The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Tuesday evening that the legendary voice of the Eagles Merrill Reese, along with former linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, would be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in an on-field ceremony prior to November 28th’s Monday Night Football match up with the Green Bay Packers.
(Ruben Frank/CSN Philly)
Known as “The Axe Man”
for his signature celebration, Trotter, a third-round selection by the Eagles in 1998, spent eight years of his career with the Birds, where he was known for his hard hitting and fearsome tackling.
Trotter played just eight games in his rookie campaign but was named the team’s starting middle linebacker in 1999 by then defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. After the ’99 season, Trotter quickly became a core piece to Johnson’s defense. Trotter was a Pro Bowl selection in both 2000 and 2001, and was First Team All-Pro in 2000 and Second Team All-Pro in 2001.
Trotter left the Eagles after the 2001 season when the two parties were unable to reach a long-term contact agreement. Trotter was picked up by the Redskins after signing a seven-year deal, but Washington released him after two seasons allowing Trotter to rejoin the Eagles in 2004.
Starting as the back up, Trotter moved back into the starting line up after just seven games, proving to be a key piece to the Eagles Super Bowl run during the 2004-2005 season. He stayed in his starting spot until 2006. He was again named to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006, but released once more by the Eagles in 2007.
He went to Tampa Bay, but played just three games and then was out for the entire 2008 season after knee surgery. When Stewart Bradley tore his ACL in 2009, Trotter came back to Philadelphia and started seven games before his career came to a close.
When Merrill Reese was named the play-by-play announcer for the Eagles, he was already known as the team’s color analyst. Reese was moved into the play-by-play role in December of 1977 after WIP sports director and the then play-by-play announcer Charlie Swift
Reese graduated from Temple University with a degree in Communications and Broadcasting, where he practiced his craft at his college radio station. He also had a music show every Wednesday.
Much like Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, Reese has a smooth baritone voice that quickly heads to an excited falsetto when a big play happens. His voice, like Harry’s, is what made Reese one of the NFL’s most beloved play-by-play announcers.
Reese is the longest tenured play-by-play announcer in the NFL ahead of Patriots broadcaster Gil Santos and now, at the ripe age of 73, is still going strong. He has been in the booth with his current partner, Mike Quick, a former wide receiver for the Eagles, since 1998. Reese has also shared the booth with Herb Adderly (finished the 1997 season), Jim Barniak (1978-1982), Bill Bergey (1982-1983 and filled in for Quick during the 2004 preseason), and Stan Walters (1984-1987). Reese also hosts the WIP Coach’s Show, which airs the day after Eagles games.
Reese has been named Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year by the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters numerous times, Radio Broadcaster of Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, and the Person of the Year by the Broadcaster Pioneers. He is the winner of the Lindsey Nelson Award for Excellence in Sportscasting by the All American Football Association, he has received the March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was selected by Philadelphia Magazine as Philadelphia’s Best Sportscaster.
Reese is co-owner of 1490 WBCB (AM) in Bucks County, and published an autobiography entitled It’s Gooooood! in 1998. His latest book, Sportscasting: Turning Your Passion into a Profession, was published in 2010.
The Eagles organization is waiving the “three-year retirement” requirement so Reese can take his place among the team legends. However, this is not the first Hall of Fame into which the long-time broadcaster has been inducted. He is currently in the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Temple University Communications Hall of Fame, and the Overbrook High School Hall of Fame.
“When you think about some of the greatest moments in Eagles history, you can hear Merrill’s voice, living and dying with every play, just like we all do,” said Eagles Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie. “What makes him so special, and so engrained in the fabric of our franchise, is how dedicated he is to the team, the fans and his job. Merrill is a legend, and he is the absolute best at what he does.”