Adamle was a sports anchor at other Chicago television stations, including WLS-TV from 1983-1989 before hosting American Gladiators, a first stint at WMAQ-TV from 1998–2001, and then at WBBM-TV from 2001-2004 before returning to Channel 5 until March 2016, when he was diagnosed with CTE-induced dementia which eventually forced his retirement. For much of 2008, Adamle worked for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in a variety of roles, including interviewer, play-by-play commentator, and General Manager of Raw.
Mike Adamle grew up in Kent, Ohio and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1967. His father, Tony Adamle, also found some success with the Cleveland Browns in the 1940s and 1950s.
Adamle played collegiate football for Northwestern University as part of their team the Wildcats. As a Wildcat, Adamle was team captain, an All-American fullback, and the Big Ten MVP in 1970. Adamle's 316 rushing yards against the Wisconsin Badgers in 1969 still stands as a school record for the most rushing yards in a game. He graduated in 1971.
After his college football career, he played in the National Football League for six years. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs as a fourth round draft pick. He also played for the New York Jets and Chicago Bears.
After retiring from playing football professionally, Adamle joined NBC Sports, where he was both a studio host and sideline reporter for various events. He spent six years with NBC Sports, hosting SportsWorld and pre-game shows. He was also the host of GrandStand, which was both a pregame show for the National Football League (NFL) and a sports anthology series during the NFL's off-season. In 1984, he was ABC's sideline reporter for the United States Football League. In 2001, Adamle returned to sideline reporting when he joined KNBC's Fred Roggin on NBC's primary XFL broadcast team.
He was also the co-host of American Gladiators from 1989 to 1996. In addition, he was a contender in a celebrity contenders show towards the end of the show's run. Adamle also co-hosted International Gladiators with the UK and Australian Hosts and commentated in one series alongside UK commentator John Sachs. He appeared on the fourth-season premiere of Family Matters playing himself in a fictional episode of American Gladiators. After American Gladiators ended, he became a reporter for ESPN.
He has also covered the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. In the summer of 2005, Adamle was the host of another NBC property, Bravo's Battle of the Network Reality Stars. In July 2006, Adamle became a color commentator for the Professional Bull Riders (PBR)'s Built Ford Tough Series (another event which NBC has split rights).
On January 27, 2008 at the Royal Rumble, Adamle began working as an interviewer for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). He then worked on WWE Raw as an interviewer, often making mistakes with each onscreen appearance. During his debut, he mistakenly referred to Jeff Hardy as "Jeff Harvey". He later became ECW's play-by-play announcer on April 15, replacing Joey Styles. Adamle continued to make frequent mistakes during his commentary duties on ECW, with former ECW owner and booker Paul Heyman and former talent Lance Storm criticizing Adamle for them. On April 29, Adamle left a broadcast of ECW before the main event match, and his partner Tazz was asked to do the same. This was worked into a storyline as WWE reported that Adamle and Tazz may have left due to fan criticism of Adamle's commentary. The following week, he cut a promo apologizing for his actions.
On the July 28 episode of Raw, Executive Vice President Shane McMahon announced that Adamle was the new General Manager for the Raw brand. During his tenure as General Manager, he promoted a variety of high-profile matches that he dubbed as "Adamle Originals." On the October 27 episode of Raw, as part of his storyline, he slapped Randy Orton after Orton insulted him personally. The following week on Raw, during an in-ring segment with Shane McMahon and Orton, Adamle resigned from his position as General Manager.
Adamle was the play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League and broadcast Rush games for Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN. Following the 2013 AFL season, the Rush were unable to commit to the 2014 and 2015 AFL seasons and the team's operation were suspended immediately and the active roster was allocated amongst the rest of the AFL.
Adamle is divorced from wife Kim with whom he has two daughters, Alexandra and Svetlana (adopted as a teenager from Ukraine). He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Adamle has epilepsy. After work with Epilepsy Foundation, where he is currently a member of the Greater Chicago division's board of directors, Adamle was given his Personal Achievement Award at the 2007 Richard N. Rovner Awards Dinner. Adamle has completed two Ironman Triathlons in Kona, most recently as a 60-year-old in 2009, where he completed the race in 14 hours, 7 minutes and 39 seconds. He has also completed other Ironman races like Ironman USA (Lake Placid) 2003.
On February 7, 2017, Adamle said he was diagnosed with dementia, and that his doctor saw signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He believes this and the past 19 years of epileptic seizures resulted from his concussions in football. He officially retired from WMAQ-TV on March 24, 2017, at a send-off party with colleagues.