ATLANTA — Kurt Warner is an NFL Hall of a Famer and a Super Bowl champion — but Sunday he will be a rookie.
Warner will broadcast his first Super Bowl on radio, and he will be heard in 170 countries. Warner is replacing Boomer Esiason, who left the Super Bowl and “Monday Night Football” booths prior to this year because of his hectic schedule that includes his WFAN morning show and CBS’ “NFL Today.”
That left the door open for Warner to step in full time.
“It has been such a huge bonus,” said Warner, who also is on NFL Network. “I get to call all the Monday night games and I get to do some TV stuff. And now you are a calling a Super Bowl. I would have never thought my career could play out like this on so many different levels.”
Warner, the former Rams, Giants and Cardinals quarterback, was hesitant to become a broadcaster after retiring, because he said he wanted to make sure he could be with his family first.
After four years of recruiting Warner, Westwood One’s executive vice president, Howie Deneroff, enticed him with a few games near his Arizona home, which led to Warner splitting Mondays before taking it all on this year.
“Once I got into it, I fell in love with it,” Warner said.
After his NFL Network Sunday pregame work, Warner was able to travel on Mondays to games for radio.
TV game productions are much more involved than radio, and broadcasters have to give up their entire weekend to work on the TV side of Monday night. That is why Warner isn’t sure he would have taken the ESPN job if the network had chosen him over Jason Witten or Booger McFarland for “Monday Night Football.”
“I know it was a possibility,” Warner said. “I knew it came down to the end and I was one of the finalists, but I’m not sure if it was something I wanted to do or would’ve taken because obviously there are few things better than the Monday night gig and to be in that place.
“But, once again, was I willing to be away from my family from Friday to Tuesday and give up every weekend? To me, I have a perfect gig.”
On Sunday, Warner will be joined in the booth by Kevin Harlan, as well as Mike Holmgren, who is brought in on occasion to provide more analysis.
Tony Boselli and Ed Werder will be on the sidelines, while Jim Gray and current Cardinal and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald will host the one-hour pregame show.
Esiason won’t work the actual game after having called a Super Bowl broadcasting record 18 games (17 on radio and one on TV).