Tonight at Vikings GameDay Live, in addition to DE Kenechi Udeze (pictured with Abby & myself) and RB Mewelde Moore, we were lucky to have Vikings play-by-play specialist Paul Allen sit in for Rich Gannon who was on assignment (I think I heard he was covering the Tampa Bay game this weekend).
If you watch NFL Films (I love my NFL Network - DirecTV channel 212) or listen to Vikings games on the radio, you know Paul Allen's voice. (If you don't know PA, check out his bio on KFAN.com.) Weekly, the NFL will play sound bites from NFL games and I was surprised to hear PA often. Not only does his voice accompany Viking highlights, but his enthusiastic calls often complement plays by opposing teams. Yes, he's that good.
For me, his most memorable call was Arizona scoring to end the 2003 season for the Vikings. The touchdown by Arizona eliminated the Vikings from the playoffs and handed the division title and playoff spot to the Green Bay Packers. Though it was Arizona scoring, you did not hear the voice of the Cardinals celebrating. No sir. On NFL Films, you heard PA's agonizing call. His passion wrapping every word, his call reaching out to all.
I was excited about this chance to talk to the voice of the Vikings. Does he mimic anyone else? After all, he's as distinctive as Kevin Harlan of the Timberwolves (an ex-announcer, Kevin called both sides of the ball with enthusiasm and his greatness took him away from Minnesota to the national stage - TNT then FOX, I believe).
Talking to PA, he says he isn't emulating anyone. He's just being himself. I complimented his style but he admits some people don't like it. He compared his style to Howard Cossell - 50 % liked him, 50 % disliked him, and 100 % listened. PA just wants the same thing. He enjoys what he's doing and hopes his style is heard.
Do you like PA's calls? Sound off in our blog.