CHICAGO – Monday Night Football telestration producer Lou Russo lives in Marlton, N.J., outside Philadelphia, but just like his hometown Eagles, he will be at Soldier Field for tonight’s game against the host Bears (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Russo is accustomed to being on the road six months of the year for MNF. He serves in a similar capacity for ESPN college football and basketball telecasts, as well as Sunday Night Baseball. If all these jobs didn’t keep him busy enough, Russo is also a content producer for ESPN’s weekly NFL Matchup show, and the director of player personnel for the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul, which just won the ArenaBowl XXIX Championship last month.
Before departing for this week’s MNF game, Russo spoke with Front Row about his role in Monday night games, his favorite memory from his eight years on the show and what it meant to bring a title to Philadelphia with the Soul.
What does an ESPN telestration producer do during MNF games?
I help support [MNF commentators] Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough by providing video clips from the game that Jon can use for telestration segments. We use graphics to help teach viewers about the game and why a particular play did or didn’t work for a team.
How has your role on MNF changed through the years?
We continuously incorporate technological upgrades to our systems that allow us to do more graphically. Every year I try to improve the workflow and execution to ultimately help us better explain the X’s and O’s about the game.
– MNF telestration producer Lou Russo, who also works for the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul
What is your most memorable Eagles game on MNF?
My second game ever on MNF: The Eagles played the Cowboys in Dallas and DeSean Jackson dropped the ball short of the end zone, resulting in a fumble, on what would have been a 61-yard touchdown catch. The Eagles retained possession of the ball and scored, but they lost to the Cowboys 41-37.
As the Soul’s director of player personnel, what are you most proud of this year?
First, to bring a World Championship back to Philadelphia. It was an honor to be a part of the best organization, from top to bottom, especially our players and coaches. I am so thankful for the opportunity that both Jaws [ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, President of the Soul] and the Soul organization gave me back in 2008 when they hired me to be a scout, which happened to be the year the organization won its first World Championship.
How do you balance your job with the Soul and everything else you do with ESPN?
Juggling both jobs and my family life definitely keeps me busy, but my love for sports, especially football, makes it all worth it. ESPN allows me to work in all sports and is a tremendous company to work for and the Philadelphia Soul allows me to be part of a professional organization and have a part in constructing a championship team with the coaches and staff. I am very lucky to get to do what I love and that I love what I do.