Behind the Mic: Fox Sports Sets Sail on Super Bowl Season With Full-Scale Army of Voices

Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Fox Sports details their voices for the 2019 NFL season, CBS Sports follows suit with their broadcasting teams for the college football season, ESPN unveils their 2019 college football studio crew, a former Colts punter joins ESPN as a college football announcer, a former New England Patriots linebacker joins the ESPN NFL team, and a longtime referee spearheads the SEC Network’s officiating analysis.

Fox Sports today announced its broadcast teams for the network’s 26th season of NFL coverage and the 100thseason of the NFL. The Fox NFL lineup includes seven on-air teams featuring a mixture of experienced and new personalities. The announcement was made by Brad Zager, Executive Producer, Executive Vice President/Head of Production and Operations, Fox Sports.

Lead announcer and Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman return for their 18th season as the NFL’s longest-tenured duo. Erin Andrews joins the lead team for her seventh season of reporting. Buck, Aikman, and Andrews will open Week 1 with Fox’s first edition of America’s Game of the Week, as the Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in a divisional matchup from AT&T Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 4:25 PM ET. Buck, Aikman, Andrews along with Kristina Pink and Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira return for the second edition of Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light

Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt teams up with Charles Davis and veteran reporter Pam Oliver. Oliver, entering for her 25th season of Fox NFL coverage, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Atlanta Women in Sports in 2019. The trio opens the season Sunday, Sept. 8 at Lincoln Financial Field as the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles at 1:00 PM ET.

Three-time Super Bowl Champion, Mark Schlereth, returns with veteran play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton and reporter Jennifer Hale. Stockton, Schlereth, and Hale will call the Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals matchup from University of Phoenix Stadium Week 1 at 4:25 PM ET.

Kenny Albert and five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Rondé Barber will partner with reporter Lindsay Czarniak Week 1 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the San Francisco 49ers from Raymond James Stadium at 4:25 PM ET.

Veteran play-by-play caller Chris Myers once again teams with analyst Daryl “Moose” Johnston and reporter Laura Okmin. Myers, Johnston, and Okmin call the matchup pairing the 2018 NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams versus the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Week 1 at 1:00 PM ET.

Thom Brennaman completes the Fox Sports Week 1 roster alongside analyst Chris Spielman and reporter Shannon Spakeas they call the 1:00 PM ET matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings from U.S. Bank Stadium.

Play-by-play announcer Brandon Gaudin, alongside Pro Football Hall of Famer and game analyst Cris Carter and reporter Peter Schrager will call a Week 2 meeting between the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens from M&T Bank Stadium at 1:00 PM ET.

Current Carolina Panther and two-time All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen will partner with seasoned play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert and reporter Lindsay Czarniak to call the Week 7 pairing between the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants from MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 20. Matt Millen returns to the booth with play-by-play announcer Kevin Kugler and reporter Shane Bacon in Week 8 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Additional play-by-play announcers, analysts, and reporters include:
  • Sam Rosen, Brandon Gaudin, Dan Hellie, and Kevin Kugler
  • Tiki Barber, Cris Carter, Matt Millen, Greg Olsen, and Brady Quinn
  • Shane Bacon, Lindsay Czarniak, Sarah Kustok, Peter Schrager, and Sara Walsh

 Former NFL Vice Presidents of Officiating Dean Blandino and Pereira serve as rules analysts throughout the season, providing their unique takes on the most crucial calls of the week.

Fox NFL Kickoff welcomes fans each Sunday at 11:00 AM ET throughout the season. The one-hour pregame show is hosted by Charissa Thompson along with 14-time NFL Pro Bowler and studio analyst Tony Gonzalez, four-time NFL Pro Bowler Michael Vick, Super Bowl winning-defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, longtime sports media personality Colin Cowherd and Cooper Manning, who contributes weekly segments. Schrager will also join the cast most weeks, with the exception of a few games in which he will be reporting from the sidelines.

Earlier this year, Fox NFL Sunday was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame as  America’s most-watched NFL pregame show for the past 25 years. Hosts Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee, and analysts Howie LongJimmy Johnsonand Michael Strahan drive the Emmy Award-winning, one-hour program. Premier NFL insider Jay Glazer, comedic prognosticator Rob Riggle and rules analysts Pereira and Blandino also contribute. Fox NFL Sunday immediately follows KICKOFF at 12:00 PM ET.

