It's always interesting to see how broadcasters and networks have evolved over time, and some recently-found footage gives us an excellent opportunity to do that. Back before Gus Johnson and Mike Mayock were household names, the two paired up to call the CFL's 1994 Grey Cup game on ESPN2, and the footage of that broadcast was uploaded to YouTube earlier this year. Throughout the broadcast, you can see some of the elements that both would be come to be known for, including Johnson's trademark exuberance and enthusiastic descriptions of particular plays and Mayock's football knowledge and penchant for relaying information on specific play designs or one-on-one battles. However, both have changed substantially since then, as has the network they were broadcasting for: ESPN2's 1994 Noisemeter and massive on-screen graphics would seem very out of place at the Worldwide Leader today. Here's the complete clip of the game:
That game is worth watching in its own right, too, particularly for those who already are fans of Canadian football, but also for those interested in a unique historical curiousity. The 1994 game, part of the CFL's ill-fated U.S. expansion era, marked the first time an American team ever played for the Grey Cup, and this "Battle of the Border" between the B.C. Lions and the Baltimore Stallions went right down to the wire in Vancouver inside a packed and insanely loud B.C. Place. Johnson and Mayock certainly got into the game, and both did an excellent job on this broadcast, not surprising considering that they were both regular parts of ESPN2's CFL coverage at that time (and Mayock even briefly played in the CFL). This broadcast footage is an excellent trip down memory lane for CFL fans, but it's also an interesting look at the early broadcasting days of two of the more prominent voices out there. It's unlikely Johnson and Mayock will partner on a CFL telecast again any time soon, but it's quite interesting to look back at the days when they did.