Sage Enberg advice to Nantz: Less is more at the Super Bowl

Jim Nantz is hardly a kid. At 53, he will be calling his third Super Bowl Sunday for CBS.

Nantz, though, has tremendous reverence for the broadcasters who helped paved the way for him and others. He never misses an opportunity to learn from the great ones.

Last week in San Diego, Nantz had dinner with Dick Enberg. Now 78, the broadcast legend called eight Super Bowls for NBC.

Nantz said Enberg gave him some advice on calling the big game.

“He told the story of doing the Super Bowl in 1983,” Nantz said. “He (and analyst Merlin Olsen) were getting feedback in their headsets the whole first quarter. He couldn’t get to the third or fourth word before it was coming back. It created confusion for them. So they talked in that first quarter in short. clipped phrases.

“Eventually, the problem was fixed, but they walked out of the booth at game’s end all upset because they felt like they got off to a rough start in the first quarter.

“They went back to a party they were hosting after the game. Everyone said, ‘You guys never sounded better. That first quarter was amazing. Everything was just jumping off the screen. The energy, it was awesome the way you guys played against that crowd noise.’

“Dick passed that on to me as a teaching point. It’s one of those games where the old phrase, ‘less is more’ is probably very appropriate.”

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus then chimed in, “So Jim, we’ve made a note for our audio team. Put feedback in Jim’s headset.”

Nantz added: “In a Super Bowl broadcast, you do the things you’ve always done. We are there to do a football game. Often we don’t have the luxury of going to even a second or third sentence. It’s highlights and on to the next play.”



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