Following in a parent’s footsteps to pursue the same occupation is commonplace, especially in the world of sports. Media has seen plenty of instances of a father and son, father and daughter, or mother and daughter stepping in front of a camera to become broadcasters.
Add Noah Eagle to that list.
Eagle is the son of Ian Eagle, who is the play-by-play voice for the NBA on TNT, the NFL and college basketball for CBS and Turner Sports and is the voice of the Brooklyn Nets on the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network.
Noah Eagle, 26, will be the play-by-play voice of Big Ten Saturday Night, NBC’s new college football spotlight. But when deciding what he wanted to do with life, or even the college he ultimately chose, Eagle says his parents, who met as freshmen at Syracuse University, let him find his own path.
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The younger Eagle was drawn to the business and said he saw how his father went to work every day with a smile, which made the decision of where to go to school easier, even though he had visited Maryland, Miami and UCLA.
“I think that the best thing that really both my parents did for me was not forcing anything,” Eagle told USA TODAY Sports. “So, I think a lot of people just always assumed it was a foregone conclusion and I was going to go to Syracuse and that I was going to go into broadcasting. But it was never that way.”
Those people assumed right: He ended up at Syracuse and pursuing broadcasting.
Big Ten Saturday Night
NBC is making another foray into college football outside its standard Notre Dame home football games, which have been broadcast on the network since 1991.
Eagle will again be in the national spotlight when he moves his play-by-play duties to NBC for the Big Ten Saturday Night football, which starts Sept. 2 with Penn State taking on West Virginia. The telecast will air exclusively on NBC, stream live on Peacock, and feature Eagle with analyst Todd Blackledge and sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen. The new package features nine games on Peacock.
Hosts Maria Taylor and co-host Ahmed Fareed, with analysts Matt Cassel, Joshua Perry and Michael Robinson, will handle the pregame duties on “B1G College Countdown”.
Eagle says there isn’t going to be anything special about the telecasts. Still, he will immerse himself in the sights and sounds of college football and depend on his co-worker’s experience every week, especially Blackledge, a former college and NFL quarterback starting his 30th season as an analyst, having previously worked for ABC, CBS, and ESPN.
“I know for many people that sounds political or completely genuine, but my goal is at least to get one percent better on this broadcast,” Eagle said. “The fact I get to be next to Todd and really pick his brain on how he likes things, and how he has broadcasted these incredible games over the years, that is valuable knowledge that I’ll be able to take with me the rest of my career.”
Like most broadcasters, preparation is the key to Eagle’s success. He takes meticulous notes but says he will only use 25 to 30% of his information. He saves the rest in case of a blowout, as in the Notre Dame-Navy contest he called from Dublin last Saturday, a 42-3 Fighting Irish victory.
Talk of nepotism
Because of his last name and how successful his father is (Ian Eagle won the 2022 National Sports Media Association Sportscaster of the Year), Noah Eagle knows there is increased scrutiny about how he got his job. But that talk doesn’t bother him, especially by internet trolls.
“I really think that for me, if I was going to get bothered by it, I would not have got it,” Eagle said. “I knew that. I knew what I was getting into and what I signed up for. And so, I knew I was going to get the mean, and I was going to have to go and do something else. But to me, this was one thing that brought me a lot of joy, and felt like I should be very good, especially if I continue to work at it.”
Eagle previously called football for FOX in 2022 and CBS in 2021, and he was the play-by-play voice on NFL Network when the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 in overtime, coming back from a 33-point deficit in the largest comeback in NFL history. Along with his football duties, Eagle will enter his fourth season as the radio play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Clippers.
But Eagle says it is neither a gift nor a curse being so young in a business full of decades-long veterans. Having a positive attitude, he says, is the key to his success.
What you won’t hear during his broadcasts is a signature call, such as Mike Breen’s “bang,” or his father saying, “rack attack,” after a vicious slam dunk.
“(Broadcasting) was something I was passionate about, and I knew that every morning I was going to be excited to do that. I get to talk to coaches, and these athletes and tell their stories,” Eagle said. “And so that’s, at the end of the day, what I care about the most of all is I’m doing right by the people that I cover. That’s all I ask for, and that’s all that I really want to accomplish even when my career is gone.”
With such a busy schedule calling games, Eagle, who is single, says he is trying to balance his broadcasting duties with trying to live an everyday life.
A self-described “old soul,” one place you will find Eagle if he is not calling a game in a stadium or arena is in a movie theater. Eagle says he is in tune with anything related to entertainment, but movies are his go-to source for fun.
He says he will have a “movie Monday” during the season to try to catch the latest flick at the theater.
“I love entertainment, TV, music, all of it. I love all of it. I’m super into pop culture,” Eagle says.
It will be a few years before Eagle reaches his 30s, and he already has a keen perspective on a career that is younger than 10 years old.
“I think immersion is critical in this business,” he says. “I really appreciate all the very kind things that have been said over the course of my career at this point. And I know that there’s no way that anyone has a 100 percent approval rating. So, I think if you know that going in and you don’t basically live on every word that everybody’s telling you, you’re going to be OK.”