“It’s first and 10. Morris to block. It’s wide open. The rumbling Kelce taking it to the house!”
Kevin Harlan, longtime national sportscaster, is shouting, his baritone voice resonating with excitement. And there’s more to come.
“It’s goal at the seven. Smith, Charles, the block by Kelce. The dive for six!”
Wearing his signature blue blazer and with a handkerchief neatly folded in the breast pocket, Harlan is calling play-by-play for the Chiefs’ season-opening game against the Houston Texans as part of the CBS Sports broadcast team. His emphatic vocal cadence is familiar to anyone who has watched NFL football during the last 31 years.
It’s something the Kansas City-area resident has been doing since 1999.
On Monday, Harlan will be behind the microphone again to call the Chiefs’ game against Green Bay at Lambeau Field, a place with which he is very familiar.
At 55, he is at the height of a career that got its start when he was a kid in Wisconsin.
“I kind of caught the bug,” Harlan said. “I would listen to games late at night on the radio that would come in from all over the country. … I didn’t have headsets, so I’d cup my hand to my ear and pretend I had a hand-held mic. I would go pretend to call games in the bathroom to perfect my voice.”
Harlan has always been surrounded by football. His father, Bob Harlan, was president and CEO of the Packers for 19 years. The oldest of three boys, Kevin took a stab at playing football and hockey, but “I knew I didn’t have talent on the field.”
Instead, Harlan turned to describing sports. His first gig was at his Catholic high school’s 10-watt radio station.
“I really wanted to be a commercial pilot,” he said with a chuckle, “and here was a way I could travel and be around sports, which I love.”
Once he got his driver’s license, Harlan traveled outside Green Bay to call high school games.
“Sports is so exciting,” Harlan said. “It’s a story that’s not been happening. You’re telling the story as it happens.”
His dad remembers those early days.
“When he was doing games in high school, I would sit at home and listen, and when he got home we’d go over the notes I took and he listened very carefully,” Bob Harlan said. “Once he made up his mind this was for him, he was driven.”
Harlan attended the University of Kansas at the suggestion of then CBS broadcaster Gary Bender, a Jayhawk alumnus whom Harlan knew through his father.
“I flew down, looked at the school and loved the school — that was it,” Harlan said.
By his freshman year at KU, Harlan was already broadcasting pre- and postgame shows for football; later came basketball games broadcast for the Jayhawks Radio Network (1983-1984). One of his KU classmates was John Holt, now an anchor at Fox 4 in Kansas City. The two worked together at KLWN-AM and FM in Lawrence.
“When you’re working for pennies as young college kids, you form a real bond,” Holt said. “It’s so fun to see that we’re both broadcast survivors and still love what we do all these years later.”
Harlan worked part-time at KCMO, then an all-news talk station that carried the Chiefs, Royals, Kings and indoor soccer teams. He became an essential member of the KCMO team, according to then-sports director Wayne Larrivee.
“We were the first station in the NFL to do a two-hour pre show, and Kevin produced it way beyond expectations,” Larrivee said. “That’s how he got started with us, and we recognized his ability, talent.”
Larrivee, who now calls the Packers games for its radio network, was impressed with the young Harlan.
“He seemed like he was far beyond a college senior in terms of his maturity,” Larrivee said. “As good as he was on the air, he was as good off the air. He had a vision of where he wanted to go.”
Mary Anne Murray worked with Harlan both in Topeka and then again at KCMO.
“Kevin was always so much fun in the newsroom,” Murray said. “He worked hard, was very resourceful. It was clear from the beginning that he was destined for greatness.”
Just a few days after getting his diploma KU, Harlan landed his first “professional” gig as the official voice of the Kansas City Kings NBA team.
Then came four years of broadcasting NFL games for Fox Sports. In 1998, Harlan joined CBS’ NFL broadcast team as a play-by-play announcer; this will mark Harlan’s 31st consecutive year. In 1999, he became part of the CBS Sports broadcast team for coverage of the NCAA Tournament, which Harlan continued through this year.
So does Harlan have a preference between the two sports?
“I like each sport in its season,” he said.
Harlan did Chiefs radio broadcasts for nine years, a stint he loved. It was during that time that he coined his signature, “Oh baby! What a play!” The expression came out during a Monday night game between the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
During Harlan’s extensive sportscasting career, he has called preseason games for the Chicago Bears and Packers (he still does for Green Bay). He’s also called preseason games for the Chiefs (on KCTV-5) and the Jacksonville Jaguars, plus several Super Bowls.
Earlier in his career, Harlan was the voice of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves for nine seasons. In addition, he has called action for NBC Sports, ESPN and the Mutual Broadcasting System and provides the play-by-play voice for the NBA2K video-game series.
