The Commanders Thursday night football game may not have had fans talking, but a comment from longtime play-by-play commentator Al Michaels absolutely did.
"Just my feeling," Michaels said during the broadcast. "I think what the league would love is for [Dan] Snyder to sell the [Commanders], not have to go to a vote but just sell the team, because it’s become a major problem around the league, obviously."
Football fans on social media took notice, as did others who are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the NFL.
"He’s obviously very connected with owners, and he’s also seen as sort of a voice for the NFL, so I guess my thought is that didn’t come out of the blue," said former Green Bay Packers Vice President Andrew Brandt, now the executive director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova University. "Al Michaels is saying that, 'hey, we’d all be better if he took the money and ran, if he moved on."
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 13: Washington Commanders fans look on before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
FOX 5 also reached out to former NFL in-house counsel Jodi Balsam who texted, "Not a random comment—he has a reason to say that—it’s likely an accurate depiction of the rest of the league's views."
John Brownlee, a Commanders attorney, took a different view, saying Dan and Tanya Snyder are committed to the team. Brownlee also responded to a question about what Michaels said on the broadcast by taking aim at the bombshell investigative report published by ESPN Thursday morning.
"I think it shows you kind of the danger of an ESPN type report, when you’re willing to allow your venue or your media source to be used as a platform for anonymous people to go in there with their own agendas and say pretty much anything," Brownlee said.
As far as what the mounting pressure could ultimately mean for Snyder, Brandt said he wasn’t sure.
"I can’t predict whether they’ll have some coordinated campaign to get him to sell," he explained. "As much as owners are gonna worry about the salacious details of personal relationships, it’s business. Like, is he good for business? And right now there are concerns whether he’s good for business in the NFL or not."
In regard to the Michael's comment, a Commanders spokesperson told FOX 5, "There are lots of opinions out there, but there hasn’t been anything on the record from owners or the NFL."