Tauscher taking crash-course in broadcasting
JUL 05, 2012 5:00a ET
But it wasn't until after he retired that Tauscher discovered he'd only scratched the surface when it comes to examining football on film. Tauscher recently participated in a four-day NFL broadcasting boot camp in an effort to land an in-studio football analyst job. And the level of preparation necessary to succeed surprised him.
"You have to know more," said Tauscher, a University of Wisconsin graduate. "When you're playing football, as an offensive guy, I really didn't care a lot about what the other team's offense was going to do. It was more however you were going to do your job by figuring out what they do on defense.
"When you're doing this, as much as I enjoy watching line play, it's more the receivers and the skill position guys who end up getting a lot of the attention. You have to study more than you do when you're playing."
Tauscher did his homework at the camp, and it paid off.
He was one of two players, along with former New England wide receiver and cornerback Troy Brown, selected to serve as a television studio analyst for an NFL regular-season game next season. Tauscher will work for one of the league's TV partners in the United Kingdom.
"I think you have a newfound respect for people in the media as far as learning the job they do," Tauscher said.
Tauscher was among a group of 23 current and former NFL players to take part in the camp, held June 18-21 at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J. Some of the broadcasters who participated in the camp were James Brown of CBS Sports and Showtime, Curt Menefee of FOX and Ron Jaworski of ESPN.
Tauscher, 35, said the boot camp — in its sixth year of existence — consisted of doing in-studio work, field reporting and being a color commentator while watching 10 minutes of an actual game on TV. He also learned the ins and outs of editing, control room operation and production meetings.
"You get thrown right into the fire," he said.
Tauscher described the field reporting as the most difficult aspect of the boot camp. Players were responsible for writing a script and finishing the task within a certain on-air time frame.
"We went out to a Sports Authority and did a segment," Tauscher said. "You had to interview one of the other players that were in your group. You had to be informed and you also had to have a presence. With your timing, you had to have it done at a minute 30, so you couldn't run over. You didn't know how long the questions were going to be. I really learned a lot."
Tauscher, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound Marshfield, Wis., native, made Wisconsin's team as a walk-on in 2005. He became an integral member of an offensive line that blocked for Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. He then was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the 224th pick. Tauscher spent his entire NFL career with the Packers before being released on July 29, 2011.
Tauscher said he applied for the boot camp last year, but because of the NFL lockout, he was still an active player and couldn't attend.
The success rate for NFL players finding broadcasting jobs after participating in the boot camp is relatively high. According to the NFL, 44 of the 105 players that took part in the camp from 2007-2011 earned a broadcasting job.
Tauscher said that during his pro football career he had several opportunities to perform on local television and radio stations in Wisconsin, which helped him to gain a stage presence.
"It's nice to voice your opinion and do that stuff as well," he said. "But to me, I always enjoyed listening to broadcasts on the radio. If you're watching a game, you get the insights and see how they approach the game. That was something I was always interested in."
During his Packers career, Tauscher played in 134 regular-season games. He's hoping for the opportunity to cover many more on TV.
"If you're wanting to stay involved in the game and you're not playing anymore," Tauscher said, "this is a good way to stay involved, even though it's on a smaller scale."
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