Legendary Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Al Michaels is famous for so many quotes over his 55-year career.
Who could forget his “Do you believe in miracles?” call in the final seconds of the U.S. hockey team defeating the powerhouse Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics?
It was Michaels at the mic during the pregame for Game 3 of the 1989 World Series at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Bay area.
“Well, folks, that’s the greatest open in the history of television, bar none,” he quipped in the moment.
And Michaels was in the middle of the whole O.J. Simpson coverage by virtue of being a neighbor and close friend of the NFL great-turned-murder suspect.
“People know me from a hockey game, from an earthquake, from the O.J case,” Michaels often says.
It’s a bit of an undersell considering Michaels is the only commentator to call a Super Bowl, a World Series, an NBA Finals, eight Olympic games and three Stanley Cup Finals for network television.
Where’s The Beef?
Despite the vast body of work one might know Al Michaels by, all of it escaped Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA), when contacted by Cowboy State Daily.
“Who?” Magagna asked
“Al Michaels. The sports commentator.”
“Never heard of him.”
“Miracle on Ice … Monday Night Football …”
“I wouldn’t know much about any of that,” said the lifelong sheep rancher from Rock Springs.
“Well, this week he claimed he has never eaten a vegetable in his life, so we thought …”
“Oh, that guy!” Magagna perked up. “I heard about that guy.”
We explained how it was a slow news week, and how appropriate would it be to think about Michaels being a spokesperson for WSGA. Here’s a famous guy (to most people, anyway) whose idea of a perfect meal is a Wyoming-raised ribeye with a side of Rocky Mountain Oysters.
“I would welcome that. I think he would make a great representative,” Magagna said. “Better than those that claim they’ve never had a piece of red meat in their life.”
But is that healthy, a diet shunning vegetables of every kind?
“Well, we would always be supportive of a balanced diet; but one that emphasizes red meat for the protein part,” Magagna admitted.
Magagna said he eats vegetables grown in his own garden so he knows where they come from.
But a sportscaster who is now suddenly famous this week for not eating his veggies? That’s a celebrity spokesperson the WSGA could get behind.
“We could take advantage of that and use it in our promotion of the cattle industry here in the state,” Magagna said.
Association board president Jack Berger agrees.
Berger, who was elected to a two-year term in June, runs a 100-year-old family cattle operation near Saratoga with his three sons.
“He sounds like our kind of guy,” Berger said. “Someone who brings a positive light to the beef industry in Wyoming. He’s what, 78, and look how it’s working for him.”
Hold The Veggies
Of all the quotes Michaels could be famous or noted for, it’s the one uttered to CNN’s Chris Wallace in an interview last week that is trending now. The one where the Brooklyn native admitted he’s never knowingly eaten a vegetable in his life. Hates them all, in fact.
This is a guy who once ordered French onion soup saying, “hold the onions,” while dining with the late John Madden. Incidentally, Madden couldn’t believe Michaels’ persnicketiness and called the chef out to the table to ask him how he got all the onions out of the soup.
“I hate onions,” Michaels said, adding that is why he does not do Philly cheesesteaks.
“What about carrots?” Wallace asked, enticing Michaels like a parent trying to make a spoonful of peas look palatable to a toddler.
“Oh, please. No, that’s an objectionable vegetable,” Michaels answered.
“How do you know if you’ve never tried it?” Wallace persisted.
“I look at it. I just don’t even like the look of it. And I surmise what it might taste like in terms of the texture of it,” Micahels said. “I think a lot of it probably has to do … it just doesn’t look like something that would go down well.
“Now you put a big steak in front of me and I’m going, ‘Let’s go.’”
While Michaels’ dietary quirks are all the buzz this week, it’s not the first time he’s confessed to shunning his veggies.
He admitted as much in an autobiography and told The New York Times outright in 2012, “I don’t eat any vegetables.”
A candid and lengthy 2016 interview with Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier drills down deepest on Michaels’ foliage phobia.
When discussing where to meet for an interview over dinner, Michaels told Tanier, “You’ll see I never eat a damn vegetable.”
“Lettuce and tomato on top of a hamburger?” Tanier pressed.
“No,” Michaels said.
As if to further prove the point, when Michaels was dining with Tanier, he was served a tomato soup appetizer at the Pacific Dining Car, a popular steakhouse in Santa Monica, California.
“Are there chunks of tomato?” he asked the server.
Assured the soup was entirely liquid, Michaels sampled it, then pushed it aside.
Later, Michaels insisted his baked potato with sour cream and chives be served sans chives.
“What kind of crazy person considers chives a vegetable?” Tanier wondered.
A Man Made For Wyoming
Michaels feels like the perfect fit for Wyoming — a man’s man who adheres to the old adage found on the walls of many a Cowboy State chophouse: “There are many ways to cut down on red meat. We recommend a good sharp steak knife.”
Al, meet Jim. He’s always looking for a good spokesman. Jim, meet Al. The only thing rarer than his sirloin order is seeing it plated with a side of green beans.
“If I died right now, I might be the human being who lived the longest without ever eating a vegetable,” Michaels said.
Al Michaels called the Broncos-Chiefs game on Thursday night. He told the Kansas City Star he loves going to Kansas City for the food.
“I want to go eat a big, ol’ juicy steak. I love going to Kansas City and eating there,” he said.
You’ll likely find the 78-year-old sports broadcaster chowing down at the Savoy Grill, The Capital Grille Restaurant, Stock Hill or Eddie V’s — his favorites. What you won’t find is anything green on his plate.
It would be a miracle.
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