Black History + Sports Series: First African American Sports Commentator to do Play-by-Play for the Super Bowl

Gridiron Girls!

Today is Championship Day. Super Bowl XLVIII. Broncos vs. Seahawks. “Battle of the Quarterbacks.” Manning vs. Wilson. The Veteran vs. The Sophomore.

Super Bowl Sunday is a great way to kickoff our our Black History + Sports series! Sports is a high-octane microcosm of larger society  – the values, beliefs, and perceptions that drive the ways of a world. As such, strides in the sports world for African Americans have been symbolic gateways for breakthrough and changes in the broader society. Join us this month as we celebrate + recognize phenomenal Black athletes who have changed sports, and the world.

Greg Gumbel was the first African American announcer to call play-by-play of a major sports championship in the U.S. when he announced Super Bowl XXXV on CBS.

Gumbel was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Gumbel attended Loras College where he played baseball and graduated with the a B.A. in English.

In 1973, Greg was selling hospital supplies in Detroit when his younger brother Bryant Gumbel suggested he audition for Chicago TV station WMAQ-TV for a sports announcer position. Greg would work for the station for 7 years. Later moving to ESPN he anchored SportsCenter and did play-by-play for early NBA games.

In 1988 Gumbel began his career at CBS working as a part-time NFL announcer. From 1990 – 1993 he became host of The NFL Today alongside Terry Bradshaw. Gumbel commentated play-by-play for the NBA and MLB, including the ’93 American League Championship. A year later he served as the primetime anchor for the 1994 Winter Olympics.

In Gumbel’s second stint with CBS, he was the lead announcer for The NFL on CBS  for six years. In 1997 at Super Bowl XXXV, Ravens vs. Giants, Gumbel made history, becoming the first African American sports announcer to call play-by-play at a major sports championship and as well as the first African American to host the pre-game show and do play-by-play.

Gumbel has served alongside NFL great co-anchors Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esaison.

Over the past 40 years Greg Gumbel has become one the most recognized faces + voice in sports television.

Watch a Greg Gumbel speech here!

Enjoy the game!

Dreams + Reality do go hand-in-hand

Kristen, XoXo

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Posted on February 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Written by

Kristen Evans

Chicago grown, Kristen was raised on legendary sports teams like the Superbowl Shuffle '85 Bears and the 6x-Champion Bulls Dynasty. She earned her B.A. in Sports Management and Communications with minors in Health and Sociology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. At U of M she spent 3yrs in marketing and promotions for Michigan Athletics (Go Blue!) In the School of Kinesiology she was a contributing editor for Movement Mazagine and spent a summer abroad in China studying Olympic management and sports rehabilitation. Currently Kristen is a market researcher applying her skills of understanding fans' hearts and minds to global consumer brands. Additionally she's pursuing her Masters of Arts in Communications and Leadership with a concentration in Intercultural Media. To Kristen the game boils down to two things - heart and fundamentals. She's excited about helping women discover their love for the game and find their inner sports diva! Follow her on twitter @missartscritic.
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