Athens, GA (Nov 19, 2007) - "Hey I feel very lucky to have this job and want to make sure I am doing it right," former National Football League (NFL) Quarterback turned Television Analyst Dave Archer (right) said in response to his Lincoln Financial Sports stage manager thanking him for being back and ready for his halftime segment. Standing in the Sanford Stadium television booth for last Saturday's fame between the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the University of Georgia Bulldogs, Archer is finishing up his first full season as a color analyst for Lincoln Financial Sports' telecasts of Southeastern Conference (SEC) football games. The opportunity came about unexpectedly when long time analyst Dave Rowe had to leave the broadcast booth because of medical complications from surgery last spring.
"I got the call from Jimmy [Rayburn] in July. I thought something was going to be in the works, but it was not official until then," said Archer during a break between pre-game rehearsal and kickoff. "It was only a short time before the season started, but I was confident in taking on the new role."
Taking on new roles and assignments is not foreign to Archer. He played for Iowa State University, but was undrafted despite breaking eight Big 8 records and twelve school records earning him a place in the Iowa State Hall of Fame, as well as being named to the All Big-8 team. In 1986, he replaced Falcons Quarterback Steve Bartkowski, who had been released, and led the Falcons to a solid 5-1-1 start. After leaving the Falcons, he played in the Canadian Football League, where in five seasons he completed 1388 of 2434 passes (57%) for 20671 yards with 71 interceptions and 120 touchdown passes.
"I love college football," said Archer. "it is all about passion and tradition. Traveling to different SEC stadiums this year has been a real treat. There is nothing better than going to Auburn with the War Eagle tradition, Arkansas has the WHOO Pig Sooee cheer, and here at UGA you have the Hedges. The NFL is about business. This..the passion..this is what makes college football so special. The guys on the field playing their hearts out for their schools."
With the passion comes extra work for Archer. In addition to his SEC football responsibilities, he is also the game analyst for the Atlanta Falcons radio network. "With radio," he says, I have one day of preparation because I already know the Falcons inside and out. With these games, it is at least two days of preparation because I have two different teams to learn about most weeks."
Did he feel nervous or any anxiety stepping into the shoes of Rowe, who spent 13 years as the color analyst for Jefferson Pilot Sports (and then Lincoln Financial Sports after the acquisition of Jefferson Pilot Sports in 2006). "Not at all," says Archer. "I look at it as a transition that happens with time. Dave had his style and I have mine."
Archer says he did not have any broadcast role models growing up, but there were the distinct voices he remembers with fondness. "When I was a kid, there was not nearly as much football on TV as there is now. So there was a core group of announcers I watched and enjoyed like Chris Schenkel and Keith Jackson. To me, they were the voice of college football."
And there it seems there was no difficulty in the transition for Dave Neal, his broadcast partner. When asked if it was hard for Neal, his wife just laughed and said "You have got to be kidding me! Who do you think he plays golf with?"
The Lincoln Financial Group recently announced the sale of the sports production properties to Raycom. When asked what the impact for him would be, Archer simply said."I am too far down the food chain to know or worry about what this will mean for me after the season. Right now I am having loads of fun doing this and I love it."
So for at least two more weeks, Archer will be enjoying the ride and fueling his love and passion for football.
Football Photograph Courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons.