NFL play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan: I’m gonna be known for drunks and cats!

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 I think Kevin Harlan is an American treasure. Who else does the play-by-play of the black cat on the field hustling toward the end zone in the Cowboys-Giants Monday-nighter last week, while doing the play-by-play of the game too, with Westwood One radio partner Kurt Warner playing along? Who else? I’ve got a feeling that most announcers, vet and neophyte, would have said something like,There’s a cat on the field. We’re delayed here at the Meadowlands. Now a word from Toyota. Right? Here’s Harlan’s call, from the middle of the second quarter Monday night.

I mean, the guy read the ad copy. “The cat is in the CDW Red Zone. CDW, people who get it.” Imagine being so in the moment you remember to read the ad copy when the cat enters the Red Zone.

I talked to Harlan, a do-everything announcer, after he did Celtics-Hornets on Thursday night.

“So the Giants, before that play, were about to enter the CDW Red Zone,” said Harlan. CDW is an IT security company. “Howard Deneroff, who is producing the game, hands me the card, reminding me about the CDW read when the Giants are in the Red Zone. You’re so focused, you’re so into it, you know you’ve got to get the read in, so here comes the cat, and he’s in the Red Zone, and you notice nothing else. The pacing was in sync, and there was the cat. That’s the whole read: ‘CDW, people who get it.’ So I got it in.”

The commercial read—that’s number two on the significance list of Harlan’s call. The man called a black cat coming out of nowhere running, walking, stopping, starting, scoring a touchdown.

“When you’re doing radio,” Harlan said. “you’re describing everything you see, from the wind direction of the orange tell-tale flags on top of goalposts, to the grass stains on the pants, to the moon rising over the edge of the stadium. So the game’s going on. On one end of the field the Giants, who are still very much in this game, are driving to score a touchdown. On the other end is this cat, darting down the field. So there’s the cat, and then there’s a catch-and-run, and the cat running. I remember three years ago when we had the drunk on the field [a drunk ran onto the field in Rams-Niners in 2016, and Harlan did the same play-by-play, yelling at one point, “THE GUY IS DRUNK”], play was stopped, the guy was running down the field like he was a slot receiver. This was different. Had I really thought about it, I could have schmaltzed it out a little more. But I called it the way I saw it. The officials stopped play after the Giants catch and run, and the players just stood around, hands on hips, I called what I saw, along with the delayed reaction of the policemen. I mean, Go get the cat! And Kurt’s so great, a fun-loving guy, great sense of humor. We had fun with it.”

I kept thinking of a long-haul trucker, listening to the NFL game at 10 at night on I-70 in the middle of Kansas, just trying to stay awake, and here comes Harlan yelling about a cat, and, well, that’s the beauty of radio calls and the people who describe precisely what they see so you picture it in your mind.

“I got back to my airport hotel that night, and I’ve got 30 to 40 text messages, buddies in the business, Mike Tirico checked in … and you know, you try for just the right words on the game-winning touchdown pass, and here comes a cat that everyone’s smitten with. Just goes to show you, I guess.”

Show you what?

“Thirty-five years of doing play-by-play in the NFL, and I’m gonna be known for drunks and cats!”

Perhaps. But he’ll be known too for his comfort with the craft, and mastery of it. I called Tirico on Saturday to ask him about the call.

“I loved it,” Tirico said. “I’ve had a chance to do games on the radio for Westwood One. Such a different challenge than TV. On a professional level, when I heard Kevin’s call, it was ultimate respect, because what I heard was complete command of the broadcast. What I heard was exactly what happened on the field. Perfect. Complete with the ad read! When I talk to college students, one of the things you tell the kids is when you’re on the air, you’ve got to be in complete command. Something happened, you’re documenting it, you’re in control, you drop in the sponsor read. That is what the craft is all about.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!