Quick steadily eases behind mike

Posted: September 04, 2008

MIKE QUICK and Donovan McNabb came to their present jobs just a year apart, both facing big hurdles.

In 1998 the former five-time Pro Bowler took the place of Stan Walters - a longtime color analyst and himself a former Pro Bowler at offensive tackle - on the Eagles Radio Network. What should have been a joyous transition soon became an extremely stressful one for Quick, who still owns a number of Eagles receiving records set during a 9-year career here that ended in 1990. His first game in the booth was a 38-0 home loss to Seattle, which among other things eventually led to the exodus of coach Ray Rhodes after a 3-13 season that all but killed the morale of football fans in this town.

"There were some times when I'd listen to playback and just want to kick myself," Quick said. "The guy that preceded me [in Walters] was very good at what he did. With the year that it was and the morale of a city just so down, it was just hard to analyze and verbalize anything I was seeing on the field in a positive light."

There were few positives to speak of and even fewer people there to listen to Quick in a transition from former All Pro to booth that had all the makings of a Shakespearean tragedy.

But as the Eagles improved, most notably due to the arrival of McNabb and coach Andy Reid a year earlier, so did Quick's comfort level. Calling games got easier as the team made five straight playoff appearances and went to the Super Bowl.

"When you are trying to learn a new system with a losing football team, it's hard to analyze without being negative and one-sided," he said. "But when the product is good, it makes it a heck of a lot easier. Also having [Eagles play-by-play announcer] Merrill's [Reese] patience and confidence in me and my ability to do this job really went a long ways. Now I feel pretty good about what we do and the product we put out."

Now realize that pressure never completely dissipates and when likened to the magnanimous amount put on the shoulders of McNabb, Quick did attest that while it hardly compares, he can relate.

"I don't know if it's that similar, it's much more stressful for him," Quick continued. "If I make a mistake, yeah sure, I'll hear it from a few people but in the age of the Internet, the magnifying glass is on everything he does. So it's tough when you are in a city that is so knowledgeable about their football team, they want things to be right; and yeah, they do get upset if you aren't."

Quick did mention, however, that the tools of his trade are actually his top-notch associates that have played a huge role in keeping a constant comfort level in his second career.

"We come from this whole team concept here [on Eagles radio]," said Quick. "I mean just up in the booth, you have a spotter whose job is to point out anything out of the ordinary. Then you have your stat man and, of course, our producer Joe McPeak, who's been doing this for 22 years. It's a really good group that I'm proud to be a part of."

As he prepares for his 11th year as one of the voices for Eagles football, the former great says he wouldn't change a thing. He cited the learning process as "well worth going through" and that it couldn't have been accomplished without the patience, humility and awareness needed in a town that expects the very best regardless of the outcome.

"I want to be around for as long as they want to have me, but you never know," said Quick. "If I had to stop and move onto other things, this is a job that has been fun and enriching experience. Let me tell you, this is a real good organization, all with people I respect and admire. It was hard to say [back] then but I can say it now; I really enjoy what I do." *

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