I kid you not this is my actual application to be the Radio Football Analyst for Wake Forest Football games for the 2017 season. Needless to say I did not get the job, nor an interview, but Mr. Wellman the A.D. did write me an nice letter “thanking me for my interest.” He was a pretty good sport about it. To show you how much of a longshot I was for this job, they hired a guy with no football playing experience (and my Mom and wife wonder why I yell at the announcers so much. My brother however gets it).
Well, here ya go! Some parts have been edited to protect the innocent, namely me.
Director of Athletics
Wake Forest University
I am writing you to apply for the vacant position of radio color commentator for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football Games.
Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first, and just as a heads up, this is probably not going to be your normal application. I haven’t enclosed a resume but my bona fides are easily researched. Bottom line though is, if you’re looking for football knowledgeable and entertaining I’m your guy. I do have college football experience. I played for Bill Dooley at Virginia Tech for 4 years and started every year, either on special teams as a freshman or for 3 years as center on one of the nation’s highest ranked running games. I made numerous all-star and all-America teams, so, whoop dee do for me.
I also have Wake Forest connections. I grew up right across the street from campus. Both of my parents, and my brother, went to Wake Forest, and my Father taught math in the 60’s. I would have gone to Wake Forest but you guys didn’t offer me a scholarship, so I went to Virginia Tech, who did offer me a scholarship. I mean what are you going to do? One place wants to pay you to come there and the other wants you to pay to go there, I’m not crazy. I know, because my mother had me tested. But since I didn’t go to undergrad at Wake, I stopped by a couple of years later for my MBA and ran the athletic dormitory for Bill Dooley when he was head coach. I almost got half the team suspended for a game. Oops!
Here’s what I bring to the table and, more importantly, what I won’t bring to the table. I grew up listening to the late, great Gene Overby, probably the greatest play by play man in the history of sports. If he had been alive when the Greeks invented the Olympics, he would have been their play by play guy. When I was growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s, Wake Forest didn’t win squat in football except for 1 year, under Coach Cal Stoll (I was a member of Cal’s Club) when they went 6-5 and somehow won the ACC. But we listened to Gene Overby call every game. Why? Because he was entertaining and didn’t blather on about coverages and “keys to success.” I’ll never forget his signature line, in basketball not football, “Skip Brown, from downtown…BOTTOM!!”
My biggest asset, you ask? I’m also an offensive lineman. Don’t you think everyone is pretty tired of listening to the “pretty boy” quarterbacks? They want to hear from us regular people. You know, from the fellas that do the real work. We’re the ones with the real stories. We’re the funny, entertaining ones. We had to be. Since we were big, mostly ugly with a face for radio, don’t get in the papers unless we screw up guys, in order to get girls we had to be funny. Otherwise, let’s face it; we would be pretty scary, and lonely, guys. You’ve been around sports a long time, so you know. Who would you rather hang around with, an offensive lineman, of which there are always at least 2 or 3 of us together, or a quarterback? If you don’t believe me, when Spring Practice rolls around this year, go down to the locker room, or film room, after practice one day and just listen in. Now that we’ve established that offensive lineman rule all, let’s move on to what I will or won’t do.
When you hire me, here is what I won’t do.
I will never say:
The word “trickeration”
The word “physicality”
“Shaken up on the play”
Unlike Clemson’s play by play guy, I will never say, “Ball spotted on the 53 yard line”
Every time I hear those phrases on the radio or TV I’m embarrassed for whomever said them. I’m not sure who invented the word physicality, but it was probably the same color man that just said “the receiver did a great job getting open”, when the defensive back fell down. And as far as “trickeration” goes, well that word is just stupid and I don’t know a fan who is tired of hearing it. Nobody is “shaken up”; it sounds like a James Bond martini. Son, this is Football, the real kind, it’s not played with a round ball and it’s not played at tea time in the Queen’s court. Maybe in the 70’s they got “shaken up,” but in today’s “grown up” football, “you get lit up like grandma on Christmas Eve.” Quarterback Keeper? I have never been in a huddle where the quarterback came in and called, “quarterback keeper on 1.” Do I even need to go further about the 53 yard line? If so, you guys really are in dire need of my services.
Here’s what I will do:
I will be entertaining, if you’ve gotten this far in the letter, it goes without saying.
I will not ask Coach Clawson probing questions on air, because he won’t answer them anyway. What I will ask is, “Okay Coach, what do you want us to know?” I don’t know about you, but I get tired of hearing sportscasters try to ask probing questions in order to sound informed and the coach gives them that perplexed look of “are you serious?” then never answers the question. The coach usually just says what’s on his mind anyway so I guess we might just as well ask the correct question in the first place. Saves more time for commercials and revenue, because that’s what we need in College Football, MORE COMMERCIALS!!
- I will however, initiate the caveat that if you want me to ask the opposing coach a probing question, then stick it to him for not answering the question and make him look bad, I will be more than happy to oblige. You know, ‘cause, “Go Deacs!”
I will make it fun to listen to Wake Forest games, so people will turn off the boneheads on ESPN and listen to the radio when the game is on TV.
I won’t make stuff up just to fill air time and sound informed. Unless of course it’s one of those interminable “under review” timeouts where it’s obvious what the call is, but the refs are talking on the head phones trying to figure out where they’re going to go eat after the game.
I will embarrass the Wake Forest student body so they’ll start attending the games. I mean for crying out loud, you’re in college, you go to home football games. If you won’t go to watch the games, at least go to meet girls and tailgate. What kind of college kid doesn’t go to football games? I know, the one who’s school doesn’t have an interesting color commentator.
When asked the obligatory, broadcast journalism, ridiculously irrelevant question, on air at the beginning of the game, “Mark, what does Wake Forest need to do to be successful today?” an example of my answer will be, “Well Stan, on offense they need to score more points than the other team. On defense they need to hold the other team to fewer points than the offense scores, or they need to make up the difference.” I mean seriously, do any of the “keys to success” ever pan out, or does anyone ever pay attention? I guarantee if I say “score more points than the other guys,” more people will pay attention. When more people pay attention to the “Pepsi keys to success,” Pepsi pays more. It’s my “more is more,” principle.
But finally, yes we are almost to the end, the biggest reason I am applying is that my mother says that I do a better job than any other color commentator she’s ever heard on Wake Forest radio, or anywhere else for that matter, and that I need to apply. Everybody knows, you do what Mamma says. My wife would say the same thing, but she doesn’t know anything about football. Just that they have great hot dogs at the stadium.
In case you get a wild hair, here is my contact information:
Mark R. Johnson
503 Not Main St.
Thank you for your time and attention and I won’t be holding my breath in anticipation of a response, but believe it or not, I am dead serious about this application. I just don’t think I have a serious shot. There are just too many pretty, ex-quarterbacks out there looking for work. But if you’re still reading, you must, at minimum, be intrigued. I am in Winston, quite regularly visiting Mom, so if you don’t have anything better to do, I am available whenever you like. You don’t even have to pay travel expenses. I already have a place to stay.
Mark R. Johnson