I am not cool. I did not go to parties in high school or college. I still don't like going out. My comfort zone has always been sports. I fell in love with sports because it was an exciting world and welcoming place for me. It still is. I see sports TV personalities more than I see some of my closest friends and they are familiar parts of my life. To me, Saturday mornings in the fall would be incomplete without a bagel, iced coffee, and a conversation with my good friends Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and Lee Corso. Pat McAfee has been a welcome addition. On a crisp fall Saturday night, with the leaves an array of orange and gold, there is nothing that I want to hear more than Gus Johnson calling a big game.
Gus Johnson is known for his unique catchphrases and unmatched enthusiasm in the booth during big moments. Some of his more famous calls include screaming "He's got gettin' away from the cops speed!" when CJ2K broke off a long touchdown run during his 2,000 yard season and "You got barbecue back there - and you didn't invite me?! Hurt. My. Feelings." after Denzel Ward caused destruction in the Maryland backfield.
Gus Johnson has been in the booth for many of the biggest moments in the histories of college football and college basketball over the course of his career at CBS Sports and Fox Sports. He has formed legendary partnerships with Charles Davis and Joel Klatt. Gus is immediately identifiable by the sound of his voice and the tenacity of his passion. I feel a rush of joy when he says "howdy partner" as he fist-bumps Klatt in the intro shot of the broadcasters before a great Big Ten football game. Johnson has the it factor - the big-game voice that all top play-by-play announcers need to properly narrate moments that will live forever. It is Johsnon's ability to pair his physical talent with creative and one of a kind catchphrases that makes him one of the best announcers of his generation.
Announcing crews have always been a big part of my life. I spend multiple hours (sometimes days) a week in the fall watching football games with them. I read about the behind-the-scenes drama in the announcing world and I listed to podcasts discussing the business side of sports media (h/t Andrew Marchand of the NY Post and John Ourand of SBJ, the best in the business for this kind of coverage). When Gus Johnson returns to my TV set every fall, it doesn't just signal a return to football season. The feeling is more like that of a senior in high school walking into the cafeteria on the first day of school for morning meeting and seeing his friends that he has been away from for a few months. It's a feeling of "This is my close friend. We have made memories together and we are back to do it again."
I love Gus Johnson. He made a loner excited on Saturday nights for years. Each year we add countless memories to that rolodex and will continue to do so for (hopefully) at least another decade. Gus Johnson is my party anthem. On a Saturday night in the fall, I want to hear him rock.
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