Throw yours in the comments too. Besides the Kick Six. Or you can pick the Kick Six, if you want. It was really good.
Verne Lundquist at Alabama in 2012, by Alex
The call is ultra-simple: “Snap from Patrick Lewis. Four-man Alabama rush. Got ‘eem. No, they didn’t! Oh, my gracious! How about that?”
It would make no sense on radio, and you couldn’t decipher what was happening if you didn’t have the play unfolding in front of you. But it was a TV call, a perfect mix of game-calling in astonishment and just letting the action and the crowd tell the story.
The thing I love most about Uncle Verne’s style is how he lets his shock come out of his body in real time, while staying composed enough to explain what he’s seeing. Here, partner Gary Danielson helps, chiming in “No, they didn’t,” just as soon as Johnny Manziel starts to dart out of the pocket. Verne’s voice rises rapidly, crescendoing with his stunned “Oh, my gracious!” into the delighted “How about that?”
The play is a thrill ride. So is the call.
HE HAS TROUBLE WITH THE SNAP, by Ryan
Sean McDonough only uses two words in the key part of this call. The first is “whoa.” The second is “unbelievable,” and it’s the last word McDonough utters before yielding to the anguish and elation echoing throughout Michigan Stadium.
Every other word between those two is entirely informational: who’s got the ball, what he’s doing with it, how much time is left. Written out, it tells you everything you need to know about what transpired without any catch phrases or embellishment. What McDonough says in this moment is almost clinical.
How he says those words is anything but. I don’t know how, but McDonough’s voice perfectly maps to your emotional stake in this game. If you’re a Michigan State fan, McDonough’s hollering like your uncle who just won $500,000 on a scratch-off. If you’re a Michigan fan, McDonough is your uncle who just set the patio on fire.
To marry factual narration with the tone of someone who is calling the local news to report an elephant commandeering a helicopter requires an ability and presence I cannot comprehend. Well struck, Sean McDonough.
Uncle Verne on South Carolina-Florida in 2006, by Richard
I didn’t hear the call live. I was at the game, losing my voice. If you ask anyone who was in that stadium, I bet they’ll tell you it’s the loudest they’d ever heard it (Florida’s head coach agreed). I don’t know how Verne cut through the din, but he did.
I think because Verne became a meme, we forget that in order for him to become the voice of our Saturdays, he had to become beloved. He really was one of the best, and the cadence here is what gets the chills going up my spine.
“Scott Morgan, Ike Crofoot, and most significantly Ryan Succop involved for South Carolina on this play.”
He delivers it as Succop takes his steps. Verne pauses briefly and lets the kick go up. And then he explodes like the rest of us.
“Urban Meyer has still not lost in the Swamp.”
“South Carolina has still not won in the Swamp.”
SACK TIME, by Jason
Doctors hate this one weird trick that turns a Michigan Wolverines game, ordinarily a staid affair, into knee-slapping wholesomeness: just listen to the homers’ radio broadcast.
DAN DIERDORF and JIM BRANDSTATTER (please say in all caps) deliver HEAVY-VOLUME blasts of MIDWESTERN POWER, the kind of power that believes all problems can be solved by keeping two safeties deep and having a DECENT four-man rush.
These two men have known each other since college (AT MICHIGAN) decades ago, yet their repartee remains at the perfect level: CRANKY STATLER-AND-WALDORF GOLF BANTER. An entire four-hour broadcast takes on the feel of listening to TWO DADS in a CLEAN GARAGE who don’t understand why GENERATION WHICHEVER can’t FORM TACKLE. There is also a sideline reporter who is a SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT MIDWESTERN DAD, for spice.
The Shutdown Fullcast created a tiny universe around these MICHIGAN MEN, adopting BRANDSTATTER’s “SACK TIIIME” call and dialing up the MIDWESTERN-ness by only like 1%, thus creating one of our three or four most beloved episodes ever. FELLAS, thank you.
MACK TIME, by Jason
One of the greatest feats of announcery was set up by a different feat: Mack Brown leaving his post as analyst for a Friday night Toledo-BYU game because he had to be across the country in Connecticut for ESPN duties the following day.
“We’re talking about some games you might want to go see, and apparently Mack’s got to leave us right now, otherwise you’re not going to see this shining face on your TV tomorrow,” said play-by-play commentator Adam Amin. “We’re going to miss you, pal. You sure you don’t want to stick around for the rest of this thing?”
”You’ve been working on [imitating] my voice, so maybe you can be me and you, and Molly [McGrath] can help,” Brown said.
So that is what happened. Amin handled both booth roles for the final quarter of the 108-point debacle, won by BYU at 2:30 a.m. ET.
How difficult was it to wear an additional hat, on the fly, without either boothmate knowing beforehand that it’d happen?
When asked to compare the BYU-Toledo thriller to a dish, Amin equated it to a serving of blowfish.
‘It’s like blowfish. It’s called fugu. It’s a poisonous sushi that’s really dangerous but it’s crazily good if prepared a very, very specific way,’ Amin said. ‘Being nervous in that stretch — 11 minutes without Mack in the booth — and the level of satisfaction of getting through that game with no real issues, and the sigh of relief to say, I ate it, I didn’t die... I think that might be the most accurate dish I can think of.’
“I hate to leave the game, but this is going to finish as one of the best games of the year,” Brown prophesied.
To this day, we honor Mack by leaving events as soon as we can.
Lee Corso cussing, by Floyd
He’s narrating his own pick on GameDay, so it counts a play-by-play call. Nothing captures the current mood better than Corso saying “ahh, fuck it” while throwing a bullhorn and putting on a Cougar head. Corso forever.
LET’S GOOOOOO, by Spencer
Winning a national championship as a fan of an excellent program feels good, but it’s not the biggest high a college football fan can get. For someone who likes a generally good team, the floor is too high; the gilded ceiling of success, too within reach. Alabama or Clemson fans have sports gout. The rich taste of success is great, yet causes them pain.
That’s a problem no fan of a struggler will ever sympathize with.
For strugglers, I have good news. There is a side benefit of failure, and it is the greatest high sports has to offer.
Going 10-2 might hobble an Alabama fan for a week. But beating a heavily favored team at the gun for no reason, amid a lifetime of football misery, when one has no real business beating said team? That can keep someone alive for years. That high lasts. It is shelf-stable, has no expiration date, and can be eaten straight from the can on days when nothing seems capable of bringing joy.
Winning yet another Bama championship will never, ever feel as good as being an Illinois fan who, on October 19, 2019, watched their team — for one shiny Saturday in a lifetime of rainy Mondays — blow up #6 Wisconsin’s season with a field goal.
I love this call not because Brian Barnhart, the Illini’s play-by-play guy, hits an iconic line. He’s very good, but it’s not his moment. This call belongs to the long-overlooked color guy, Martin O’Donnell. He played on Illinois’ 2007 Rose Bowl team. Before that season, O’Donnell watched and/or played in 38 Illinois losses and went winless in the conference twice. In five years as the color announcer, O’Donnell has called 41 Illinois losses — including the worst loss in Illinois history, a 63-0 debacling on their home field at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes. There might have been 400 people in the stands.
Illinois vs. Iowa sides of the stands. pic.twitter.com/Jm16r9UFFG— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 17, 2018
I love this because O’Donnell has watched as much bad football per life hour as anyone his age possibly could’ve. He’s watched more than doctors would recommend, and unless he was very bad in his previous life, more than he or any other Illini fan deserves to watch.
I love this because it took at least 16 years to get here. O’Donnell does exactly what I want a college football person to do when it all pays off. Live, and in the waiting ears of a listening radio audience, he loses his goddamn mind.