Sports media legend Andrea Kremer, who calls Thursday Night Football games for Amazon Prime, was the 2018 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. Kremer can also be seen on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel and CBS Sports Network’s We Need to Talk.
We caught up with Kremer for this week’s “Friday Five” …
1. Who is your biggest mentor?
When I was honored by the Hall of Fame, I wanted to honor my mentors, and I broke it into various aspects of my career. So at NFL Films, it was Steve Sabol, Bob Ryan, Hank McElwee and Bob Angelo. From ESPN, it was John Walsh, Bob Eaton, Jim Cohen and Vince Doria. And at NBC, it was Dick Ebersol and Al Michaels. I framed it that way because they put me on the path to the Hall of Fame. Especially earlier in my career, they taught me skills and they supported me and they always saw something in me that I never saw in myself. That’s the biggest thing.
2. What’s your top pet peeve?
I have two phrases or words that bother me. One is, “With all due respect…” — which is just code for, “I’m about to disrespect you.” The second is the word “whatever,” which to me is dismissive and apathetic.
And for people in the business of journalism, I’m so tired of hearing people say, “Well, I’m friends with so-and-so…” Okay, wait a minute. Should you be friends with anybody that you’re covering, or that you work with professionally? And are you really friends? Or are you friend-ly – which in my opinion is a big difference? I’m not sure you should be friends with people that you want to cover.
3. What’s your favorite book?
Literally every room in our house teems with books — bookcases are everywhere. You can use the Dewey Decimal System to try to find books in my house!
I want to say books like Team of Rivals (by Doris Kearns Goodwin) or The Athletic Revolution by Jack Scott, which was really the seminal sports and activism book from the early ‘70s. But believe it or not, there are two books that I read as a young girl which resonate with me to this day. One is called The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I actually read it in both English and French, which was meaningful to me at that time. And the other one, believe it or not, is Harriet the Spy (by Louise Fitzhugh). It’s about a little girl who wanted to be a spy, and even as a young kid, had that kind of curiosity and drive and determination. So I feel like that book really impacted me, to know that you can be curious and investigative if you want. And it kind of brought out qualities in me at a really young age that I never thought would be so germane to what I was going to do for my career.
4. If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be?
Given my affinity for interviewing, I’d have to say Barbara Walters. Given that I’m obsessed with Hamilton, which I think is one of the greatest and most impactful works of art I’ve ever experienced, I’d have to say Lin-Manuel Miranda. And finally, I’d have to say Nelson Mandela. I went to Robben Island. I stood outside and looked into his cell, which was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve had. It’s absolutely brutal, because you see where he lived, see where he worked, where he basically was made a slave. It was so impactful. And I would want to know, “What enabled you to have the grace that you have had?”
5. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your teen self?
I don’t know if I have advice for my teen self as much as my younger professional self. You have to enjoy the moment. When I was coming up in the business, it was always, “What’s my next story? What’s my next game? What’s my next exclusive?” It was always, “What’s next? What’s next?” I was not taking advantage of some of the situations I was in.
There was a specific moment when that changed for me. And that was waking up in Beijing in 2008 the morning that I would be poolside when Michael Phelps could win his eighth gold medal. That was the moment that I realized, “You better take this in, because you’re never going to see this again in your lifetime.” And “taking this in” doesn’t mean you’re going to be any less professional, any less buttoned up, any less ready. It just means you can look around, take it in and acknowledge it. And six months later, when I was on the sidelines for the Super Bowl for NBC, I felt the same way. Those two events were pivotal in teaching me that I needed to do that. And I just wish I learned that earlier.
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