Sports journalist John Sutcliffe is ready any given Sunday to do the work one of the most versatile sideline reporters today. At Super Bowl 50, however, the NFL’s premier Hispanic reporter plans to treat la gran batalla between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos like one of the most important contests in NFL history.
On Feb. 7, not only will Latinos everywhere zealously root for Panthers coach Ron Rivera – a scene of inspiring debauchery no doubt – but they’ll get to be a part of ESPN Deportes‘ historic Spanish-language broadcast of Super Bowl 50.
— ESPN Deportes (US) (@ESPNDeportes) February 7, 2016
“I think the NFL has grown a lot,” said Sutcliffe. “The largest minority in the U.S. is the Hispanic and it tells you where we’re headed. Now ESPN Deportes and other outlets are trying to cover that niche.”
Sutcliffe will call Sunday night’s game alongside ESPN Deportes commentator Álvaro Martin and former NFL kicker and Super Bowl champion Raul Allegre. After covering international events like the FIFA World Cup and breaking news on the trials of Laker Kobe Bryant and former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, Sutcliffe is a household name ESPN – “Big Brother” to be exact. Yet, like other POCs in the National Football League, the Mexican-American had to overcome several hardships throughout the span of his lengthy career.
“When I started this 20 years ago, while covering an event like the Super Bowl, we were like the outsiders. We were like the guys who came from Mars. We were covering an American event but we weren’t granted the access we wanted or we had to fight to get interviews. Now, that has changed a lot.”
A lot has changed, indeed. As ESPN Deportes’ star reporter for Monday Night Football, Sutcliffe has observed the growing success of Latinos in the NFL, from Argentine Super Bowl XXXVII Champion Martín Gramática to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Antonio “Tony” Ramiro Romo. Meanwhile, Sutcliffe will get to make history of his own on Super Bowl Sunday 2016.
“Usually when your on the sidelines for international rights holders, you’re basically out in a corner and you can’t roam the field. Now that ESPN Deportes has the Spanish rights and domestic rights to this Super Bowl on Sunday, I’ll be able to roam the field.”
As far as the end result of Sunday night’s game? Sutcliffe believes this may be Peyton Manning’s farewell to the NFL and that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton won’t fold under pressure. “As of right now, I see Carolina as a favorite, but something tells me that experience wins games,” he quipped.
The official kick-off for Super Bowl 50 will broadcast live from the Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco on CBS and ESPN Deportes, at 7 p.m. –Tony Centeno