Brewers play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson knows Packers fans will be watching 'The Match' for Aaron Rodgers nuggets

JR Radcliffe
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Brewers TV analyst Brian Anderson

Inevitably, the question comes up every year, and every year Brian Anderson has the same response. He has no intention of leaving Milwaukee.

In fact, he just signed a multi-year extension to continue as TV play-by-play announcer for the Brewers.

"I've made it very clear from Day 1, I'm extremely loyal and the Brewers gave me the opportunity of a lifetime," said Anderson, who will return to national airwaves for TNT's airing of "The Match," a star-packed golf event featuring none other than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "As did Turner, but the Brewers did first.

"I don't have any intention of leaving. I've had opportunities to leave and go elsewhere, and my wife and I and my family, we've always decided that we wanted to stay. ... If I didn't work for the Brewers, I'd still live in Milwaukee. My daughter goes to Marquette (University), we love it here.

"I've always made it clear with Turner Sports, I wanted to be connected to the Brewers, and they've made a path for me to do that. And I've made it clear to Brewers I want to be connected to Turner Sports, and the Brewers have made a path to do that."

Anderson's profile with TNT certainly won't be slowing down. Already a presence during the NCAA Tournament and season-long NBA coverage, Anderson will be one of several top-flight candidates in the conversation to replace retiring Marv Albert as the network's lead NBA announcer, and he'll be part of TNT's Tuesday night MLB broadcasts starting next year. 

But Milwaukee, which he can repeat for 1,000th time since he took over as Brewers play-by-play man in 2007, remains too close to his heart.

Bob Uecker has set the precedent in Milwaukee as a longtime Brewers broadcaster who also has been able to do other projects.

"Bob Uecker kind of set the trend when he was doing everything he was doing: movies, working the networks, doing Monday Night Baseball, Johnny Carson, Mr. Belvedere," Anderson said. "But he always had his roots in Milwaukee. I'm not from Milwaukee, but I feel like I am now. I have no desire to work in any other major-league market other than Milwaukee. ... As long as the Brewers will have me, I'll be there."

He'll be asking questions of Aaron Rodgers

Anderson will partner with a cast of characters (including colorful basketball commentator Charles Barkley) and cutting edge advancements in broadcasting technology for coverage of "The Match" airing Tuesday, July 6 from Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will pair with Phil Mickelson in a competition against Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau.

All players will be mic'd up and can communicate back and forth with broadcasters. Needless to say, Packers fans will be interested to know what Rodgers has to say as his standoff with the Packers continues.

More:Should Aaron Rodgers stay or go? Fans weigh in on quarterback's feud with the Packers

More:There's another option for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: He could opt out of the 2021 season

"He knows what he wants to deliver publicly and he knows what he wants to keep private; it doesn't matter what I ask him," Anderson said. "What I'm not going to do is turn it into an interrogation; this is not a sit-down interview for information for the Green Bay Packers. My job specifically is not to pry information out of people, especially info they're not prepared to deliver yet ... but remember, I'll be sitting with Charles Barkley. I think all bets are off on any rules or any etiquette when it comes to Charles Barkley."

More:After the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3, TNT analyst Charles Barkley says 'this series is a wrap'

Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau trade barbs in advance of 'The Match' on TNT in early July.

Anderson already got a flavor of it when a pre-recorded interview for promotion of "The Match" included Rodgers wearing a T-shirt bearing the message "I'm offended." Fans suspected it might have something to do with Packers president Mark Murphy calling Rodgers a "complicated fella." The interview was recorded before Murphy's comment.

"I think everything he says and everything he wears, everything is newsworthy right now," Anderson said of Rodgers. 

It's different than a typical game for Anderson, who's broadcast two previous "The Match" events, including over Memorial Day weekend in 2020 when the world was still reeling from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's going to go down in history as one of the hallmark events, and not because of what we did, because the technical side of things," Anderson said of that experience last year, which ultimately netted an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Sports Special (and lost  to the 2020 NBA All-Star Game). "Really, that was the first bubble. ... Spaced out, masks, extra trucks, travel, nurse on site, temperature checks. You can draw a direct line from that endeavor to the NBA bubble. They used all that knowledge at Turner Sports to set up the NBA bubble in Orlando."

The tech has only improved from there, including multiple cameras in the carts. In preparation, Anderson and his broadcasting team will rehearse an entire round with stand-ins for the four golfers. 

"It kind of takes me back to the old days of the Skins Game or Battle of the Network Stars," Anderson said. "You see these guys in a different setting and are then able to eavesdrop on them and get to know them over a four- or five-hour window. It's a special little niche that we've been able to tap into, and we have a lot more planned for the future."

Will he be the next lead NBA broadcaster for Turner?

The cadre of talent available to replace Albert is impressive, with Kevin Harlan, Spero Dedes and Ian Eagle among the luminaries in the mix alongside Anderson. But as Anderson pointed out, the added commitment will really only show itself during the NBA All-Star Game and conference finals; he'd still be working the same number of games for TNT otherwise.

"Whichever way they decide to go, I'm more than comfortable with," he said. "There's a competitive side where you want to be in the top position, but it's not the most important thing to me. To borrow a baseball (concept), I don't need to hit second or third or fourth. I'm just really glad to be on the team, and all of us feel that way.

"I just signed a multi-year extension with Turner, and even in the contract, it didn't come up and wasn't discussed if I'd be the lead or the No. 2 or No. 3." 

He's had a front-row seat to the success of Mike Budenholzer 

Anderson doesn't need to be calling NBA games to know what the Milwaukee Bucks have been doing just down the road from Brewers games.

Anderson began his TV career with FS Southwest, including coverage of San Antonio Spurs games. He worked as a cameraman as far back as 1992 and became sideline reporter in 1999; Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer joined the Spurs staff in 1996.

"I remember specifically — and this is pre-social media — the fury over this new GM-turned-head-coach named Gregg Popovich who fired (coach) Bob Hill and decided to take over with no head coaching or assistant coaching experience," Anderson said. "I remember it was discussed every day on San Antonio sports-talk radio, it was 'Fire Pop.' One of the early websites that I ever saw was a 'Fire Pop' website. They tried to run him out of there the first three years I was in San Antonio."

It's a recognizable situation to what Budenholzer has faced in Milwaukee, a third-year coach with ample success – just not a trip to the NBA Finals heading into the 2021 postseason.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) talks with head coach Mike Budenholzer during the first half of their Eastern Conference finals game against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis.



MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

"I think he's as talented and wise as anyone in the game," Anderson said. "Every coach is going to have criticism. I don't believe you're going to find a better coach for the market, for the star player that is Giannis, and I think he and ownership and the general manager, Jon Horst, are so well connected and work well together. I don't want people in Milwaukee to lose sight of that.

"It's very similar to the Brewers dynamic, and it's exactly the way the Spurs dynamic was. The dysfunctional organizations are the ones that are constantly changing, and ownership to general manager to head coach aren't on the same page and don't have each other's backs in the hard times. ... I think they have something special here that I wouldn't want to mess with."

The same could be said for the Milwaukee broadcasting community.

"I'm always trying to help people realize what a great market it is, under-served and underrated," Anderson said. "The TV crew in Milwaukee, I'd take anyone from that crew and do a Super Bowl with them, a World Series. ...There's great talent in this market, and I'm not just saying that; I would have been long gone if that wasn't the case.

"The sports teams are great and all copacetic; everybody gets along, and I don't think it's always been the case. All the organizations are connected and all want each other to thrive."

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.