SportsCenter anchor John Anderson is virtually a life-long Green Bay Packers season-ticket holder, graduating from the newly created kids section in the mid-70’s, to today’s pair in Lambeau Field’s North end zone.
He was already picturing himself at the 2011 home opener of the Super Bowl XLV champs while watching the second half of the Pack’s 31-25 win over Pittsburgh on TV last February in Building 4 on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus.
But just last week Anderson, SportsCenter’s long-time 11 p.m. anchor, was named Brian Kenny’s replacement on the 6 p.m. show. He explains why he won’t be at tonight’s game:
“I was going to watch the game from my seat in Lambeau, and, with a travel day in between, be at Saturday’s Missouri-Arizona State football game. But ESPN moved it to Friday, so, forced to choose, I decided on Arizona and my college buddies over Wisconsin and family. I’ll get them at Thanksgiving or Christmas.”
That on-air change broke up a perfect storm of sports & personal events for Anderson. The Green Bay native graduated from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with a bachelor’s degree in 1987, and came to ESPN from KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Ariz. where he was a weekend sports anchor.
“There will be golf involved with the watching of the game instead of the SportsCenter studio — where we can’t golf,” Anderson says of opting for the Arizona leg of his trip. But a return to Lambeau as champ would have been special, too.
“Winning is great for the city because the place is so tied to the franchise,” Anderson says. “If you ask somebody in Boston who Tom Brady plays for they will answer ‘The Patriots,’ but ask somebody in Green Bay who Aaron Rodgers plays for, they will tell you ‘He plays for us.’”
Anderson is just as emotional about his new job – joining Jay Harris anchoring “the 6.”
“The 11 is a much better parking situation, but the 6 is dinner time,” he explains. ”The 11 is driven more by games and highlights, while the 6 is about how and why it happened. It’s not so much a new role as a new schedule: the job is still to give our viewers and fans good and useful information – write it well and get the scores right.”