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Eagles announcer Merrill Reese pulls a Tony Romo, ESPN criticized for Union broadcast

“The prophetic words of Merrill Reese,” said Mike Quick, Reese's radio broadcast partner for the past 23 seasons. “How do you do that?”

Longtime Eagles announcer Merrill Reese (left) sounded a bit like CBS analyst Tony Romo on Sunday.
Longtime Eagles announcer Merrill Reese (left) sounded a bit like CBS analyst Tony Romo on Sunday.Read moreAP Photos

Merrill Reese has been calling Eagles game for 44 seasons. Maybe that’s why he seemed a bit clairvoyant Sunday.

During Sunday’s win, the Eagles defense at times struggled to stop the Jets’ passing game, led by rookie Zach Wilson. But early in the fourth quarter, with the Jets mounting a comeback attempt, Reese said Wilson was due for an interception.

The very next play, Wilson sailed a pass that was picked off by Eagles safety Marcus Epps.

“The prophetic words of Merrill Reese,” said broadcast partner and former Eagles receiver Mike Quick. “How do you do that?”

Since becoming the top NFL analyst at CBS after his retirement in 2017, Tony Romo has become known for his ability to predict plays. A 2019 review by the Wall Street Journal found that Romo got 68% of his predictions correct that season, earning him the nickname “Romostradamus.” Though recently, Romo has toned things down a bit.

“Yeah, I think I’ve probably done it less on purpose a little bit,” Romo told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch prior to the Super Bowl earlier this year. “I don’t consciously try and do it or not do it. I like to be able to do multiple things. ... You might be right in the sense that I probably have throttled that back a little bit. But there’s always a time I’ll bring it out, especially if it’s a fun time to do it.”

Reese also offered a bit of snark in the second quarter, when Kenneth Gainwell’s 18-yard touchdown run put the Eagles up 21-18. Reese took the opportunity to mock Jets kicker Alex Kessman, who struggled during the game and missed two extra points.

“With the score, the Eagles, who can make extra points, 21. The Jets, who can’t, 18,” Reese said.

Reese has been the voice of the Eagles since 1977, and is the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer in the NFL. Over the past 23 seasons, he’s called games alongside former Eagles wide receiver Mike Quick, and the two are under contract through the 2024 season.

If you’re looking for an easy way to listen to Reese and Quick call Eagles games, you can download the Eagles app and play their radio feed through your phone live during games. It’s not difficult to sync it up with the television broadcast, and the sound quality is good when streamed through smart speakers.

» READ MORE: NBC looks to keep Cris Collinsworth, ESPN’s Jay Williams is upset by his own quote

ESPN criticized over poor quality of Union broadcast

The Philadelphia Union lost at home to New York City FC in the MLS Eastern Conference final on Sunday, but more fans seemed upset at ESPN.

Throughout the game, which aired locally on 6ABC, the picture quality of the main camera was shockingly bad for such a high-profile match-up, especially compared to FS1′s broadcast of the Western Conference final between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake.

Here’s how Saturday’s Western Conference final looked on FS1 Saturday:

And here’s the quality of Sunday’s Eastern Conference on ABC:

The poor quality of the broadcast didn’t go unnoticed, considering it was arguably the most important game in the Union’s history.

“ESPN airing the MLS east final in beautiful 480p,” Defector Media’s Dan McQuade snarked on Twitter. “Let me just add to the chorus that this game looks like someone’s Periscope stream,” wrote Arielle Castillo, a content manager for Manchester City F.C. “The main feed looks like the players are made of Tetris pieces,” said North Carolina State goalkeeping coach Justin Bryant.

So what happened? It remains unclear. An ESPN spokesperson said the company is aware of the problem with the main camera feed during the broadcast, and is looking into what caused it.

In recent months, ESPN has received a healthy dose of complaints over the broadcast quality of some games.

Last month, the network said it would replace outdated equipment that resulted in low-quality broadcasts during some Pac-12 games after Oregonian columnist John Canzano discovered the broadcast of an Oregon-Washington State game was using equipment made 10 to 15 years go that “would have made 1988 proud.”

ESPN will broadcast the MLS Cup Final between New York City FC and the Portland Timbers on Saturday on ABC.

» READ MORE: The night COVID-19 beat the Philadelphia Union

Quick hits

  1. Speaking of Romo, the highly paid CBS analyst nearly sounded like his former teammate Jason Witten during the fourth quarter of the Ravens-Steelers game. Romo was apparently trying to quote a Toby Keith song, but mangled it a bit. Best part might be Jim Nantz dryly interrupting Romo to get back to the game by saying, “Just a foot away for a first.”

  1. Think Minshew mania hasn’t hit Philadelphia? This video from NBC10′s John Clark of the Eagles’ backup quarterback celebrating with his father, Flint, following the Birds win over the Jets has already been viewed more than 4.5 million times. By the way, Minshew said his Top Gun outfit was a homage to his parents — “That movie was their first date,” he told reporters following the game.

  1. Meanwhile, here’s how the New York Post played the Jets’ loss to the Eagles and the Giants’ loss to the Dolphins on the back page of Monday’s newspaper.

  1. Peyton and Eli Manning will be back tonight on ESPN2 hosting their wildly popular Monday Night Football alternate telecast for Patriots-Bills, and among their guests will be former late-night talk show host David Letterman. ESPN said the Manning brothers committed to doing 10 games this season, including a playoff game, and tonight would be their ninth.

  2. Classy move by the Flyers to honor Phil Weinberg, the team’s longtime attorney who died unexpectedly last week while recovering from surgery.