Rich Eisen on the Awful Announcing Podcast

Rich Eisen has excelled in numerous different roles over the course of his illustrious career, largely praised for all he has done in recent years for the NFL Network along with his own show on Roku. On top of that, he has also found himself with added responsibility this season in perhaps his most difficult role as a play-by-play NFL broadcaster.

Eisen found himself calling six games this season for NFL Network, an increase from the 2022-23 season for him, with some generally positive reviews at various points throughout the year.

In the most recent episode of the Awful Announcing Podcast with Brandon Contes, Eisen discussed a variety of different topics regarding his increased role in the broadcast booth, including the differences in calling NFL games to the various other roles he has held throughout his career and what has helped him make that transition.

He was first phrased a question on whether or not he wanted to pursue additional opportunities in the broadcast booth, which he very passionately answered yes to.

“Absolutely, I would,” said Eisen. “I have got enough to do otherwise, but it has materialized. I called six games this year, that’s like a third of a package. I’m thrilled to do it, and I do it in Europe. It’s unbelievable, these games feel like a Super Bowl in Germany and London. Love it, absolutely love it.”

As an NFL broadcaster, you obviously need to be able to break down a play at any given moment, a far different situation than his role hosting NFL Gameday Morning or on his own radio show which allows far more time for preparation.

He discussed these difficulties that come with his play-by-play duties, comparing himself to Paul Revere with the requirement to break down a situation for viewers at home.

“My entire job is to talk about something in advance on Gameday Morning, or this show, or back in the day on SportsCenter. I talk about everything before it happens or react to it after it happens. When you are calling a game, you’re like the Paul Revere. You’re letting them know whether they are coming by land or by sea, by air or by ground. You are informing in real time. It’s a totally different endeavor.

“Like this show, you can’t have dead air. You can pause for effect or pause for a few seconds to collect your thoughts. But when you’re calling games, you better have dead air. You better let the crowd noise through the television set. You’ve got to set them up. It’s a totally different endeavor.”

Eisen then shared that he actually reached out to Al Michaels upon first starting play-by-play duties for advice on what the “trick of the trade” was when it came to broadcasting.

“I don’t care, I am proud of this. When I first started calling games with regularity I called up Al Michaels. And I said to him ‘What is the trick of the trade?’ I realized what I was doing was I was stringing sentences together because that is what I do for a living. When you string sentences together calling a game, you are talking over the air your analyst should be having. You are talking over parts of the game where you should shut up and let the crowd noise through. I’ll never forget it, he told me captions and ellipses. You don’t have to finish your sentence. Let the picture and the caption finish the sentence. It turned a lightbulb on in my head.”

Even though plenty did enjoy Eisen in the broadcast booth at points throughout the season, others do feel that he is perhaps better suited for a studio role that he is more accustomed to.

Eisen acknowledged these critiques, including our poll of the 2023 NFL announcer rankings where fans ranked he and Kurt Warner as the second-lowest-ranked broadcast team, saying that he truly believes he has the skills to become an excellent broadcaster.

“That is unfortunate, and it means that I have more work ahead of me with more opportunities. I’m gonna keep doing it with the amount of opportunities I get. And I feel deep down with my abilities as a broadcast that I can get outstanding at it. And that is with all humility here. I take it seriously bit time. And god do I love doing it.”

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About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.