In late Spring, Monday Night Football Senior Associate Producer Audra Leimberg had an idea for enhancing the weekly pieces she’s been producing the past couple of years. Her aim for each MNF game is to give a sense of place through a short “in-bump” to be used during the telecast.
“I wanted to produce pieces that we can hear a fan’s local accent and his or her passion for the city,” said Leimberg, a Rutgers-New Brunswick graduate, who began as a production assistant at ESPN in 2012.
The voice she chose for Monday’s Vikings-Eagles game was one she’s heard her entire life – her dad, Alan Leimberg.
“Dad is the biggest Eagles fan I know,” said Audra, who grew up outside of Philly in Mount Laurel, NJ. “As Joe Buck said [on the telecast], he ‘never misses a down of Eagles football’ and that’s no exaggeration – and he’d be the first to admit it. He looks like Philly, he sounds like Philly, he acts like Philly – all in a bundle of love!”
In early September, Audra joined her dad and an ESPN crew for three hours of shooting in two different locations around Philadelphia – the center of Broad Street with City Hall in the background and Shunk Street in the heart of South Philadelphia. The second spot held special meaning for the Leimbergs.
“My dad grew up on that crossroad – walking distance to the stadium,” she said, “on top of his father’s corner grocery store. He’s watched them for 71 years and he’d watch them for another 71 years if he could.”
But Alan never watched a game like Monday’s and the response was overwhelming.
“My dad barely answered my text messages [Monday] night because he was getting bombarded by old friends from the neighborhood. . .old colleagues,” she said. “He didn’t have time for me!!”
Audra’s older brothers and mom were also well aware of Alan’s newfound fame.
“Audra,” Ross texted, “That’s the most amazing thing you could have done for him.”
Brother Lance – also a diehard Eagles fan (of course) – told his sister, “Troy [Aikman] is now the only Cowboy I like [after mentioning Alan].”
But leave it to mom, Rene, to put it all in perspective: “I think this was the highlight of Dad’s life,” she told Audra. “Having children is now second.”
Audra totally understands.
“The experience was a complete joy for him, but even more for me as his daughter,” she said.
Video produced by Spencer Jackson and Josh Krulewitz. Photo by Josh Krulewitz.