For the past seven years at Canarsie football home games, every time the Chiefs’ offense moves the chains, public address announcer Antonio Rodriguez will broadcast his trademark call, “And that play is good for a Chiefs’ first down.”
It’s something that helps to motivate the crowd, giving the fans a reason to boisterously cheer on their beloved team.
A lifelong sports fan and former junior varsity Chief, Rodriguez started his announcing career with the basketball team. After three years of hoops broadcasting, the East New York native switched to the gridiron when longtime announcer Andy Rizzo retired, prompting then-coach Mike Camardese, a legend at the school, to ask him if he’d be interested in plying his trade for the football team.
“I always wanted to be an announcer. Once he (Rizzo) retired, and Camardese gave me the opportunity, I just took it and ran with it,” he recalled at half time of Canarsie JV’s 38-18 win over Flushing High School Sunday. “I didn’t have to think about it. He asked right after a game, and I said yes.”
During his time as an announcer, Rodriguez has been fortunate enough to work high school basketball games at the IZOD Center, home of the then-New Jersey Nets, before the franchise moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In addition, he’s performed Chiefs’ voiceover spots for Cozzi Pictures’ City Gridiron, produced and directed by filmmaker Adam Salazar.
Volunteering his services to the football squad, it’s his profound love and passion for the program and sport that has him blissfully sitting behind the mic every season, with no end in sight, he noted.
“I’ve been coming to games since I was freshman,” Rodriguez—who hasn’t missed announcing or attending a game since he entered the booth in 2007—said. “It’s the love of the school, the kids, and the game that keeps driving me back every year. You’re going to have to bury me doing this.”
As far as announcing on a bigger stage, however, the 37-year-old said he would jump at the chance to take his career to a higher altitude.
“Anytime you do something, you always want to go to the next level,” he said. “Everybody has a dream of moving up. If the NFL came and said, ‘we’re looking for an announcer for the Oakland Raiders,’ I would move to Oakland tomorrow.”
— Jerry Del Priore
*Note: This story first appeared in the November 21, 2013 edition of the Canarsie Courier.