Merrill Reese. Photograph provided by Matt Mirro
“It’s Gooooood!!! And the Eagles win! Cody Parkey wins the game with a field goal!” exclaimed Merrill Reese.
Only a few play-by-play sports broadcasters can capture the raw and heightened emotion of a game in the comfort of your own living room. Known as the official voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, Merrill Reese has garnered many accolades and critical acclaim over the past 46 years in the industry. Some may enter the field for recognition, but Reese does it for the love of the game. With no intention of retiring anytime soon, Reese brings wisdom, passion, positivity and determination into everything he does.
At a young age, Merrill Reese had a strong passion for sports. Although he quickly realized he wasn’t going to be the quarterback of the team, this did create a pivotal point for him. He realized his other passion, which was radio. It was then he knew what his future would be, “I went out to the stadium. [And] I would look out at the broadcast booth and say maybe one day that will be me. I always wanted to be the play-by-play broadcaster.” And ever since then, he never looked back.
Reese studied communications at Temple University. During this time, he broadcasted football, baseball and the Big 5 college basketball. When entering the field, he tells college students, “[T]hat’s early in your broadcasting career where a million people say no[.] But then, if you’re made of the right stuff, you bounce back and you continue your pursuit. [Y]ou have to believe in yourself.” This determination would elevate him to the next phase of his career.
After serving in the U.S. Navy in public affairs, Reese quickly found work in radio. He obtained roles at different radio stations such as WPAZ Radio and 1490 WBCB. When landing his famous role, Reese was one of 90 people auditioning for summer replacement work at the flagship station WIP, for the Philadelphia Eagles Football Network. After six months of callbacks, it led him to where he is today.
When doing play-by-play for the Eagles, there are some key considerations that Merrill Reese does when broadcasting. He always has a degree of separation when doing play-by-play, and never says “us” or “we.” He states it gives a degree of separation and he lets his vocal tone tell the story. In addition, he also does 60+ hours of prep work to be well equipped for the games. Some of the building blocks of his career would be not limiting himself, keeping his options open for new opportunities and being an avid reader as it enriches a vocabulary and helps when broadcasting.
With a long history in the NFL, and even longer in the world of sports broadcasting, Merrill Reese still maintains his dynamic baritone as he captures the hearts of many Philadelphia Eagles fans. Through his determination, positivity, wisdom and passion for the game, it’s no surprise that he’s not leaving anytime soon.
Cherry Kivumbi is a fourth-year Media and Culture major. CK962992@wcupa.edu.