Iowa Football is fortunate to have had all of its games televised since the 2000 season. Big Ten Network, ESPN, ABC, Fox Sports, Versus are among the different networks producing each game. And in that time I have had the pleasure meeting many personalities and voices associated with college football. However one of the more memorable is Matt Millen.
Typically announcers arrive as early as the Thursday prior to game day to either watch a little video or to attend practice to get to know the team a little better. Then on Friday the talent spends almost two hours with coaches and players to provide a little background for the game telecast.
And while they are in town they will watch video of each team. It varies by announcing crew as to the amount, but no one watches more than Matt Millen.
The former GM of the Detroit Lions spends his fall weekends on either college campuses or preparing for his Monday Night Football duties on ESPN. Millen's life is emerged in football and it starts with the amount of game video he watches. No other announcer I've worked with watches as much as Millen.
For the second week in a row Millen arrived in Iowa City early Thursday morning and immediately went to the video. Iowa was a new team for him this season and it was important for him to study them the best he could. A week ago he spent his entire first day watching Iowa's previous game with Michigan. He then returned with his production staff early Friday morning to watch more of the Hawkeyes in their previous game as well as get some prep in on Wisconsin. The morning wasn't enough as he returned in the evening and then again Saturday morning.
Once he felt his session was complete, he could be found pacing in the Kinnick Stadium press box as if he was preparing for an oral exam. He would take time to meet with the other "celebrities" in the press box, and then return to his pacing until he was to take to the air. As prepared as Matt is, he is that personable. A self-described "low maintenance" person makes you feel as if you've been his friend for years.
His broadcasts reflect the time he prepares. ABC and ESPN is fortunate to have some of the best analysts of the college game, but Millen's preparation is second to none. And tomorrow when Iowa and Michigan State take to the field, Millen may know more about each team than those on the field.