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Al Michaels returned to NBC on Saturday night and it led to an extremely cool, full-circle moment. The legendary play-by-play announcer was on the call for Asante Samuel playoff interceptions against the Jaguars, 17 years apart.
Michaels, who left NBC for Amazon during the offseason, has a unique contract with the Peacock. While his primary gig is with Thursday Night Football, he signed an “emeritus” deal with NBC that allows him to call various, important events over the next few years, like the Olympics or NFL Playoffs.
The latter was in effect this weekend.
On Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006, the Patriots hosted the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Wild Card game. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady beat Jack Del Rio and Byron Leftwich 28-3 with Michaels on the call.
In that game, seventeen years and seven days ago, Asante Samuel Sr. picked off a Jacksonville pass on 4th-and-7 and took it 73 yards to the house. It sealed the game for New England and marked the final score of the game.
On Saturday, Jan. 14, 2022, the Jaguars hosted the Chargers in the AFC Wild Card game with Michaels on the call. Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence squared off against Brandon Staley and Justin Herbert with Michaels on the call.
In that game, Asante Samuel Jr. picked off not one, not two, but three Jacksonville passes in the first half. He became the first player with three interceptions in a playoff game since 2004.
Michaels, who did not call a game for NBC all season, happened to be on the mic for Saturday’s game, which happened to include Samuel Jr. Thus, he was on the call for all three picks.
Because of the unique emeritus contract, Michaels was able to call an Asante Samuel playoff interception against the Jaguars, 17 years apart. Once in 2007, three times in 2022. Pretty neat!