Desmond Howard finds success at ESPNWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It is hard to imagine anything that would intimidate former University of Michigan football standout Desmond Howard.
After winning a Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl MVP award, Howard’s latest career move, venturing into the world of television, has left him on pins and needles at times.
“I think I have done OK,” Howard said, referring to his fledgling broadcasting career. “The benefit I have over any other person is that when I go to work, I learn from the best.”
The “best” refers to Howard’s television cohorts on the set of ESPN’s “College GameDay.” Howard joined the trio of Chris Fowler, former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, and former collegiate coach Lee Corso in 2008, after retiring from the NFL.
“I am not just saying they are the best because I have worked with them,” he said. “I challenge anybody to find three analysts who are more talented than those three guys. I am very fortunate to be able to learn from them.”
Many would argue that there is no player greater qualified to analyze the game from the broadcast booth than Howard, because of on-the-field performances through the years.
An All-American at Michigan, Howard set or tied five NCAA records and 12 school records during his playing career. Besides the Heisman, he won the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards, en route to being a first round draft pick by the Washington Redskins.
Howard’s NFL career spanned 11 seasons, with the highlight coming in 1996 as a member of the Green Bay Packers during its Super Bowl victory. His 99-yard kickoff return in Super Bowl XXXI helped lead the Packers to a 35-21 win against the New England Patriots.
Howard is also known for his infamous “Heisman pose” during the 1991 Ohio State-Michigan game. After a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown, the former Wolverine struck the iconic pose in the end zone. Howard said it makes his trips to Columbus, with “College GameDay,” interesting.
“I love Columbus,” he said with a smile. “The fans make it challenging at times down there, but I don’t have any animosity toward the program. Some of my best friends are former Buckeyes.”
Howard has a unique perspective on the good-natured ribbing he takes from Buckeye fans.
“I was given the advice to take the taunts as a compliment. It means that you did good things in that game and you were successful in one of the biggest games of your career.”
Howard continues to be a big supporter of his alma mater too, despite Michigan’s recent struggles on the football field. When asked what he envisions for Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez and the 2010 Wolverines, Howard refused to predict what was in store for the team.
“I don’t really have a vision for them this season,” he said. “I am like the rest of you out there, sitting and watching what happens. I don’t have any influence on it and I can’t change any of it. So, I guess we will have to see what unfolds this season.”
Regardless of what unfolds this season at his former school, the College Football Hall of Fame inductee’s job as a member of the “GameDay” crew will continue. He said that while fun, the show is a lot of hard work, too.
“I think that there is a perception that it’s easy because people only see what’s going on when the cameras are on. To do two hours of live, unscripted television is not easy, and there is a ton of preparation that goes into it.”
“College GameDay” will begin its 24th season this fall with a new three-hour format. Howard said the secret to the show’s success is honesty with the viewers.
“We go out with the mindset of being ourselves every Saturday. We have fun interacting with each other and we all have an important role on the show. I am just grateful for the opportunity to work with them, and I am looking forward to another great season on the air.”
Chris Schmidbauer is sports editor for Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him via email at email@example.com. He also can be heard every Friday at 11 a.m. on the Odd Couple Sports Show on Fox Sports Radio 1230 WCWA.