Fox Deportes is the Spanish-language leader of NFL coverage. Fox Deportes broadcasts 18 live NFL games including Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light. Rolando Cantú, Jessi Losada, Adrian Garcia Márquez, Rodolfo Landeros and Jaime Motta will lead the coverage.

…CBS Sports Network has added game analyst Malik Zaire, a former Florida and Notre Dame quarterback, who will call select games throughout the season.

Carter Blackburn and Aaron Taylor return as CBS Sports Network’s lead college football play-by-play and analyst team for their sixth consecutive season, with Jenny Dell returning to her role as lead sideline reporter.

Other teams include:

  • Rich Waltz/Aaron Murray/John Schriffen
  • Dave Ryan/Corey Chavous
  • John Sadak/Randy Cross/Sheehan Stanwick-Burch (Navy)
  • Ben Holden/Ross Tucker/Tina Cervasio (Army)
  • Jason Knapp and Jason Horowitz will both call games as play-by-play announcers as well.

Also, CBS Sports Network returns its flagship college football studio show Inside College Football with host Adam Zucker, who once again is joined by analysts Rick Neuheisel, Brian Jones, Randy Cross, and Taylor. CBS Sports Network’s studio team also includes host Brent Stover with returning analysts Houston Nutt, Danny Kanell, and Kevin Carter

Matt Barrie and Kevin Connors will assume new roles during college football’s 150th anniversary season, as Barrie will anchor ESPN’s studio coverage and Connors will undertake the same role on ESPN2. Further solidifying both studio teams, ESPN has re-signed analysts Jesse Palmer and Jim Mora to new contracts, with Palmer teaming up with fellow analyst Joey Galloway on ESPN and Mora reuniting with Emmanuel Acho on ESPN2.

For Barrie, Galloway, and Palmer, in addition to their traditional Saturday studio wraps, the new team will also work on the network’s Thursday and Friday football coverage throughout the season. On Saturdays, the trio will cap their days with College Football Final, as the one-hour show highlights the day that was in college football at the conclusion of the night’s games.

Also, ESPN has signed former Southern California quarterback and Rose Bowl Game MVP Mark Sanchez to a multi-year deal as the California native shifts from the field to an analyst role. Sanchez will be in studio each college football Saturday for ABC, appearing throughout the network’s tripleheaders – noon ET, 3:30 p.m. and Saturday Night Football (7:30 p.m.). The former first-round NFL Draft pick will contribute to other ESPN shows, including College Football Live and Get Up! throughout the season…

…ESPN has signed former college football All-American and NFL All-Pro punter Pat McAfee to a multi-year agreement as a football analyst. The vibrant personality will be a commentator on both game and studio telecasts, including ESPN’s Thursday night college football slate and regular appearances on Get Up!. As part of his Thursday game assignments, McAfee reunites with Matt Hasselbeck, as the former Indianapolis Colts teammates will serve as dual analysts in the booth. Adam Amin will call play-by-play and Molly McGrath is the reporter, which was announced earlier this month…

…Two-time Super Bowl champion and New England Patriots captain Rob Ninkovich is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst. The former linebacker will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and more throughout the year.

Following his NFL retirement, Ninkovich served as a reporter for WBZ-TV (CBS Boston) during four Patriots preseason games in 2018. He also appeared as a guest analyst on ESPN shows in May…

…Former Southeastern Conference official Matt Austin, who spent nearly two decades in the profession officiating games across three conferences before retiring earlier this year, has joined ESPN and SEC Network as an officiating analyst for college football. He will contribute weekly to SEC games and studio shows from SEC Network’s studios in Charlotte, providing analysis to go along with the network’s robust college football programming.

Austin was a referee for 15 years in the SEC and four years in the Ohio Valley Conference, in addition to spending four seasons as an official in the Mid-South Conference (NAIA). He worked a dozen postseason officiating assignments over his career, including three SEC Championship Games and two College Football Playoff semifinals. Off the field, Austin is a corporate industry manager for Sumitomo Drive Technologies.