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COMMENTARY

Fresh off black cat call, CBS' Harlan to work Bills-Broncos game

Alan Pergament

CBS play-by-play man Kevin Harlan and analyst Rich Gannon will be able to point out how much the Buffalo Bills have improved since a season-opening win when they call Sunday’s game with the Denver Broncos at New Era Field.

Harlan and Gannon worked the Bills’ 17-16 victory over the New York Jets in the season opener in New Jersey.

“What a way to begin the season,” said an excited Harlan with a little more than a minute left in the game. “Down 16-0 on the road, turning it over four times in the first half and coming back and showing resiliency."

Gannon, a former Pro Bowl quarterback who was the NFL most valuable player in 2002, will be able to assess the progress of Bills quarterback Josh Allen since the opener.

Harlan and Gannon will be joined by former NFL kicker Jay Feely on the sidelines.

Harlan, who has been a television and radio play-by-play voice for nearly 40 years on multiple sports, added to his legend when a black cat went on the field Nov. 4 during the "Monday Night Football" game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

His memorable radio call became a viral sensation.

“Now he is at the 5, he’s walking to the 3,” Harlan said on the Westwood One radio broadcast. “He’s at the 2, and the cat is in the CDW (a sponsor) red zone!

“Policemen and state troopers have come onto the field and the cat runs into the end zone! That is a touchdown! And the cat is elusive, kind of like (Saquon) Barkley and (Ezekiel) Elliott, but he doesn’t know where to go!”

The Giants led 9-3 at the time of the cat’s scamper but eventually lost 37-18.

Harlan, who has one of the best voices in broadcasting, also has had memorable calls at big moments in games. The most recent was his call of Kawhi Leonard’s four-bounce buzzer beater for the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors that clinched a game 7 playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last season with the game tied at 90.

“Is this the dagger?” asked Harlan on TNT as the shot went in the air. “Game, series, Toronto has won!”

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Harlan downplayed his cat call.

“I mean, anybody could’ve said what I said,” he said. “That’s basically what I said, which is what he was doing. I think we have a lot of animal lovers in this country, and a lot of cat lovers in particular, and I think they found it either fun to watch or maybe they were worried about the welfare of the cat.”

Harlan added his call was in keeping with his role on radio.

“I’m calling what I see, and I see this is going on on the field in terms of football, and also this is happening now where everybody has stopped play and watching the cat,” he told the Daily News. “I don’t think I really want to be known for calling drunks (which once happened in San Francisco) or animals that go on the field.”

In other words, he would prefer it if Western New York cats stayed off the field on Sunday.

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