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NFL Network picks Brad Nessler as its play-by-play man

May 5, 2011 |  3:06 pm

6a00d8341c630a53ef0147e422c21b970b-800wi Brad Nessler, best known for his college football work on ESPN, will join Mike Mayock this year and do the play-by-play in a two-man booth for the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football schedule.

Mayock, who also works on NBC’s Notre Dame football broadcasts and for the NFL Network’s draft coverage, will be Nessler’s analyst.

Last season, the Thursday night broadcast had a three-man booth with Bob Papa calling the games and Joe Theismann and Matt Millenas co-analysts. The arrangement was widely criticized, mostly for the overwhelming amount of talk from Theismann and Millen.

Nessler and Mayock will both ramp up busy schedules. Mayock will continue with his Notre Dame duties and Nessler with college football.

NFL Networks senior vice president Mark Quenzel, said, “I think I prefer a two-man booth. I think the dynamic we have between Brad and Mike lends itself to a two-man booth. I’ve seen them work both ways but I prefer a two-man booth."

Nessler, who will be 55 in June, said he will continue with a full ESPN schedule next fall as well as doing the NFL games. “It’s going to be very hectic for about a five-week stretch,” he said. “I talked about it with my bosses at both networks, or all three if you want to talk ESPN, ABC and NFL.

“Obviously there is going to be a point when I’m doing a game on Thursday night, I’m going to be missing my practice of the home team of the college game that I have to do. Luckily there’s only going to be about a four-week overlap.”

Nessler joined ESPN in 1992 and has been doing college football and basketball coverage for the network since 2006.

Mayock, 52, considered a rising broadcast star, said, “I’ll tell you what. For me, it’s been kind of a surreal time frame. If you told me 10 months ago that I’d be calling Notre Dame games on NBC followed by an NFL playoff game on NBC, followed by the NFL Network offering me this package, I don’t know. I would probably inquire as to your hallucinogenic of choice and figuring that stuff wasn’t going to happen for me.”

The pair will call eight games on the NFL Network beginning Nov. 10 with Oakland at San Diego (assuming the NFL season is on schedule).

Papa, who had earlier said he hoped to continue to be part of the show, Thursday posted on Twitter, “Thanks for the tons of tweets of support this morning. I’m overwhelmed/humbled. Best of luck to Brad and Mike. They will do a great job!”

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-- Diane Pucin

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