Skip to content

Gus Johnson: good enough for now

Feb 14, 2013, 1:04 PM EDT

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2012 Getty Images

Gus Johnson calling his first Champions League match was a big enough occasion to spawn a running diary of a running diary. So how did he do?

Well, okay. Not great, but he was solid and excitable, if occasionally behind the action. A friend of mine who works in television noticed that he talked a bit too much during some of the action, not allowing colorman Warren Barton a chance to offer an observation. Unlike American football and basketball where Johnson made his name, soccer offers fewer replays and breaks in the action, so the play-by-play man needs to allow his partner more time to speak as the play is developing. That’s the type of understanding that can only come with experience.

Fox’s overlords liked Johnson enough to add the March 5 Real Madrid-Manchester United redux at Old Trafford to his schedule in addition to Arsenal-Bayern Munich (Feb. 19) and Manchester City-Chelsea (Feb. 24).

For me, one of the biggest things was the fact that Johnson and partner Barton were on site. That allowed them to give a feel for the game that was happening off-camera, which they relayed effectively to the viewing audience. They could have been better, they could have been quicker, but at least they were there. Calling soccer is hard enough when you’re not handicapped by working off of monitors. (Yes, I’m taking to you, BeinSport.)

All in all: not the best debut in the world, but hardly the worst.

(Want more Johnson? Here’s a brilliant 90-second mashup from the crew at TerezOwens.com.)

In an interview with SI.com’s Richard Deitsch, Johnson said: “The key for me is to try to take it — and I don’t mean to sound cliché — but literally one match at a time. Learn everything I can about that one match and the two sides that are playing and go with it from there and allow my knowledge to grow.”

Some people can’t stand later-stage Johnson, but as long as he stays away from phrases like the ones above, we’ll all be in a better place football watching-wise.

Latest Posts
  1. Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser weighs in on Klopp, Dante and Bayern’s CL hopes

    Apr 21, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    franz-beckenbauer-nyc

    NBCSports.com’s Managing Editor Randy Kim spoke with Der Kaiser, as the German legend visited NYC.

  2. Karim Benzema the next Real Madrid attacker to go down injured

    Apr 21, 2015, 7:42 AM EDT

    Benzema Getty Images

    Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, and Marcelo are all already out for tomorrow’s 2nd leg with Atletico Madrid, and now their striker is unavailable as well.

  3. Mourinho: Chelsea will promote a handful of youth players to first team next year

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea FA Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea FA

    Mourinho says Chelsea will look to the club’s stacked youth academy for reinforcements, as well as the transfer market.

  4. Report: Jordan Henderson agrees new $150,000-per-week contract to stay at Liverpool

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:44 PM EDT

    Jordan Henderson, Liverpool FC Getty Images

    Liverpool’s captain-in-waiting is reportedly set to sign a new long-term deal at Anfield.

  5. UEFA Champions League preview: Can PSG, Bayern come back from 3-1 down to Barcelona, Porto?

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Pep Guardiola, FC Bayern Munich Pep Guardiola, FC Bayern Munich

    PSG and Bayern Munich did themselves no favors in the first leg, but it’s still 90 minutes from over.

  6. Qatar, FIFA plan to house 12,000 fans on cruise ships at 2022 World Cup

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT

    Sepp Blatter, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

    In FIFA and Qatar’s latest installment of “No, We’re Not Joking, We’re Serious”…

  7. Former USMNT DF Steve Cherundolo promoted to assistant manager at Hannover

    Apr 20, 2015, 5:27 PM EDT

    Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96 & USMNT Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96 & USMNT

    Steve Cherundolo got a promotion on Monday, under less than desirable circumstances, but he’s still advancing in the coaching world rather quickly.

  8. MLS Player of the Week — Week 7: FC Dallas’ Fabian Castillo

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:53 PM EDT

    Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas

    He’ll be an MLS MVP one day, but for now Fabian Castillo will have to settle for MLS Player of the Week.

  9. MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 7

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT

    Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC Getty Images

    Week 7 was chock full of goals — some really great ones, in fact — making this week’s Team of the Week tough to pick.

  10. Premier League Power Rankings: Big climbers galore as momentum kicks in

    Apr 20, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Leicester City v Swansea City - Premier League Getty Images

    With five weeks to go, in-form sides are surging up our rankings of power.

  11. VIDEO: Is Chelsea’s defensive style boring? Do they need to entertain us?

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    The Blues are inching towards the 2014-15 title but many are unimpressed with their defensive displays. Let’s sit down and think about this.

  12. New UEFA rules: An Arsenal FA Cup win could help Tottenham qualify for Europe…

    Apr 20, 2015, 1:18 PM EDT

    Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League

    If the Gunners win the FA Cup next month it could well book Spurs a place in the Europa League. Seriously.

  13. Premier League Playback: Manchester United prove they can challenge Chelsea for the title

    Apr 20, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT

    Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

    PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes a look back at Week 33 in the PL.

  14. Sepp Blatter: Putin, Russia will host “best ever World Cup” in 2018

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT

    Blatter: “Nothing will get in the way of Russia hosting the best ever World Cup.”

  15. Guardiola issues rallying call, says Bayern Munich will beat FC Porto

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:14 AM EDT

    1899 Hoffenheim v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Getty Images

    Bayern’s boss positive his side can overturn 3-1 deficit in Tuesday’s second leg.

  16. The 2 Robbies podcast: Chelsea boring? United’s progress and Klopp for City?

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    The 2 Robbies

    Earle and Mustoe dissect Chelsea’s defensive display and much more in the latest podcast.

  17. Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale set to miss three weeks, Champions League clash vs. Atletico, with injury

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT

    FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-MALAGA FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-MALAGA

    Welsh superstar to miss Wednesday’s clash against Atletico Madrid after picking up calf injury.

Featured video

Hazard seals victory for Chelsea