Uncle Verne

Not only was yesterday the annual playing of the Army-Navy football game (with Army winning 21-17 to end a 14-year loss streak), but it was what may likely be the last football game broadcasted by Verne Lundquist, the veteran CBS announcer. (He will still be around for NCAA basketball and the Masters golf tournaments, but he admitted in his farewell that he loves college football the most.) Even President-Elect Donald Trump paid him a visit and chatted with him and analyst Gary Danielson for a bit to start the second half.

You may have noticed in recent posts I have strong opinions on what makes a PBP guy good, and what doesn’t. On television, the play-by-play guy should be a tour guide, and when the big moments come, let the images speak for themselves. In any medium, if you’re going to say something, make sure it adds something to the moment. Much like Al Michaels of ABC, and now NBC, Verne had a lot of those moments, including the famous “Yes, sir!” when Jack Nicklaus took the lead at the 1986 Augusta Masters.

My personal favorite? His call of Christian Laettner’s shot as Duke beat Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight, 104-103 in overtime. The call was perfect in its simplicity, and perfectly captured the tension and excitement of the moment.

“There’s the pass to Laettner.  Puts it up… YES!”

Yes, Verne. The jaded sports fan won’t admit it, of which there are too many out there. But you will be missed in the Saturdays of the fall in the seasons ahead.


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