Happy day: Mike Tirico to come off the bench for NBC

Mike Tirico's about to call some damn NFL games. The world is a good and just place.

On Wednesday, NBC announced Tirico -- one of the sport's best play-by-play guys -- will be behind the mic for the next three network telecasts, starting with the Packers and Redskins matchup this Sunday.

Al Michaels, The Don of play-by-play men, effectively gets a Thanksgiving week vacation. When you're 72 and you're Al Michaels, these are the perks of the gig.

Under the new Thursday Night Football deal, the team of Michaels and Cris Collinsworth -- thought by many to be the best in the business -- have seen their workload ramped up considerably. The initial public assumption was that the newly hired Tirico would handle all of NBC's Thursday night broadcasts, but the language of the deal between the league and NBC and CBS dictated that the networks use their No. 1 team for all Thursday telecasts. (Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are the top dogs for CBS).

With Michaels stepping away, Tirico becomes the de facto No. 1 guy on a temporary basis. Hello, loophole! Tirico has been in the shadows this season after leaving ESPN for NBC, relegated to a supporting role on the Football Night In America pregame show. In addition to his upcoming work, Tirico will join Collinsworth to call the Thursday night matchup between the Giants and Eagles on Dec. 22.

"With the additional games on our schedule this season, it's nice to have a bye week," Michaels said in a statement released by NBC. "We're lucky to have someone of Mike's caliber to step in with Cris, Michele (Tafoya) and the rest of the team."

No word if Tirico will be asked to sing the Carrie Underwood "Oh Sunday Night" theme as a sort of hazing ritual. Fingers crossed.

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