What a year for ESPN’s Mike Tirico. In fact, you could call it a career year. One of the top broadcasters in the business, Tirico travelled the globe to cover some 2014’s top sports events.
While many fans will be home sipping eggnog and opening presents this week, Tirico will squeeze in two more high-profile assignments. First, tonight’s much anticipated Denver Broncos versus Cincinnati Bengals Monday Night Football regular-season finale (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), followed by the Christmas Day NBA matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and defending champion San Antonio Spurs (2:30 p.m., ABC).
It’s no wonder Sports Illustrated recently listed Tirico as Broadcaster of the Year in its 2014 Sports Media Awards – and deservedly so.
Before the multi-talented Tirico puts a bow on his year, he spoke with Front Row about his favorite moments:
Best sports moment you called. . .
“Damian Lillard’s game-winning three-pointer to give Portland its first [NBA playoff] series win in 14 years. It was the first buzzer-beater to win an NBA playoff series in 17 years. Houston had just taken a two-point lead and was seconds away from forcing Game 7 back in Texas. The Lillard shot was great. Blazermania truly came back to life.”
Best sports moment you witnessed. . .
“The entire World Cup in Brazil. Turning around from our host position to see Copacabana Beach packed with fans from every corner of the world watching their team on the global stage is a view I will never forget.”
Favorite off-camera moment. . .
“The off-air banter while taping segments on the Monday Night Football bus with [analyst] Jon Gruden is easily the most reliable source of weekly laughs.”
Most challenging assignment . . .
“The turnaround from the Sunday finale of the World Cup in Brazil to arriving for the British Open 48 hours later. Rio to Brasilia to Lisbon to Manchester and a drive to Liverpool was a challenge on its own. Catching up with the month of golf that transpired during the World Cup made it a unique turnaround. Our great golf team made it an easy end to the 50-day overseas journey.”
Best thing you did in your free time on the road. . .
“A few in our World Cup group rented bikes in Rio and used them to not only commute to work but also do some sightseeing. Given the traffic it was the best way to get around and enjoy an amazing city.”
What are you looking forward to most in 2015?. . .
“Winter Tuesdays with [college basketball analyst] Dan Dakich; sitting courtside next to [analyst] Hubie Brown during the NBA playoffs; Augusta and St. Andrews with our golf team; Wimbledon and the US Open with our tennis crew and fall Mondays with Jon. Take your pick! Every day is a good day, and the year has two great starting points – play-by-play for our first ever NFL Playoff game on ESPN and the inaugural College Football Playoff on ESPN Radio.”