Just how old is Jim Nantz, the sportscaster entering hundreds of millions of homes on Sunday for the Super Bowl?
If it seems like the famed CBS Sports announcer has been on the air forever, that could be because it’s nearly true. Born in 1959, the soon-to-be 60-year-old sportscaster has spent more than half of his adult life calling major sporting events, including serving as the lead anchor for the Masters Tournament since 1989, when he was just 28 years old.
Nantz has done it all for CBS, calling NFL games as well as taking the lead on March Madness coverage, often spending the entire day calling games during the NCAA Tournament. He is now on his 15th year serving as the network’s top NFL announcer.
As the Houston Chronicle noted in a 2010 profile, Jim Nantz quickly earned the favor of CBS Sports president Sean McManus. Sean came to the network in 1997 and helped it return to broadcasting NFL games the following year.
As McManus said, Nantz had a knack for calling just about any sport he was assigned.
“Every assignment we throw him, whether it’s adding NFL play-by-play a few years ago or whatever we ask him to do, he just does a better and better job,” McManus said. “Jim is clearly the voice of CBS Sports, and if you look at the work he’s done at Augusta National and on the college basketball tournament, then the NFL, not just the games themselves but also the studio, Jim has continued to distinguish himself.”
Nantz told the newspaper that he would like to make it to the 50-year mark, and he is already most of the way there. His network career began on began Sept. 14, 1985, when he called his first NFL game.
In the more than 30 years that followed, Nantz has been in the booth for a number of memorable NFL games, including the AFC Championship game this year, where the New England Patriots overcame the Kansas City Chiefs to reach their third straight Super Bowl.
While the 60-year-old Jim Nantz may be a legend at CBS Sports, his Super Bowl appearances and March Madness marathons almost never came to be. Nantz said he nearly left the network in 1997 when he had a chance to host Good Morning America, and several years later, he was offered the job hosting the Early Show on CBS. In the end, Nantz turned down both job offers, opting to stay in sports.