Tom Hedrick: The one voice alive who called first S/B, Also trained Kevin Harlan doing his 12th tomw!
By David J. Halberstam   02/11/2023   1
Sunday, February 12
6:30 PM (ET) – Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
LAST OF THE MOHICANS – –TOM HEDRICK
The only man still standing of those who partook in Super Bowl I, sounds as sharp as a tack. CBS Radio asked Tom Hedrick about to join the broadcast team of the big championship game between the AFL and NFL. He was the season-long play-by-player for participant KC Chiefs. Fifty-six years later he talked about partnering with CBS’ Jack Drees and remembering every detail instantly events that day at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
One of the networks started the second half too quickly, when the other was still in commercial break. So the second half had to start all over again. Nutty!
Tom Hedrick knew that the league had big plans for the Bowl but he was unsure if it would reach today’s immeasurable heights. On TV, having two networks cover the same sporting event was most unusual, unless it’s a political conventional!
Kansas City was a franchise that was part of the old American Football League which merged with the National Football League on June 8, 1966. They wouldn’t play a merged schedule until 1970. It seemed to grow with every step. The team was owned by the conservative Hunts.
Tom Hedrick got $500 per game, $100 of which was for pre and post game Chiefs’ radio shows. He also did Reds baseball on TV where he overlapped with Al Michaels who called three years on radio, 1971-73. They were both hired by team GM, Dick Wagner. Hedrick told me he would have preferred radio over radio. Tom became a cogent professor and did on-air work too at KU.
Hedrick takes most pride in those he trained, most notably Kevin Harlan whom he taught at Kansas. Clippers TV voice, Brian Sieman. After thirty minutes on the phone with Tom whose voice is in fine fettle, you’re overblown by his quickness, speed and immediacy. It’s this time of year that we think of Hedrick who was behind the mic for three Super Bowls.
Capping it all is that Tom is the son of a preacher and a humble gentleman.
FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen,
SIDELINERS: Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi
RULES ANALYST: Mike Pereira
Pre/Post Broadcast Team:
Curt Menefee, Host
Terry Bradshaw, Analyst
Howie Long, Analyst
Michael Strahan, Analyst
Jimmy Johnson, Analyst
Rob Gronkowski, Contributor
Jay Glazer, Contributor
Charissa Thompson, Contributor
Sean Payton, Contributor
Charles Woodson, Contributor
Michael Vick, Contributor
Cooper Manning, Contributor
Peter Schrager, Correspondent
Kristina Pink, Correspondent
FXDEP: Adrian Garcia-Márquez, Alejandro Villanueva
Studio Team: Rodolfo Landeros, Jessi Losada
NFL Films World Feed: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis
ESPN International English: Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, Dan Orlovsky
ESPN Latin America: Eduardo Varela, Ciro Procuna, Pablo Viruega, John Sutcliffe
Studio Team: Sebastián Martínez-Christensen, TBA
Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Laura Okmin, Mike Golic
Rules Analyst: Gene Steratore –Studio Team: Scott Graham
Entravision: Ricardo Celis, Tony Nuñez
It’s Super Bowl Weekend, considered by many Americans as an informal national holiday! I remember it in 1967, watching it on a black and white set as a young high-schooler.
There was intrigue but hardly suspense, as I recall. Most thought it would be no more than a farce. The LA Coliseum was hardly sold out, that January 15th.
Fifty six years later there’s only one man alive who called SBI and he remembers it well. Tom Hedrick, now 88, was on the CBS Radio team, representing the KC Chiefs. Tom was later a teacher at KU and helped train, among many, the blessed voice, Kevin Harlan.
Commissioner Pete Rozelle allowed both CBS and NBC Radio, and TV, to distribute the broadcasts of the inaugural SB game.
CBS Radio – Jack Drees and Tom Hedrick
NBC Radio – Jim Simpson and George Ratterman
CBS TV – Ray Scott pxp (1st half), Jack Whitaker pxp (2nd half) and Frank Gifford
David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.