School of Communications alumni play unique roles in presenting Super Bowl to the masses
February 06, 2024
February 06, 2024
It's a rematch of a memorable clash from four years ago, when the Chiefs overcame a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to win their first title since 1969. Red-and-yellow confetti rained down on MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who stood on a stage constructed minutes after the game, clutching the Vince Lombardi trophy and proclaiming his vacation plans into a microphone held by Fox NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw — a feat of production magic orchestrated by the team Beach is honored to work with each year.
As he gets set to coordinate the league’s trophy presentation for the ninth time, Beach — a seasoned veteran of professional sports event production who serves as the Arizona Cardinals’ senior director of game entertainment and special events — will have to be prepared for, well, everything.
“It’s exciting but it can be chaotic,” said Beach, a member of the School of Communications’ alumni advisory board. “You play out all the scenarios and you just try to know your path and where you’re going. Everything is rehearsed to the second, but it’s a live event and on Sunday, things always change.”
Need proof? In 2018, when the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, the sterling silver trophy was passed down to field level amid the postgame pandemonium and left behind. Beach had to retrieve it from the turf and hand-deliver it to the Philadelphia locker room.
No matter which team holds the hardware on Sunday, there are Bobcats on the beat, covering the outcome from the perspectives of both fan bases.
Spillane, who as an undergraduate covered the men’s hockey team’s first trip to the Frozen Four for Q30-TV, is reporting live from Las Vegas this week as sports director of KYTV in Springfield, Missouri. It’s his fourth Super Bowl “appearance” in seven seasons dating back to his days as a sports anchor at WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin — a charmed run to rival the most dominant NFL dynasties.
Beset by a surprisingly ordinary regular season, the Chiefs found a second gear in the playoffs and are poised to become the fourth team in league history to win three championships in five years. The time Spillane spent around the Bobcats was a dress rehearsal for working under the brightest lights in sports.
“My time at Q30 and QBSN was definitely the foundation for my career,” said Spillane. “[Covering the Frozen Four] was a great experience in hindsight because, I mean, they were devastated, right? They were the best team in the nation all year long. You’re not expecting them to lose, and then they lose. And you have to try and figure out the best way to cover it. That was a great challenge and it was very helpful as far as preparing me to cover big events.”
Obermuller is a Chiefs reporter at Heavy.com, and while he’s not on site this week, he’s made himself plenty busy mining social media platforms and scouring press conference footage for fresh angles as he crafts 5-6 posts per day. At the Super Bowl, a 12-second soundbite can swell into a headline that lights up search engines and fills hours of airtime on TV and radio. And the Chiefs, in particular, are prone to a certain level of pop culture awareness.
Obermuller said Heavy.com’s Chiefs readership skews female, so he doesn’t shy away from off-field topics such as star tight end Travis Kelce’s romantic involvement with pop megastar Taylor Swift.
A media studies major at Quinnipiac, Obermuller credits his coursework for conditioning him for the lightning-fast evolution of the digital media landscape.
“If I were advising a writer getting into my company, or even the industry, I would say the first thing you want to do is get to know your base of readers,” Obermuller said. “Who are they and what are they interested in? It may not be the same for every team, but for some reason the Chiefs fan base does flock to that sort of material.”
Guerrera, a lifelong 49ers fan whose audio production career includes stops at ESPN, NBC Sports and SB Nation, launched his own podcast network, The Gold Standard, in February 2023. He’s hosting his show this week from the raucous environment of Super Bowl Radio Row, which means he’s having to stifle his excitement at spotting childhood heroes like Joe Montana and other football legends amble through the assembled press.
Contrary to old-school conventions about objectivity, Guerrera said it’s his 49ers fandom that helps him cover the team with the appropriate amount of fervor.
“I don't subscribe to the theory that you can't cover a team because you're a fan of that team, that it somehow weakens my ability to cover the team,” he said. “I think it’s completely the opposite. I think it strengthens it, because I’m with the fans. I’m talking to the fans every day. I know what they care about. We’re here to serve the fans. We ask the questions they want asked and find out the information that they want.”
Guerrera’s handle on X, @StatsOnFire, is a nod to the nickname he earned at ESPN Radio for supplying on-air talent with useful statistics. The moniker took on an almost mythical quality; he once fielded a phone call from a prominent on-air host who was bewildered to learn Rob and Stats were akin to Bruce Wayne and Batman.
The passion Guerrera brings to the airwaves was evident from the moment he set foot on the Mount Carmel Campus.
“The very first thing I did as soon as I unpacked my stuff getting to Quinnipiac was go to the radio station,” Guerrera recalled. “Ever since I found out that that was a job that you could do, that’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do with my life. I had my first show [at WQAQ] from 4 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and I loved every minute of it. I got an internship at ESPN Radio while I was at Quinnipiac, and then I got hired by ESPN at the end of that internship, and that was sort of the jumping-off point for my career.”
Similarly, Beach, a Long Island native, got a jump start on his career while he was still a Quinnipiac student. He turned down a TV production internship with David Letterman’s late-night talk show for an internship offer with the Yankees that turned into a full-time position. He’s held high-profile jobs with professional sports franchises ever since.
“The great thing about Quinnipiac is that from the day I showed up, it was pretty easy to get involved and find the direction that you wanted to go in,” said Beach. “But as much as it’s great to have those experiences and great to have connections, you still have to go and chase it and knock on doors. Never be afraid to ask. Because ‘no’ is still more than you had.”
Added Spillane, “I would say that everything I learned from my professors at Quinnipiac and the opportunities that I had were just as valuable as anything that anybody from any other renowned journalism school could possibly have.”
Quinnipiac Today is your source for what's happening throughout #BobcatNation. Sign up for our weekly email newsletter to be among the first to know about news, events and members of our Bobcat family who are making a positive difference in our world.Sign Up Now