It was reported a few weeks ago that Detroit native Gus Johnson was the leading candidate to be the play-by-play commentator for Lions preseason games, and news is out today that he has in fact got the job. Johnson is a high energy announcer that makes anything seem exciting. That's the main reason why he is one of my favorite announcers, so I'm looking forward to hearing him broadcast Lions games.
For those unfamiliar with Johnson, he works for CBS and is the play-by-play man for NFL games and also NCAA basketball games. Most recently, he was the announcer for the mixed martial arts event on CBS. Below is an video that perfectly shows just how much excitement he has during games he announces.
Teaming up with Johnson to bring you Lions preseason games on WWJ later this summer is former Michigan and Lions receiver Desmond Howard. Howard is best known locally for winning the Heisman Trophy, especially after he did the Heisman pose following a punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State that year. In NFL circles Howard is remembered for being Super Bowl XXXI MVP with the Green Bay Packers. He did play for the Lions in the final three and a half seasons of his career and even made it to a Pro Bowl during that time as a kick returner before retiring in 2002.
Howard doesn't have a whole lot of experience as a color commentator as he is primarily an analyst at ESPN. He has been there for a few years and also is on College Gameday every Saturday during the season, but it should be interesting to hear him be a color commentator for really the first time. Even with the lack of experience, I still think he and Johnson will be a big upgrade over the previous announcing pair.
Matt Shepard (of FSN Detroit fame) and Lions Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders will pair up to do the pregame show, meaning basically everything presentation-wise will be different for Lions preseason games this summer. That's a good thing, though, as the presentation did need a change, and moving to WWJ Detroit definitely seems to have accomplished that.