For 31 years, Jim Brandstatter has been a color commentator for the Detroit Lions, but the former Michigan Wolverine’s stint has come to a surprise ending. Brandstatter made the announcement on social media Tuesday morning, shocking longtime fans who have been listening to him on the radio for most of, if not all of, their lives.
A quick heads up guys. This morning, WJR let me know they were going a different direction and terminated me from their Lions broadcasts. I had a great run of 31 years. I can’t thank Lion fans enough for spending time with me on all those Sundays. #ILoveDetroit #OnePride
— Jim Brandstatter (@jimbrandstatter) July 10, 2018
Brandstatter is set to be replaced by former Detroit Lions offensive lineman Lomas Brown, who played his entire 11-year career with the franchise.
WJR released a statement soon after, reading “Jim Brandstatter did an excellent job for the past 2 years on WJR and for many years prior. We felt the addition of a former All-Pro Lion will bring a unique perspective to the game-day broadcast.”
An All-Big Ten player for the Wolverines, Brandstatter got his start in media as the sports director of WEYI-TV in the Flint area but moved to Detroit and became a sports producer for a local TV station a little over two years later. In 1980, he became the host of Michigan Replay, a weekly half-hour show about Michigan Wolverines football. He hosted the program alongside every Michigan head coach from Bo Schembechler to Jim Harbaugh. From the mid-1980s through the 2013 season, Brandstatter also served as an analyst on Michigan Wolverines Football Radio Network broadcasts. In 2014, he started calling play-by-play of all UM games on the network and will continue to do so.
Brandstatter got his start calling Detroit Lions games in 1987 on the Detroit Lions Radio Network. WJR has been the official partner of the team for the past two seasons.
The Lions released a statement of their own:
“As a color analyst for the Detroit Lions Radio Network for more than three decades, Jim Brandstatter helped bring together Lions fans everywhere. His unwavering passion and knowledge for the game of football, both as a broadcaster and former player, were instrumental to our radio broadcasts. We sincerely thank Jim for his countless contributions to our team over the years and for the positive impact he’ll continue to make in the football community.”
Lomas Brown also made mention of the move on Twitter:
HUGE shoes to fill. Replacing a legend but I’m up for and excited for the challenge. Gonna lean on y’all to provide constructive criticism through the process… https://t.co/M4bYpkGvAx
— Lomas Brown Jr. (@LomasBrown75) July 10, 2018
While the official reason for the firing remains unclear, it sounds like Brandstatter is already finding a silver lining in not having to work on Detroit Lions gamedays.
The news is fresh for Jim Brandstatter, but minutes after he found out, he told me he found a silver lining.
“I get to have Thanksgiving dinner. How about that? For the first time in 35 years. Thanksgiving dinner.”
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) July 10, 2018