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Mike Tirico balancing Olympic prep work with football schedule

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Mike Tirico always has maintained a busy schedule, but even by his standards, his current stretch is a bit over the top.

Last week, Tirico was in South Korea to do some work in preparation as NBC's host of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Then on Thursday, he flew to South Bend ("Not direct," he laughs) to gear up to call the Notre Dame-Wake Forest game Saturday on NBC. Immediately after the game, he jetted to Miami to serve as host for NBC Sunday Night Football's coverage of the Oakland-Dolphins game.

He traveled 14,000 miles last week, and he's just getting started.

This week, he went out to Phoenix to prepare to call the Seattle-Arizona game Thursday for NBC's first Thursday night game of the season. Then he will head straight to Denver for host duties on Sunday's Denver-New England game.

OK, catch your breath, because next week is even more ridiculous. He will handle play-by-play for Tennessee-Pittsburgh on Thursday night; call Notre Dame-Navy in South Bend on that Saturday; and then host the Philadelphia-Dallas game on that Sunday.

For those keeping score at home, from Nov. 4-19 he will call four games and serve as NBC's Sunday night host for three others. Plus, he had to get rid of his jet lag from the South Korea trip.

Tirico calls this schedule "life with everything folded." Yet he keeps it all in perspective.

"I know the schedule isn't easy, but it's not like I'm building bridges here," Tirico said. "I travel comfortably and I get to go to some really nice places."

Indeed, if being busy means getting do steady play-by-play on football, then Tirico is all for it. After working two Thursday night games on NFL Network earlier in the season, he is set to team with Cris Collinsworth for four upcoming Thursday night games and the Tennessee-Pittsburgh Christmas Day game on NBC, plus he also will work the Chicago-Detroit game on Saturday, Dec. 16 on NFL Network.

Throw in seven Notre Dame games, and Tirico will call 16 pro and college games this fall. That is the volume he is bit more used to from his days as the voice of ESPN's Monday Night Football from 2006-15.

Tirico joined NBC in July, 2016. Last year, he called six NFL games, while taking over as the host of Sunday Night Football. While he enjoys the host duties, he says there is nothing like doing play-by-play. Naturally, he welcomed the expanded workload in 2017.

"For those of us who call football, there's no better joy than spending 50-60 hours preparing for a game, and then have all that preparation blend into a great game," Tirico said. "That feeling of satisfaction is really fun."

Tirico's jammed schedule puts a premium on him being organized. He says he has various piles in his office with reports and stories on the various events he is set to cover. He is obsessed about stockpiling as much information as he can during a telecast. If anything, all the traveling gives him many distraction-free hours to concentrate on studying.

"I fly a lot on Delta, and I'm sure their in-flight magazine is really good," Tirico said. "But I've never come close to reading it. I always have plenty of reading material on my flights. I have to find ways to be efficient and at the same time be thorough, which is a challenge."

Collinsworth was well aware of Tirico's abilities from his ESPN days, but he now has a much greater appreciation after working with him.

"What's remarkable is that he can do everything," Collinsworth said. "A lot of people regard (Al Michaels) as the best play-by-play man and (Bob Costas) as the best studio host, and here's somebody who comes into NBC and does both at a high level."

Tirico made a huge career move when he left ESPN. He says the transition was made much easier thanks to the people he works with at NBC.

"They've made me feel part of the family since the second I walked through the door," Tirico said. "That���s what makes it so special. It was the right move at the right time."

A driving force behind Tirico's job shift was a chance to be part of Super Bowl game day coverage at NBC. The network has the big game this year, but Tirico won't be there.

Instead, Tirico will be stationed at South Korea for the Olympics, which begin the week after the Super Bowl. Even for the traveling man, the logistics made it too difficult to do both.

"It will be disappointing to not be at the game," Tirico said. "But I'll get to do something I've never done in my life. The kickoff will be at 7:30 (a.m.) in Korea. It'll be perfect. The Super Bowl with bacon and eggs."

Larry's turn: Larry Fitzgerald is the latest subject of A Football Life (Friday, 9 p.m. ET, NFL Network). The film details Fitzgerald's impact on and off the field during his 14-year career. His philanthropic work earned him the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award following the 2016 season.

"I don't know of a professional athlete that has devoted so much time and effort to other people and causes as Larry Fitzgerald," said Arizona Senator John McCain in the film.

Extra points: Fox Sports' Sunday pregame shows, Fox NFL Kickoff and Fox NFL Sunday, will originate live from Pier 10 on the Naval Station Norfolk (Va.) in honor of Veteran's Day. The U.S. Fleet Forces Band will be onsite providing the morning's musical soundtrack.

On ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Jac Collinsworth has a feature on Lions receiver Marvin Jones and his tryout for America Idol.

ESPN's 30 for 30 series is planning a documentary called The Two Bills, examining the relationship between Bill Parcels and Bill Belichick. An air date has not been set.

Week 10 announcer lineup

Thursday

NBC, NFL Network, Amazon Prime, 8:25 p.m. ET
Seattle at Arizona: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth

Sunday

CBS 1:00 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
New York Jets at Tampa Bay: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Cleveland at Detroit: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

CBS 4 p.m. ET
Houston at Los Angeles Rams: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

FOX 1:00 p.m ET
Minnesota at Washington: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis v New Orleans at Buffalo: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Green Bay at Chicago: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Cincinnati at Tennessee: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth

FOX 4:25 p.m. ET
Dallas at Atlanta: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
New York Giants at San Francisco: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

NBC 8:30 p.m. ET
New England at Denver: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

Monday

ESPN 8:30 p.m. ET
Miami at Carolina: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden

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