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Calling the Epic Becoming Routine for Auburn Voice Rod Bramblett

Dec 02, 2013

Play-by-play men will wait an entire career to make an epic call. Most never get the chance. Rod Bramblett, voice of the Auburn Tigers on the IMG Audio Network, has been fortunate to make two calls for the ages within weeks.

Through social media and countless sports highlight show replays, tens of millions have now heard Bramblett’s euphoric description of Chris Davis’ nearly unimaginable, final-second, 109-yard runback of a missed Alabama field goal attempt to propel Auburn to an incredible, riotous Iron Bowl victory.  (Listen to Rod’s call here)   

Two weeks earlier on the 50-plus station Auburn IMG Sports Network, Bramblett warmed up with the “Miracle at Jordan-Hare” – a 73-yard “Hail Mary” game-winner over Georgia. (The call: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQQmU6D2GfQ)

After the “immaculate deflection,” Bramblett and just about everyone else assumed he’d made a career-defining call. That is, until Alabama tried a long field goal with a single tick left on the clock. Cue the bedlam.

Auburn’s pair of stunning, improbable wins is now enshrined among the top five finishes in college football history. The cover of Sunday’s New York Post, printed in the town where Bobby Thomson crushed a famous season-ending line drive over the left field wall at the Polo Grounds, anointed the game “The Greatest Ending in Sports History.” Bramblett’s spirited call – punctuated by his joyfully delirious shouts of “Auburn has won the Iron Bowl! Auburn has won the Iron Bowl” – was compared to Russ Hodges screaming, “The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant!”

“It’s all very flattering and has been a bit overwhelming,” said Bramblett, who quickly picked up a few thousand new Twitter followers (@VoiceofAUTigers). “I’m just humbled to be doing what I love for my alma mater. There have been some terrific Iron Bowls, and this was such a great game from start to finish. It not only lived up to but surpassed the national hype.”

The 1988 Auburn graduate got his big break calling Tigers basketball in 1993. He began hosting the “Tiger Talk” radio call-in show in 1998, and succeeded legendary Auburn football play-by-play man Jim Fyffe in the football booth in 2003, following his sudden death. Bramblett makes it a point to remember Fyffe by using his signature “Touchdown Auburn” call at least once during the course of a broadcast.

In addition to calling three Tigers sports, he’s Director of Broadcast Services for the Auburn IMG Sports Network, overseeing affiliate relations and the network’s state-of-the-art production studio. Rod also appears as a regular “Insider” on Campus Insiders, the new online digital network for college sports.

“In this job, you’re asked to paint a picture on the radio,” he says. “Every once in a while in sports, unforgettable plays happen, and in those moments, the play-by-play voice is sharing the emotion versus mechanically describing the action. That’s how the last two games have been – getting sucked into the emotion of the moment. Most great calls in broadcast history are like that. I’ve experienced what any broadcaster dreams about. You have zero control; you just hope it happens.”

He is especially grateful to share the experience with “a great broadcast crew who all care deeply about what they do. I appreciate the amazing response from fans and the media, and that reaction is really for our entire team.”

On Sunday morning following yet another stunning Auburn finish, Bramblett was enjoying the attention and accolades…for a few hours. He then boarded a flight to Ames, Iowa. Auburn men’s basketball takes on Iowa State  Monday night.

No one will be surprised if a behind-the-back, 90-foot buzzer beater wins the game for the Tigers.