There was a time, in the middle of the last century, when athletes and sportswriters earned similar salaries, leading to an informal sense of camaraderie between the two occupations.
That changed with the sports salary explosions of the 1970s and 1980s, which moved players in leagues around the world into a different tax bracket. However, Amazon announcer Al Michaels may have scored a rare point for the Fourth Estate during the 49ers' 30–12 win over the Giants Thursday evening.
According to Michael Ginnitti, the mind behind sports-contract database Sportrac, Michaels’s earnings for calling one game eclipsed winning quarterback Brock Purdy's salary for the entire 2023 season.
Al Michaels earned more (roughly $1M) to call last night's game than Brock Purdy ($870,000) will earn the entire 2023 season.— Spotrac (@spotrac) September 22, 2023
Purdy, the 262nd and final pick of the 2022 draft by San Francisco, is in year two of a four-year, $3.7 million rookie contract. Pressed into service by a spate of injuries last season, the Iowa State product led the 49ers to the NFC championship game.
Michaels, widely considered one of the greatest sports commentators in history, is in the second year of a three-year deal reputed to be around $15 million per year.