A NBC Sports executive confirmed the network is likely to let Collinsworth go.
“We appreciate what he’s done for us over the years, but we just didn’t think he was performing for us in the preseason the way someone making his kind of money needs to perform,” said the source. “We can replace him with someone cheaper and younger and get just as much production, if not more. It’s time to move on.”
Collinsworth has struggled mightily during the preseason, showing an increased reliance on pregame storyline regardless of what happened during his games, repeatedly overstating the abilities of players, ignoring line play, incorrectly predicting challenge outcomes, talking over broadcast partner Al Michaels and saying completely incorrect things as though they were fact. There is also the continued issue, which he has struggled with his entire career, of having an annoying voice.
“Cris is a big name and releasing him will be a story, we know that,” said a Sunday Night Football producer. “If it was just one bad performance, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But it’s been sustained. We want to take the air on Week 1 with our best broadcast team, and I just don’t think having Cris on the roster anymore gives us that.”
Collinsworth says he’s not ready to call it a career.
“Even if the reports are true, I’m just going to keep talking about football,” he said. “Talking and talking and talking and talking. I’ll talk even when I have nothing interesting to say. It’s what I do.”
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