It’s not the way a team wants to be represented on Super Bowl Sunday, but there will be a former Kansas City Chief in the broadcast booth when the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The long-time play-by-play voice of the Chiefs, Kevin Harlan, will be handling those same duties for Westwood One. Randy Covitz caught up with Harlan to talk about what makes the biggest game in the world even bigger for him.
That it’s the Packers, for whom his father, Bob, served as a top executive for nearly 40 years, facing the Pittsburgh Steelers only adds to the moment for Harlan’s first radio call of a Super Bowl.
“When it looked like they were going to win the NFC championship game, with 37 seconds on the clock and they went into victory formation,” said Harlan, who handled the radio broadcast of the Packers’ victory over Chicago two weeks ago, “that’s when I’m thinking about my dad, and all the years he was there … his fingerprints are still very much on that organization.
“I do their preseason games on television, so I think it will really hit me on Sunday when I’m in that booth …”
But once the Super Bowl starts, Harlan, 50, will cut the family ties, for at least three hours. He’s had to forget previous associations during other broadcasts such as when CBS assigns him to his alma mater for Kansas basketball games (including last spring’s NCAA tournament loss to Northern Iowa) or to Chiefs games, for whom he patented his “Oh baby, what a play!” call during 1985-93.
Are there any teams in the country that were able to deliver a better 1-2 punch than Harlan and Mitch Holthus? Most franchises are just happy if they are lucky enough to get one elite play-by-play voice and here are the Chiefs able to replace one with another.
No matter how long he has been away from Kansas City, all I can think of when I hear Harlan call a college basketball game on CBS or Monday Night Football on Westwood One is the Chiefs.
I definitely look forward to hearing the highlights of Harlan calling the game on Monday morning.