Sunday NFL Countdown’s “Journey” teams spoken-word poet and violinist

“The Journey” – a spoken-word rap and poetry segment that opened the Super Bowl XLVII edition of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown in 2013 – returns for the popular weekly pregame show’s full season in 2014..

This time, the segment has two key accompaniments: a Grammy-nominated hit song and critically-acclaimed hip-hop violinist Josh Vietti.

Every NFL Sunday morning, spoken-word poet/rapper Yaw (the stage name of Yaw Ofori-Atta) will provide his take on top league storylines picked by Countdown coordinating producer Greg Jewell and producer Johann Castillo. Geez contributed several of these musical essays to Countdown during the 2012 NFL season.

Now, Geez’ words will be accompanied by violinist Vietti’s riff of the hip-hop classic, “In Da Club.”

The new and flashier Sunday NFL Countdown midshow tease, filmed at The Palace Theater in Waterbury, Conn., was directed by art director Lucas Nickerson of ESPN Creative Services. The spoken word approach was conceptualized by associate producer Terrell Bouza, who originally paired Yaw with Countdown.

“We shot alternate endings – and plenty of different cuts – to make it fresh every week,” Nickerson said. “We also expect the editing style to vary a bit when a fresh set of eyes is assigned to ‘The Journey’ each week. Post editor Tom Beers set the tone for Week 1 last Sunday.”

Editor’s Note: Due to digital rights restrictions, Front Row is unable to publish the full version of “The Journey” from the Sept. 7 edition of Sunday NFL Countdown. The video above shows the making of “The Journey” during the shoot at The Palace Theater. Watch ESPN on Sundays beginning at 10 a.m. ET to see each week’s top NFL storylines captured in “The Journey.”

Video produced by Josh Lander

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