Ryan O’Bryan Goes to Lucas Oil Stadium
I'll let you in on a little secret. Being on the air every weekday from 10am-2pm on 106-1 KISS-FM is not all I do around the station. On Friday nights, I moonlight on our sister-station, Newstalk 1280AM as the color commentator for their coverage of high school football. This is my second season in the commentator's chair and I love every minute of it. Especially when I get the opportunity to do what I did this past Saturday, call a game from an NFL stadium.
Admittedly, I don't know every single nuance of the game of football. The last time I actually played an organized game of football was back in 8th grade at Corpus Christi on the Westside and we were wearing flags. However, I've always been a fan of the game and over the years have picked up on the various aspects of offense and defense to where I like to think that I come across sounding like I know what I'm talking about when I call a game.
As color commentator, my job is "add color" to the play-by-play (which is handled extremely well by my co-worker, Jimmie Ford). When a wide receiver or running back breaks loose for a big gain, my responsibility is to explain why he was able to do it. When a defensive player sacks the quarterback or makes a good play that prevented the opposing team from gaining yards, I'm the one that tells you how it happened.
What I don't do is try to talk over your head. I won't talk about "A-gaps" or use other football terminology in part because I don't know all of it. I try to call the game from a fan's perspective because I am a fan myself. If a linebacker sacks the quarterback, it's because someone on the offensive line didn't do his job; which is exactly how I word it. Or if one player hits another player with the force of a 18 wheeler, it's not uncommon for me to let out a "Ohhhhhh!", because that's what I do at home when I'm watching a game.
This past Saturday, my moonlighting gig gave me the opportunity to do something special. I was able to call a game from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. My alma-mater, the Mater Dei Wildcats had been invited to play in the annual PeyBack Classic which is put on each year by Peyton Manning's PeyBack Foundation. Being a big Colts fan, I've been to the stadium a couple of times to see a game in person, but this trip gave me the ability to see it from a whole new perspective. To the average person, it would have been a cool experience just to be up there and see the game from that perspective, but for me it was the ability to sit the same press box that you see on TV on Sunday's (or Monday's), where guys I look up to as broadcasters such as CBS's Jim Nantz or NBC's Al Michaels sit to call the games. Chalk it up to a total geeky-broadcasting-thing.
I made a point to bring my camera along not caring a bit that I probably looked like one of those stereotypical Japanese tourists in New York City for the first time that you see in the movies. Chances are, the only way I get this opportunity again is if one of the Evansville area teams makes it to a state title game which is never a guarantee so I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the situation. Check out my photo-capturing abilities in the gallery below.