Deckerhoff to pull double duty
Play-by-play announcer Gene Deckerhoff has not missed a Florida State football game since becoming the radio voice of the Seminoles in 1979. He also has not missed a Tampa Bay Bucs game since becoming the radio voice of the Bucs in 1989.
Those streaks will continue this weekend even though the two teams play less than 24 hours and more than an ocean apart.
Deckerhoff, 66, plans to call part of Saturday's Florida State-Maryland game in Tallahassee and Sunday's Bucs-Bears game in London.
"This is definitely a first,'' Deckerhoff said. "I've had some adventures getting from one game to another, but this should be the most interesting and, by far, the longest trip.''
Deckerhoff hoped FSU would play at noon today, but because of a 3:30 p.m. start, he will call just the first half before starting his journey to England. It will be the first time in 396 Florida State football games that Deckerhoff will miss any action. Tom Block, who has worked as a sideline reporter and pregame show host on FSU radio broadcasts, will take over for Deckerhoff in the second half.
Deckerhoff will take a commuter plane from Tallahassee to Atlanta to catch a direct flight to London. He is scheduled to arrive in London around noon England time, or about six hours before kickoff.
"If it works out right with no delays or anything, I should get the stadium earlier than I normally get to games in Tampa,'' Deckerhoff said. "So I should be more than on time.''
In 21 years of calling FSU and Bucs games on back-to-back days all over the country, Deckerhoff has never missed a Bucs game and has been late to only three. Twice he has missed the first few minutes of Bucs games at Green Bay because, Deckerhoff said, "Green Bay is the toughest place in the NFL to get a game, especially on the day of a game.''
Two years ago, he missed the first half of a Bucs game at Washington because of mechanical problems with an airplane. When the Bucs played in London in 2009, Deckerhoff caught a break because Florida State had a Thursday night game, giving Deckerhoff two days to get to England. That's not the case this weekend.
"But I'm looking forward to it,'' Deckeroff said. "It should be a fun. Hopefully, there will be no problems getting away and it will be a really fun trip if the Seminoles and Bucs can both win. That would make it a really memorable weekend.''