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Al Michaels readies for kickoff

Over a career that has spanned six decades, Al Michaels has been on the air thousands of times and has always come across to millions of viewers with the coolest of demeanors intact.Michaels

Yet, he recalls a moment being on national television where he was a bundle of frayed nerves — an absolute wreck that left him a completely frazzled state.

The irony, however, is that there was no microphone in sight.

Michaels was playing golf with buddy and CBS chieftan Leslie Moonves at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, telecast by the Eye. The camera’s red light was directly on Michaels, who was simultaneously thinking about his shot while hoping not be utterly embarrassed if he happened to whiff at it. Michaels was so nervous, he could barely grip the club, having to eventually step away from ball and asking the crowd, “Anyone have a Valium”?

Nobody did, but the remark calmed Michaels’ nerves enough that he hit a beautiful shot.

Michaels, a member of Bel Air Country Club, is a passionate golfer and can be often be found on the course when he’s not in the NBC booth with Cris Collinsworth. There’s little doubt either of them will have time for a round this weekend as they will be calling the action for Sunday’s super-hyped Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

Michaels2The Brooklyn-born sports legend is associated with the NFL as much as Tom Brady, Buddy Ryan or the Lambeau Leap. He’s someone who has not only made a nice living from the game, but clearly loves the sport and gladly calls himself a rabid fan.

On the coaching front, he’s a big supporter of Bill Belichick, calls Tom Coughlin one of the best fourth quarter game strategists around and isn’t quite sure why Norv Turner is still with the Chargers.

As for this Sunday, by all accounts the Patriots-Giants revenge matchup looks to have the makings for a close affair. However, history tells us that might not necessarily be the case. Let the game begin.

“Just don’t let it be 21-0 in the second quarter,” Michaels said at a recent lunch.

He recalled announcing Super Bowl XXII, where the Doug Williams-led Washington Redskins went on an offensive blitzkrieg in the second quarter to ultimately defeat the Denver Broncos, 42-10. A compelling game, in a matter of minutes, became a bloodbath where viewers began tuning out in droves.

“What just happened?” a dazed Michaels remembers saying when the Redskins couldn’t be stopped by a porous Broncos defense.

Once this Super Bowl game ends — and clearly Michaels is hoping it goes down to the last second — he’ll flly back home to his home in Southern California, head to Staples Center to see his beloved L.A. Kings (he’s a longtime season ticket holder), get back on the golf course, find some good restaurants to enjoy with his wife, Linda, and cherish his four grandchildren.

It’s a nice life. He’s earned it.

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