‘Sunday Night Football’ Crew Tackles Deflategate Hearing, NFL in Los Angeles

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01 : Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX February 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots won the game 28-24. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The start of the NFL season may still be four weeks away, but football headlines are dominating the news cycle thanks to Deflategate and rumors of teams relocating to Los Angeles. And according to NBC’s Sunday Night Football team, that is a good thing.

“If anything, there is even more interest in this crazy thing that is the National Football League,” said play-by-play announcer Al Michaels at the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday. “The only real reality television is live sports, and that’s what the NFL has become. As much of a trainwreck some things can be, it almost creates more interest.”

Michaels and his analyst partner Cris Collinsworth are paying close attention to this week’s Deflategate hearings between New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and league commissioner Roger Goodell. Brady is currently facing a four-game suspension on the season, which directly impacts Sunday Night Football‘s opening night match-up between the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10.

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“We don’t know what’s going to happen opening night,” Collinsworth said. “There were a lot of mistakes made in that situation, and I don’t know that anybody recovers from this totally. This judge wants these two sides to settle it, and everything we’re hearing so far is there’s no settlement in sight.”

Reporters also pressed the sportscasters for their opinion on the possibility of one or two teams in Los Angeles next season. The St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are all in the running for a possible new stadium in either Inglewood or Carson, Calif.

“It’s always been a stadium issue in LA, but the league will do what’s best for the league,” Michaels said. “But I do think it’s closer than ever and something will happen.”

And when asked if the NFL could ever rebound from the controversies and legal issues that seem to constantly surround the league, Michaels replied, “Do people stop watching rock bands when the guys get arrested 47 times? Where is the tipping point? There is one, but it hasn’t come to us yet.”

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