CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Football is back, and the rookies on the field aren't the only ones making their debut. The newest announcer for the Orange and Black is Mike Watts.
On game day at Paul Brown Stadium, Watts sat alone in the press box preparing. He pulled a Ziplock baggie full of colored highlighters out of his backpack. He chose the bright orange one.
Watts says, “I’m excitable. I’m happy to be here. I’m excited about this job. I’m excited about the Bengals this year.”
He’s 25 years old. This will be Watts' first time calling an NFL game. He replaces Brad Johansen and will join Anthony Munoz in the booth as the play-by-play announcer for the team’s preseason football games.
“For every rookie that you don’t know a lot about, this is the biggest moment of their career to this point. To be able to document that while also experiencing the biggest moment of my career is pretty cool,” Watts said.
Watts' resume has a long list of credits calling professional and college soccer, basketball, lacrosse, baseball and softball games. He’s from Ohio, but closer to "that team" up north.
Watts says, “When I grew up in Cleveland, mass was at 11:15, and the family would watch the game, it was on at 1 p.m. So if that happens to be the Browns game, that's the way it goes. But twice a year, you were guaranteed a Bengals game, so I know that.”
When Watts sits down tonight at Paul Brown Stadium, he’ll just have completed an impressive stretch calling 26 games in 23 days, including one for FC Cincinnati.
The Bengals found him. Watts said he got a call from the Bengals in the spring. TV executive producer David Ashbrock was in on the decision and said Watts came highly recommended and is known as a hard worker.
“In this marketplace, they don’t know who he is. So when they see a 25-year-old on TV today, they're going to think this is his first game. Well, that’s not truelike a pilot who has how many flying hours. Mike’s got a lot of hours in the cockpit flying that seat," Ashbrock said.
Watts gets the seat and the call for the first time Thursday night in the first game of the 2018 Cincinnati Bengals' season.