NFL Network Reportedly Auditioning Both Papa, Johnson For Play-By-Play Role
Football announcers Bob Papa and Gus Johnson are "neck-and-neck" in a competition to be NFL Network's play-by-play announcer for next season "after both auditioned," according to sources cited by Phil Mushnick of the N.Y. POST. NFL Net reportedly had both Papa, whose two-year deal as NFL Net's play-by-play voice has expired, and Johnson "calling a game on tape" with Mike Mayock, who is said to be replacing both Joe Theismann and Matt Millen as game analyst. NFL Net "isn't expected to announce changes for a few weeks" (N.Y. POST, 4/16). However, Theismann said that he "hasn't been told he'll be dropped from the NFL Network's regular-season games." He said, "I don't know what's going to happen. ... This is a fickle business. Anything can happen" (USA TODAY, 4/18).
GOING ABOUT THIS THE WRONG WAY: SI.com's Peter King writes, "Papa's the ultimate solid play-by-play man, with strong lines and excellent set-up capability. ... It's downright foolish for NFL Network to be playing with his job by making him audition for it. Foolish. There's no other word" (SI.com, 4/18). In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote Papa "deserves better from NFL Network." That network execs "made Papa audition for a job he already had is an absolute disgrace" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/17). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes, "Removing Papa, who does an outstanding job, would be a mistake and a major disservice" to him (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/18).