Tag Archives: Super Bowl LII

Jack Caldwell Covers The Super Bowl

WWPT-FM — Staples High School’s award-winning radio station — produces great sports broadcasters as regularly as the New England Patriots used to win Super Bowls.

Jack Caldwell is the latest in that long and storied line. He’s smooth and steady. He prepares well. He knows his stuff. He’s good.

In addition to play-by-play, he does music and news. This year’s, he’s WWPT’s executive director. In his spare time, he’s broadcast director for the student newspaper Inklings.

His sports cred comes naturally. He comes from a long line of baseball fans. His grandmother told stories of listening to Vin Scully call Brooklyn Dodgers games; together, Jack and she discussed their favorite (and least favorite) announcers.

His father Chris is in sports marketing. He’s worked at every Super Bowl since XXXIV (that was in 2000, for you non-sports fans). So Jack and his dad have never had a chance to watch the big game together.

This year — as an early graduation present — Chris took Jack to Minnesota. He tried to get 2 tickets, but wasn’t sure if he could. They decided they’d watch Super Bowl LII together — even if that meant doing it at the hotel.

Sunday morning, Jack’s dad surprised him with 2 tickets.

Jack Caldwell and his dad at the Super Bowl.

Before the game on Sunday morning, Jack attended an event with broadcast personalities Trey Wingo, Tony Romo and Cris Carter. After, he chatted with them. When he said he was an aspiring broadcaster, Romo and Carter posed for this photo with him.

You’ll notice Jack’s wearing his WWPT logowear. Fans were allowed to do “mock” broadcasts on a set at US Bank Stadium. This was Jack’s first broadcast ever with his father.

I’m not a betting guy, but I bet Jack’s broadcast was better than any other fan who stepped into that booth.

It was a working weekend for Jack. He watched and learned as much as he could.

WNBC reporter Bruce Beck — an avid WWPT-FM supporter and mentor — allowed Jack to shadow him as he worked.

On Saturday — despite 6 inches of snow — he explored many media sites, and visited the ESPN set. The Lombardi Trophy was there. Well, an ice sculpture replica of it, anyway.

As for the game: Jack’s a Jets fan; his dad likes the Lions. Going in, they were “reluctantly” rooting for the Eagles. But when the training scene from “Rocky II” was shown as Philadelphia’s hype video, they were won over for the night.

It was a fantastic weekend. There’s nothing like sharing the Super Bowl with your dad.

Especially when you can take a photo like this, moments after the final whistle.

BONUS STORY ON JACK CALDWELLAs a sophomore, knee surgery forced Jack into a wheelchair for 6  months.

His favorite sport to call is ice hockey. When the Wreckers made the state semifinals — at the “Yale Whale” arena — he worried he could not get to the press box.

WWPT friends and family helped him up, then helped him set up equipment. He called the game — an overtime Staples win.

That support meant a lot to Jack. It meant even more when that broadcast earned him a 2nd-place award in the national John Drury radio competition.

Last year, Jack and the station won honors in every Drury category they entered.

WWPT-FM faculty advisor Geno Heiter (left) and student broadcasters jump for joy after earning 12 John Drury Awards.

The Super Bowl — seeing media row and shadowing Bruce Beck — was a fantastic experience. Jack learned a lot about “real world media,” and looks forward to sharing that knowledge with everyone involved in media at Staples.

For his senior internship at May, he’ll work on the “Anna & Raven Show” on Star 99.9 FM. He hopes to study broadcast journalism in college (he will hear from schools in March).

After that — well, like other WWPT sportscasters, the sky’s the limit.

The Super Bowl was an important weekend, Jack says.

“I got to have a real fan experience,” he notes. “So if I begin to cover events for real in broadcasting, now they won’t seem as daunting.”

Whether You’re Rooting For The Patriots Or Eagles: Keep An Eye On Zach Ertz

Westport is not exactly a breeding ground for NFL players. That’s why we’re still talking about Skip Lane’s 1987 season with the Washington Redskins.

As a “replacement player” during the players’ strike, the defensive back — and former Staples High School quarterback — helped the team win 3 games. That’s credited with getting them into the playoffs. They went on to win the Super Bowl. Thirty years later, Lane will — finally — get his ring.

But that’s not what this story is about.

“06880” scoured the world for a Westport connection to Super Bowl LII. Thanks to Staples Class of 1981 graduate Suzanne Sherman Propp, we’ve found one:

Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz is the son of Propp’s classmate, Lisa Adams.

Lisa Ertz, with a football helmet she endorses. (Photo courtesy of David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer)

On Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story on Ertz and his mother. (The hook was a concussion that Ertz — a 6-5, 250-pound Pro Bowl player, and the Eagles’ leading receiver this year — received in December. One of his brothers gave up football after multiple concussions in high school. Lisa is now president of a foundation that promotes safer football equipment.)

The Inquirer story credits Lisa with inspiring her son to play football. In 7th grade, she signed him up so he could lose weight. He hated it.

When he was a high school freshman in California, she encouraged him to play to make friends.

That was the ticket. He starred, and got college scholarship offers.

Zach Ertz

When he was choosing between UCLA and Stanford, Lisa pushed him to become a Cardinal.

She was thinking about the post-college opportunities Stanford offers. She told the Inquirer:

I was very adamant and I actually said to him, “Well, it’s not like you’re going to play pro football.” Go get a great degree, have a wonderful experience, and the rest of your life, you can say you went to Stanford.

Zach got his degree — in management science and engineering.

And now Westport — and the world — get a chance to watch as he tries to earn a Super Bowl ring.

BONUS FUN FACTZach Ertz is married to Julie Johnston, a midfielder on the US women’s national soccer team.

(Click here for the entire Philadelphia Inquirer story.)