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Al Michaels: Donald Trump waging war on NFL ‘like throwing a match into a gas tank’

Al Michaels recently weighed in on several prominent issues confronting the NFL, including a decrease in ratings amid the national anthem protest controversy, among other things. And to Michaels, President Donald Trump’s decision to wage war on the NFL over anthem protests proved to be a spark that ignited the NFL’s current crop of crises.

Michaels will be on the telecast from NBC’s coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys match-up on “Sunday Night Football.” Ahead of the game, the longtime broadcaster was interviewed by’s Rob Tornoe, where he discussed the shaky state of the league.

Michaels believes that Trump’s now infamous condemnation of the NFL during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., in September inspired a renewed focus on the anthem protest movement by players. Trump argued during the speech that NFL owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who protested during the anthem.

That proved to be the catalyst to an ongoing and polarizing debate over protests, says Michaels.

“Once the president made those remarks in Alabama, at that particular point it was like throwing a match into a gas tank,” Michaels said. “During the off-season, both sides just have to sit down and figure out a way to make this a situation where it doesn’t overwhelm the conversation about the NFL.”

Michaels later downplayed the significance in the dip in ratings for NFL games. A report suggests “Sunday Night Football” has seen an eight-percent drop in ratings this season but remains the primetime’s highest-rated program.

“It’s number one and it’s getting bashed because the ratings are down,” Michaels said. “Two or three years ago, the ratings were so spectacular that there had to be a little bit of a diminishment at some point.”

Michaels makes several intriguing points about the NFL during a highly volatile moment for the league. While the NFL may be navigating some rough waters, the league nevertheless remains incredibly popular, and even the current state of disarray and dysfunction won’t change that anytime soon.