SPORTS FANS LOVE LISTS AND LOVE TO RANK SPECIAL MOMENTS OR PLAYERS. I'm often asked about my favorite game or athlete I've covered or the best day I've had in my 17 years in this business. So, occasionally I'll share my favorites and/or least favorites in this space.
My five most memorable days I've had in sportscasting:
5. Covering Texas-El Paso's upset of top seed Kansas in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Dayton in 1992. A thoroughly unlikely outcome. Head coach Don Haskins is a legend in El Paso and he remains one of my favorite interviews. He completely outcoached Roy Williams that day. The celebration at the El Paso airport was crazy. I think the whole city showed up.
4. Calling the Rams-Patriots game in Super Bowl 36 for Rams Radio. A thrill for sure but it isn't higher on my list because of two factors: the outcome of the game and my health at that time. We were all in shock how that game turned out. That Rams team was a powerhouse and should have won it all. So, that was a tough one to swallow. Still is. And, I was sicker than a dog all week leading up to that game. Pulling double duty for t-v and radio with a 101 fever and bronchitis left me drained. My biggest fear was that my voice would completely give out during the game and NFL Films would not be able to use my call when the Rams won. Turns out I worried for no reason. The Rams lost and although I definately sounded sick, I didn't lose my voice.
3. Covering the Cardinals wrapping up their tenth world championship in game five of the World Series in October. I had watched the Cardinals win the 1982 series from my dorm room in college but being at Busch that night was a much more powerful experience. The energy in the stadium that night was incredible. Sports fans in this town live for great Cardinal moments and I witnessed a wild but respectful celebration. The Cardinals' improbable run also made that a very special night. Proof that hard work and belief in self can pull you through.
2. Covering the Rams' victory in Super Bowl 34. Why does this rank higher than the Cards' championship? Two reasons: St. Louis had never come close to a championship in football and I was part of the broadcast team that season. I had a busy but thoroughly enjoyable day and night in Atlanta. The Rams were the ultimate Cinderella story that season. We broadcast Sports Sunday from the field about 40 minutes after the game ended. I think I had 9 or 10 players sit down with me during that broadcast. We blew out the back end and stayed on the air for about two hours.
1. Broadcasting the Rams' Super Bowl parade. Larry Conners and I were in a cherry picker overlooking Market Street for about four hours and we were absolutely frozen stiff when we finished. Didn't feel my feet for hours afterward. And neither of us cared. It was the most fun I've ever had in this profession. That was due in large part to how the fans in attendance behaved. There were no arrests to speak of, no crazy acts of drunkenness, no hooligan-type behavior. I've never been more proud of my hometown. That parade was the definition of good, clean fun. (I missed the Cardinals' parade this fall. I was broadcasting the Rams game at San Diego that afternoon.)
Okay, after much procrastination, here's my Super Bowl prediction: Colts by a field goal. They have the greatest clutch kicker in NFL history in Adam Vinatieri. If there's anytime on the clock, Peyton Manning just needs to get the Colts to the 35 yard line and it's over. I hope I'm wrong and I'll be glad to admit it next week if I am. It would give me great pleasure to see Lovie Smith win it all. He was a class guy to deal with here in St. Louis. Plus, I'd love to see an NFC team win it. I'm tired of all the talk about how much better the AFC is than the NFC. It is better. But, not as much as some make out.