Father, son will share ESPN2 booth

<em style=”b”>Edited by USA TODAY.</em>

By MICHAEL HIESTAND

USA TODAY

Bob Griese and his son, Brian, are often told they sound

alike.

But as they work ESPN2’s Minnesota-Purdue game together

Saturday, they might sound different than they do normally.

“We have a natural way of jabbing each other,” Brian says.

“When we’re together, we always have a need to poke at each

other,” Bob says.

As they match up, Brian has the size, but Bob has a big edge in

experience. After starring as a quarterback at Purdue and with the

Miami Dolphins, Bob, starting in 1982, called five years of NFL

games on NBC and then joined Keith Jackson to call ABC’s main

college

football games. Brian, after

retiring in 2008 from an 11-season quarterbacking NFL career, is in

his second on-air season for ESPN/ABC.

Bob didn’t expect Brian to follow him into TV, or even into

football. “I told my three sons,

‘Don’t plan on doing what I did, playing NFL

football. And pick a

college for an education, not its

football program. If you want to

play

football, you can walk on.’ “

Brian ended up being named Rose Bowl MVP when he led Michigan to

the national title in the 1997 season – after not following in

Bob’s footsteps. Bob recalls Brian telling him Purdue “did the best

job recruiting me and wants me the most.” But he felt it would be

too much to try to follow his father in becoming a Boilermaker. So

Brian went to Michigan as a walk-on – getting a scholarship within

weeks.

Bob called Brian’s Rose Bowl and was overcome with emotion when

his son was named MVP. But initially, Bob wasn’t assigned to call

his son’s games until, Brian says, “they figured it might be good

TV.”

Bob didn’t cut his son much on-air slack. When Brian was playing

Ohio State, Bob said the Buckeyes needed “to pressure the Michigan

quarterback. They’ve got to hit him.” That, Brian says, drew fire

from a key critic: “His mother, my grandmother, called him to say,

‘Don’t you dare talk about my grandson that way!’ “

Could Saturday’s game, with the Grieses working a three-man

booth with announcer Dave Pasch, lead to more Griese on-air

pairings?

“We’ll see where it goes,” Bob says. And if it’s going to

happen, Brian says, there’s no point in waiting: “It’s not like

he’s getting any younger. He’s already collecting Social

Security.”