When I spoke with Adam Amin in June, he already was sizing up the Bears’ schedule, trying to guess which game(s) he might call for Fox Sports.
“This might just be me trying to will it into existence,” Amin said, “but I have a good feeling that our crew might run into some Bears games this year.”
Amin is the Bears’ preseason voice on Fox-32, but he has yet to call a Bears regular-season game. Fox Sports didn’t assign him any last season, his first with the network.
According to a source, Amin isn’t scheduled to call the Bears’ games on Fox in Weeks 2-4. Might his first one come in Week 6 against the Packers at Soldier Field? That surely would be sweet for the Addison Trail High School alum.
But his guess is as good as mine, which gives me solace in my annual predictions of which TV crew will call each Bears game on Sunday afternoons. We know the announcers for the prime-time games and the Thanksgiving game, and I was able to unearth the Bears’ first three Fox games. The rest are my guess.
Week 1: at Rams, 7:20 p.m., Ch. 5 – Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.
Week 2: vs. Bengals, noon, Fox-32 – Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin. Sanchez, the former Jets quarterback, is in his first year with Fox after two years with ESPN. He fills the spot left by Chris Spielman, who’s now in the Lions’ front office.
Week 3: at Browns, noon, Fox-32 – Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver. The Browns probably helped draw Fox’s No. 2 crew. Olsen, the Bears’ first-round pick in 2007, is in his first year as a full-timer with the network. Fox clearly thinks highly of him.
Week 4: vs. Lions, noon, Fox-32 – Gus Johnson, Aqib Talib, Megan Olivi. Johnson is Fox’ lead voice for college football, but he’ll call select NFL games, too. Talib left a favorable impression in two games last season. He brings a unique voice that’s playful yet analytical.
Week 5: at Raiders, 3:05 p.m., Ch. 2 – Let the guessing begin! Dolphins-Buccaneers should draw the top crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo. Browns-Chargers, featuring Baker Mayfield vs. Justin Herbert, figures to get the No. 2 crew. Bears fans should see the delightful and excitable Kevin Harlan with Trent Green.
Week 6: vs. Packers, noon, Fox-32 – It’s not a Fox doubleheader week, so the top crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman only calls the Thursday game. Burkhardt and Olsen could call Rams-Giants for the nation’s top two markets. That means (drumroll, please) Amin gets the Bears with Mark Schlereth.
Week 7: at Buccaneers, 3:25 p.m., Ch. 2 – An NFC matchup on CBS is sacrilege to some. Just imagine it’s the 1980s, if you can. Even if Nantz and Romo were in Tampa two weeks before, this is their window. Besides, they can’t have enough Tom Brady.
Week 8: vs. 49ers, noon, Fox-32 – With Buck and Burkhardt on World Series duty (Game 5 is scheduled), Fox will have to mix up crews. Amin likely would move up to call Bucs-Saints on “America’s Game of the Week.” If this game features Trey Lance vs. Justin Fields, we could get Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma.
Week 9: at Steelers, 7:15 p.m., ESPN – Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, Brian Griese and Lisa Salters.
Week 10: Bye.
Week 11: vs. Ravens, noon, Ch. 2 – How much fun would it be to watch Fields and Lamar Jackson try to one-up each other? It’d be even more fun to have Nantz and Romo call the game.
Week 12: at Lions, 11:30 a.m., Fox – Buck and Aikman will call the Thanksgiving game, and it figures to be their only Bears game this season. To many of you, that’s a relief.
Week 13: vs. Cardinals, noon, Fox – How much fun would it be to watch Fields and Kyler Murray try to one-up each other? If Burkhardt’s crew gets Bucs-Falcons, Amin could walk to work again.
Week 14: at Packers, 7:20 p.m., Ch. 5 – Michaels, Collinsworth and Tafoya.
Week 15: vs. Vikings, 7:15 p.m., ESPN – Levy, Riddick, Griese and Salters.
Week 16: at Seahawks, 3:05 p.m., Fox-32 – How much fun would it be … wait a minute. By now, the Bears’ playoff hopes could be fading, taking some juice out of a Fields-Russell Wilson matchup. Fox has a solid slate this week, and that could leave the Bears with Chris Myers and Daryl Johnston.
Week 17: vs. Giants, noon, Ch. 2 – If these teams fare as well as most prognosticators think, expect a low crew here. At least Greg Gumbel might be able to return home, alongside new partner Adam Archuleta.
Week 18: at Vikings, noon, Fox-32 – This one’s the trickiest because two games this week will move to Saturday on ABC/ESPN. But those games will have playoff implications. So maybe this one isn’t so hard after all. Johnson will need something to do with the college season complete.
Bulls broadcasters Adam Amin and Stacey King will call the White Sox-Royals game Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago. Amin has called MLB games for ESPN and Fox, and King … well … hasn’t. But he did coach his sons’ travel baseball team back in the day. Maybe we’ll hear some stories.
Longtime Chicago radio voice George Ofman’s podcast, “Tell me a story I don’t know,” begins its third season Tuesday. The first two interviews are two-parters with Bears radio voice Jeff Joniak and former The Score and ESPN 1000 host Dan McNeil.
Chicago-based ESPN reporter Michele Steele will anchor “SportsCenter” over Labor Day weekend. Steele will appear at 8 a.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday.
FOX BROADCAST TEAMS
(Play-by-play, analyst, reporter)
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews
Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver
Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake
Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Sara Walsh/Lindsay Czarniak
Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Jennifer Hale
Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
Gus Johnson, Aqib Talib, Megan Olivi
CBS BROADCAST TEAMS
Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson
Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn
Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins
Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta and AJ Ross
Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Spero Dedes, Jay Feely
Tom McCarthy, Tiki Barber
Additional play-by-play: Beth Mowins
Additional reporters: Sherree Burruss, Amanda Balionis