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View From The Panthers Booth

The man in the catbird seat

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Now that the Cowboy bustin' Carolina Panthers head to St. Louis in the playoffs, even occasional football fans are tuning in to see how far they'll go. The man who's had the best view of the Panthers' big picture is Bill Rosinski, the radio play-by-play man in the booth since the team began. Make no mistake: he's one of the best in the business, with a mix of football knowledge and entertainment thankfully lacking the "homerism" of other announcers around the league and in college sports. You want your announcers to be for the team, but also not afraid to speak their minds, even though they're paid by the school or franchise.

So does an announcer do his best work when a team is winning?

"Actually, I think our best work was when we were 1-15 in 2001," Rosinski says. "It's lots harder to do it than when you're not a winner."

In this playoff season, naturally, things have changed. There's been more interest from other parts of the country, for one. "I've gotten calls from Atlanta media, and more requests to be on sports radio as a guest in other cities. More national media are coming to our games, and I've even been on a sports radio show in Vancouver, of all places."

How about Eugene Robinson, in his sophomore season in the booth as a color analyst. In his rookie season last year, Robinson seemed more cheerleader than announcer, but that picture's improved. His "handle your business" catchphrase has made the rounds.

"(Eugene) brings a lot of enthusiasm, because he's only been out of the NFL himself a couple of years. People can't see him, of course, but he's jumping out of his chair, and it's fun to work with him," Rosinski laughs.

I was thrilled to hear ABC Sports' Al Michaels and John Madden talk about the Panther peeve that nobody talks about around here anymore. "Why aren't they the Charlotte Panthers?" Madden asked. "And the Carolina Hurricanes play in Raleigh . . . go figure," Michaels replied.

Stay tuned.

Shannon Reichley is an independent television producer and former news manager at WBTV. E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com

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