There's something special about Lambeau Field regardless if it's a preseason game or a game of tiddlywinks. It also was a place that I dreamt about being in when I was a kid in the stands many eons ago. Saturday night I won't be wearing the green and gold like I did as a nine year old as I will wear the Texans logo proudly in the first preseason game for the Texans in 719 days. Every preseason opener takes me back to my first broadcast ever and it starts a new Daily Brew segment called Storytime with Uncle John.
Man, I really wish my name were Buck. Then, it could be...oh forget it, many of you are too young to remember the John Hughes classic, starring John Candy, Uncle Buck.
Anyhow, my first preseason game and my first time down on the sideline for our game broadcasts was in 2014. The whole traveling portion of this job was an eyeopener in a great way to say the least, but I was still sort of nervous about the actual important part of my job - being the sideline reporter for the Texans. The morning of the game Marc Vandermeer talked me through a few different things and just reassured me that I'd be okay, don't be nervous, just do what you've always done. Then, he added a few nuts and bolts of the job, including the line "you're always in my ear, in queue." In essence, he would hear anything that I said throughout the game. I could help him with the yard line, the tackler, whether a guy was in bounds or not. The things that I've grown over the years to whisper in his ear that you don't hear on the air.
What I didn't know was that I was also in Andre's ear. Our esteemed game analyst and one of my great friends after eight years of doing this job Andre Ware was about to get an earful. And, I had no idea. So, the game against the Cardinals starts and every time Marc stopped talking I'm giving him every single detail.
"Watt is near Clowney on the same side."
"I think this is cover two."
"Oh, man, Fitzgerald just made a great catch."
The whole first drive and if you remember that drive, the Cardinals went up and down the field in short order on a scaled down Texans defense. They kicked the extra point and Marc couldn't get into the break fast enough. In the nicest way possible, he goes…
"Johnny, calm down, we ALL can hear you."
My heart sank. I was talking in Andre's ear every single time that he was trying to talk. Now, that might sound easy when you're chatting on the phone with a friend or a contentious discussion with a loved one, but in our broadcasting world, trying to make a salient football point with someone chatterboxing in your ear is incredibly hard to do.
"THAT WAS YOU?!?"
I apologized profusely and wondered if Andre was going to despise me forever. Luckily, I shut up and let the two of them do their job that night and every night after that. Suffice to say, it's been a blast ever since.
I can't even do the math on the number of games we've done together, but Saturday begins eight years of doing this with those two brothers from other mothers. I'll definitely stay quiet for the whole first series on Saturday night, just in case.
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