MIAMI (WOOD) – As Ohio State turned the ball around with about a minute left against the Wolverines on November 27, Jim Brandstatter’s excitement was palpable through his call.

Not only because the Wolverines punched their ticket to their very first Big Ten Championship game, but because his friend and radio partner Dan Dierdorf got to call his first victory over Ohio State During the eight years he was the Wolverines color commentator.

“He’d been talking to me over the summer about how much he wanted to do that, ‘I want to beat Ohio State. I want to have that opportunity. So, to have that opportunity, in that last game, and the kind of game that was. , the emotional outpouring from the fans, from the team, how they did it, what that meant from an eight-year-old point of view, they didn’t beat them, the frustration, whatever stands out – for let Dan experience that I was just happy for him, ”Brandstatter said.

It was the duo’s last game at Michigan Stadium. In January of this year, they announced that this season would be their last. It’s been a remarkable journey for everyone, both former college footballers and Brandstatter, a 43-year-old broadcaster for Corn and Blue.

“I knew Ohio State was going to be my last broadcast at Michigan Stadium and I was a little surprised that I wasn’t as emotional as I think I should have been,” said Brandstatter. “But I’ve been there for 43 years, I’ve had so many good memories and good times. I am so lucky and so grateful to have had them. So, yeah, I know it’s the last one, but I don’t feel bittersweet. I don’t feel sad.

Between his time as a Detroit Lions radio host and his years with the Wolverines, he called thousands of football games. But there has never been a season like this.

“If I had sent this script earlier this year to a scriptwriter, they would never have made the film, you can’t, that’s not true. It’s a branded thing, ”Brandstatter joked. “Dan and I didn’t want to be history, we wanted Michigan football to be history and thank goodness this team did what it did because it became history. Dan and I just wanted to be a sidebar, we’re offensive linemen, we don’t want big headlines.

They’ve found their way to make the headlines in this long swan song season. Brandstatter announced on his social media that Dierdorf would not be able to call the game with him in the booth on Friday night at the Orange Bowl due to “circumstances beyond his control”.

“It’s going to be hard. I mean, when I found out 24 hours ago, I was gloomy, ”Brandstatter explained. “Not having him here, maybe it hurts a little more than him, I think. Because I want him to experience that, that’s what an offensive lineman thinks, they want other people. guys are having fun too.And when they can’t, it hurts.

He’s hoping it will be more of a Hallmark movie with a happy ending and that he and Dierdorf have another chance to host a game for Michigan side-to-side in Indianapolis for a national championship. But as a former player and professional now on the verge of retirement, he understands that no game is promised.

“I’m still involved in Michigan football. I want to do an audiobook with some of the interviews I did for my Tales from Michigan Stadium books. I have a podcast that I do. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just not going to broadcast football games, ”Brandstatter said.

Brandstatter has been in more Michigan locker rooms than he can remember and noticed that there was something different and special about this year’s champion team.

“They have this belief in themselves that they enjoy each other’s company, they enjoy the trip and they enjoy the process and have fun while we do it,” Brandstatter said.

He remembers times in Wisconsin when Michigan players stole the show during the famous “jump around” performed by Badger’s student section. And the sportsmanship of team veteran Cade McNamara who was substituted in the game after Freshman JJ McCarthy provided an assist against Ohio State – McNamara turned and pointed at McCarthy to say a good job. These are the things that Brandstatter says set this team apart.

“Reveling in the success of other guys, I think this football team has really become a special group that loves and enjoys playing with each other,” Brandstatter said.

As the scene grows for the Wolverines and the lights brighten as the curtain closes on 43 years of broadcast excellence, Brandstatter is content to know that winning or losing to Georgia has been the championship of a show.

“I just feel grateful. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to do this for 43 years, ”said Brandstatter. “To see the things that I saw for my team, my university, where I graduated, where I played. Having the opportunity to broadcast, do these games and meet guys like Bo, Lloyd, Moe, some of the great players, you know, the Leaches, Wanglers, Carters, Braylin Edwards, Desmond Howards, Charles Woodsons. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. I have lived an enchanted life.

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