Harlan uses an enthusiastic, rapid-fire delivery no matter who has the ball. He gets tremendous satisfaction working in television but has a real fondness for radio.
“In TV, the picture is No. 1, the analyst is No. 2, the graphics and bells and whistles are No. 3 and play-by-play is fourth,” he said. “On the radio, the play-by-play announcer is the top dog.”
Industry Analyst Predicts Crypto Will Surpass Gambling In Sports World
Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year.
Industry insiders have believed for quite a while that sports betting was the future for sponsorship and advertisement revenue, but it appears that there is a new venture on the rise that is quickly surpassing it.
Crypto.com made a huge statement in purchasing the Staples Center in what will be known as Crypto.com Arena come Christmas Day.
SponsorUnited Founder and President Bob Lynch believes that there is no doubt that Crypto and Blockchain will far exceed sports betting as the premiere revenue money maker for the sports industry over the next decade.
“They’re essentially buying equity,” which would be particularly valuable in an industry that is still widely doubted, Lynch said on Crypto.com’s purchase of the arena. “The Lakers and Clippers have global exposure, media value and mentions that give instant brand legitimacy with top-of-mind awareness through national/global TV exposure,”
Crypto has already started to push its way into major advertisements for key events in the world of sports. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX purchased an ad in this upcoming Super Bowl, and already has the backing of the biggest star in professional football. Tom Brady has an equity stake in the company.
Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year. It seems that the possibilities are endless for crypto within the sports landscape. While sports gambling certainly isn’t going away from the public eye, it could be overtaken by crypto in terms of ad spending and sponsorship visibility very soon.
Colin Cowherd: Lincoln Riley At USC Is Good For Networks
“Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches.”
Colin Cowherd is a self-professed college football fan. When the sport is interesting, he talks about it. The sport may never be more interesting than when the coaching carousel is spinning.
On Mondy’s edition of The Herd on FS1 and FOX Sports Radio, Cowherd dove in on USC’s hire of Lincoln Riley. He says that it is good for college football that Riley left Oklahoma for Los Angeles.
“My phone blew up yesterday, not only because people know I’m kind of a USC honk, but network people,” Cowherd said. “They’re like ‘do you understand how big this is for networks?’”.
Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches. He noted that when USC lost to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, ABC scored a 22.5 rating in the city.
“The networks want USC to be good. You know why? Because New York, DC, and Boston have never watched college football. Chicago does and LA does. So the Big Ten being good is good for college football TV ratings. But LA doesn’t watch college football anymore. They will now.”
As for the hard times USC has fallen on and been stuck in mostly since Pete Carroll bolted for the NFL, Cowherd is not particularly worried. He pointed out that Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame were all down before they hired the right coach. Programs at the blue blood level in the sport have a way of bouncing back quickly.
Network executives are hoping Cowherd’s assessment is correct. USC is the only brand on the West Coast capable of resonating on a national level.
The Los Angeles sports landscape has changed though. When USC was a celebrity program under Pete Carroll, the city did not have an NFL team. Now it has two. The Dodgers were not annual contenders in Major League Baseball. The Lakers had stars, but the Clippers didn’t. Now both do.
Does LA love college football enough for the Trojans to turn some heads in the city with the most stars in the sports world?
Pat McAfee’s Wife Shares Couple’s Pregnancy Struggles
“Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.”
As hard as it can be as a celebrity, or as the spouse of a celebrity or popular media figure, to keep your personal life private and out of the limelight, sometimes it can be uplifting to put your personal struggles out there for all to see.
Enter Samantha McAfee, the wife of popular sports radio host Pat McAfee. Samantha took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to share a heartbreaking update on the couple’s journey to conceiving a child.
“On Tuesday, I had what we thought was a ‘normal’ miscarriage, it was painful and miserable,” Samantha wrote in part. “However, Saturday morning I woke up in extreme pain so Patrick took me to the ER. They found that I had internal bleeding again due to the pregnancy being in my (fallopian) tube and it had burst. I needed emergency surgery to remove my remaining tube.”
Samantha shared that this was not the first time she had experienced complications in the beginning weeks of a pregnancy. She said she had her right fallopian tube removed in 2020 due to an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy where a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus.
Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.
Additionally, McAfee noted that the point of her sharing the update was to give others who may be going through similar difficulties hope, but to also shed a light on the reality of fertility issues and emphasize that she will have a child someday.
“I KNOW I WILL BE A MOTHER somehow some way, I know Patrick and I will be the best parents we can be whenever the universe thinks it’s the right time,” she said.
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