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UPCOMING EVENTS

Merrill Reese is a Hall of Fame Broadcaster and Hall of Fame Person

Long-time Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese is a Hall of Famer. This is not news to anybody who knows Reese. However, the NFL will make it official on August 2nd when Reese receives the prestigious Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for 2024.

According to a news release by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, “Reese will be honored during the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week, which includes the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner in downtown Canton on Friday, August 2, and the Class of 2024 Enshrinement on Saturday, August 3, in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.”

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He will join past Pro Football Hall of Fame Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award winners, including Fred Gaudelli, John Facenda, Al Michaels, John Madden, Pat Summerall, and Curt Godwy, among others.

There are so many reasons why Merrill Reese is a Hall of Famer.

Starting with his booming baritone voice and distinctive, often imitated (many Philadelphians do a Merrill Reese impression) but never duplicated style.

Reese has already been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and Temple University’s (his alma mater) Communications Hall of Fame.

Reese became the “Voice of the Eagles” in 1977. The 2024 season will mark his 48th consecutive season as the Eagles play-by-play announcer.

Reese is the longest-serving current play-by-play announcer in the NFL.

I’ve lived all over the country. I can think of no other city where people turn down the sound on national television broadcasts to listen to local announcers. In Philadelphia, Eagles games are synced with the largest cable provider and people really do turn down the television sound and turn up Merrill Reese and broadcast partner Mike Quick.

Reese called the Eagles Super Bowl LII victory in 2018, including the infamous “Philly Special” play, quoted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame release: “Foles in the gun. Clement to his right. Now lines up behind Foles. Foles moves to the right, and it goes directly to Clement, and Clement reverses it, and it goes into the end zone…And it’s a touchdown by Nick Foles!

While Merrill tasted the “Thrill of victory” in 2018, during three other visits to the “Big Game,” he knew the “Agony of defeat.”

But there are so many other calls that Reese has given testimony to, including: “The Miracle at the Meadowlands” (1978) and “The Miracle at the Meadowlands II” (2010), and his trademark, “It’s gooood!” after Jake Elliot’s 61-yard game-winning field goal against the New York Giants in 2017.

Then there’s Reese’s frankness. While he’s an unapologetic Eagles fan, he calls it out when the team or a player isn’t playing well, sometimes irritating the team’s management.

Life doesn’t begin and end with the football season. He takes part in so many community and charitable events. Many are on behalf of the Eagles, but many are not.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Reese is an ambassador for the City of Brotherly Love. He’s made guest appearances on “The Goldbergs” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

My first programming experience in Philadelphia was in 1985. That’s when I became an Eagles fan, and part of the attraction was Merrill Reese’s booming voice and passionate play-by-play calls.

I didn’t meet Reese working in Philadelphia in the 1980s or 1990s. The third time was the charm. I was named program director of WIP-AM in 2007. In 2008, I added responsibilities as operations manager for WPHT-AM, WYSP-FM (now WIP-FM), and WIP-AM. WYSP became the Eagle’s flagship radio station in 1992 (a fantastic story unto itself for another time).

Finally, I met and got to know Merrill Reese.

I saw firsthand the preparation Reese puts into each broadcast and his passion for football, especially for the Eagles. But I’ve never seen anybody who loves what they do more than Reese – and it shows.

Reese has said many times that he will never willingly retire. Believe him.

During my eight years as WIP’s Operations Manager, I was fortunate to develop a close bond with Reese. He was a mentor and one of my most trusted advisors. During football season, we spoke often – sometimes multiple times daily. During the off-season, we talked a couple of times weekly.

Reese is not only an extremely knowledgeable football announcer but also an astute observer of the broadcasting industry. He had an ownership stake and was the VP/GM of a suburban Philadelphia station for over three decades. He accurately predicted the successes and failures of WIP and other stations. His advice helped me avoid numerous mistakes.

My children grew up knowing him as “Uncle Merrill.” They would visit him at least once a season in the broadcast booth during half-time.

When my son was in second grade, there was a class assignment to have a relative with a unique job come in and talk about their work. My son asked, “Uncle Merrill,” who happily obliged and was a huge hit. It was amusing how many parents found a reason to attend school that day.

To this day, I bleed green. Even living 1,000 miles from Philly, I still listen to every Eagles broadcast by Merrill Reese and Mike Quick.

When I think about everything I miss about the Delaware Valley, Merrill Reese is right there at the top of the list.

Merrill Reese is a Philadelphia institution and treasure, and this August, he will be a well-deserved Pro Football broadcast Hall of Famer.

But Merrill Reese is more than a Hall of Fame broadcaster. He’s a Hall of Fame person.

Andy Bloom
Andy Bloomhttps://barrettmedia.com
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.

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