One of Us: Merrill Reese, Eagles Broadcaster

The 73-year-old broadcaster and voice of the Eagles since 1977 talks about his secret talent, Tiger Woods and, of course, football.


Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is … Merrill Alan Reese. I’m named after my mother’s brother.

I grew up in … West Philadelphia and then Overbrook Park, near 76th and Woodbine. I went to Overbrook High. The great basketball player Wali Jones was there at the time.

I am … an incredibly devoted golfer. You never quite conquer it.

I drive … a white BMW M235i convertible. Stick.

The best Eagle who ever lived … was Chuck Bednarik. Here is a guy that’s both a linebacker and a center and played for two championship teams.

My worst class at Temple was … modern world history. It was like things from the 1600s. It was just dreadfully boring.

Chip Kelly is … extremely bright.

The most famous person I have ever met is … Tiger Woods, when my wife and I went to the Battle at the Bridges near San Diego. And Gerald Ford when he was the House Minority Leader. I was on Navy Reserve duty at the Pentagon and Gerald Ford happened to pass by. He sat down with us, and we talked football.

I wanted to grow up to be … an NFL quarterback. But at five-foot-eight and 140 pounds, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I lack size, speed and talent.

The most overrated Eagles player ever was … Jevon Kearse. We thought we were getting a great player, but he really didn’t contribute much to this team.

On Friday night, you’ll probably find me … at Phil’s Tavern in Blue Bell, which has great burgers and salads. I also love Chickie’s and Pete’s. That shrimp pizza.

The first concert I ever went to was … the Lettermen, back in college. My last was Billy Joel. At the Spectrum. That’s how long it’s been.

The most memorable game I ever called … was on December 19, 2010. The Eagles came from way behind to beat the Giants at the Meadowlands. They overcame a huge deficit and won it with a DeSean Jackson walk-off punt return.

When I want to relax … I play golf. I’m a member of the Blue Bell Country Club and Radnor Country Club. I have an index, which is at the moment a 10.4, which would really be a 12 handicap where I play. My broadcast partner, Mike Quick, is a terrific golfer, too.

People would be surprised to know that I … was in many TV commercials as a child. And I was an extra in The Greatest Show on Earth, part of which was filmed here. My mother picked me up from the set one day and saw me playing catch with a guy, and she says to me, “Do you know who that is? That’s Jimmy Stewart.”

The best football movie ever … was Everybody’s All-American, with Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange and John Goodman.

The hardest part of my job is … flying home after a night game on the West Coast.

My secret talent is … playing the drums. I have a set in my recreation room, and I took lessons when I was a kid. The best drummer of all time was Buddy Rich.

My second favorite Philly sports team is … the Phillies. They have some bright young players in the organization. They can only get better.

For Thanksgiving this year, I’ll be … in Detroit for the Eagles, of course.

If I could change one thing about Philadelphia, I would change … nothing. The warmth, the passion. It’s got a small-town feel. I love it.

Published in the November 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.