game or do they simply get outplayed?
Mike: They have bad days–we all do. I think often it is how one side of the ball matches up against the other. We too often look at strength against strength or compare the quarterbacks to each other. Comparisons of Peyton Manning vs. Cam Newton are meaningless in this game; it is about how each will do against the opposing defense. If one of the QB’s has a bad day it will certainly change the outcome of the game.
On the job, it can be repetitive with a jacket and tie, so I would say the neckwear is where your personal style touch is the most present
BB: What’s been the most memorable Super Bowl for you thus far?
Mike: I have been attending the Super Bowl for most of the last 25 years, and I would say last year’s has to be right up there as a game that had everything. Close and well played for the entire game.
BB: Which team in the NFL do you think has the most loyal fans?
Mike: Each fan base has such a great following in its own way. The tradition of Green Bay, the passion of New England, the pride of Pittsburgh–you can truly go on and on. For loyalty I will lean toward the fans in Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit. Their teams have not had the best of times over the last 15 years, yet their enthusiasm and optimism is still apparent.
BB: What do you think will be the biggest story from football in the coming off-season?
Mike: Peyton Manning’s future–will one of the best to ever play retire after this season? What is a catch? Such controversy over the season, I promise to make it simple: if the ball touches the ground (no matter how much control you have of it) it is not a catch. Second, if you do catch it, after you get two feet (or one body part) down, then once you start to do anything else, it is a reception.
BB: Who has been your favorite player to interview?
Mike: Too many to pick just one; it is often the interior linemen. We don’t hear from them often, but many times they are the most interesting players to speak with. Centers particularly are usually intelligent, football savvy and know all the facets of the game.
BB: What’s the game you most enjoyed announcing?
Mike: I would say in my 10 years of working Monday Night Football the game I enjoyed calling the most was last year’s Wild Card game between Carolina and Arizona. To be a part of the first NFL playoff game in ESPN’s history was a thrill, even if the game was not that memorable. There was a great sense of accomplishment for our team and those who worked the NFL on the network before to see one of these post-season games on our air.
BB: Of course we have to ask you about your personal style. What is the first Brooks Brothers item you ever wore? What’s been your favorite look from this past season hosting MNF? How would you describe your personal style on the job? How about your preferred off-duty style?
Mike: I remember early in my career shopping at Brooks Brothers for ties and other accessories but have especially enjoyed wearing the Brooks Brothers line of clothing over the last three seasons. The Brooks Brothers suits speak for themselves over many years, but this year I enjoyed mixing it up a bit with more sport jackets and trousers. Our stylist selected a black cashmere jacket that is a personal favorite.
On the job, it can be repetitive with a jacket and tie, so I would say the neckwear is where your personal style touch is the most present, so I enjoy adding some highlights and volume with the variety of Brooks Brothers ties we get to choose from.
Away from work you can usually find me in a pair of jeans and a sweater during the cooler months, some golf shorts and dressing for if not playing on the links come spring and summer.