Few play-by-play men are as versatile as Ian Eagle. The sportscaster is the voice of NFL and NCAA mens basketball games on CBS, and has also called US Open tennis matches and PGA golf for the broadcast network.
For the upcoming season, CBS is pairing Eagle with analyst Dan Fouts in the broadcast booth.
SportsNewser spoke to Eagle at an NFL on CBS press event earlier this week about his new broadcast partner, and how being a sportscaster has evolved over the last decade.
SportsNewser: Are you looking forward to working with Dan Fouts in the broadcast booth?
Ian Eagle: Every analyst I have worked I have learned something new from them. Mark May, when I originally came to CBS in 1998, Solomon Wilcots, who I worked with for eight years, so I had the offensive lineman, the safety, then I worked with Rich Gannon so I had the quarterback perspective, and now with Dan Fouts a new perspective as well. I am really excited. He is a hall of famer, and the man has an impressive beard, there are a lot of positives there. I can’t grow a beard, so I respect that. The reality, in all seriousness, is that now more than ever you are judged as a team. Fans will say, ‘I like these guys’ or ‘I don’t like these guys.’ Being in sync and building that chemistry, which I think with Dan will build very quickly.
Are there any matchups or games you are looking forward to in particular this season?
I always enjoy getting a Jet game, because it is 17 minutes from my house, so that is always a positive. I have a feeling because of Dan’s location, he lives out in never never-land in Oregon, I think we will be seeing more west coast games, and maybe a few more Charger games. It’s not the worst job in the world when you to go out to San Diego.
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen as a broadcaster since you started at CBS?
From the day I got the job here in 1998, until now, some of the biggest changes have been seeing the fan response, which has grown exponentially, and the fact that everybody in the viewing audience now has more information than ever before. I think that if anything plays a bigger role in how I prepare for games it is that. With social networking and the amount of material that is available online. As the play-by play guy you have to be better. You have to step up your game, because all those storylines that have been covered during the week, they are old by Sunday. Fans are smarter, and that is a good thing, it makes you better at your job.
So fans are responding more directly now?
There was a time in this business where as a broadcaster you didn’t know how the fans were reacting to the job you were doing, unless you walked into a local watering hole or met some buddies for dinner. Now within seconds you know how the fans feel about your work. And the way I have looked at it, it can be constructive, if you approach it the right way. It has been more of a positive than a negative.
You can also go the Chad Ochocinco route and take to Twitter
That is the other option [laughs] I don’t know that I have that much leeway.