Wayne Larrivee ’77 is not easily recognized in public, even though he took part in the 2011 Super Bowl.
Known as the voice of the Green Bay Packers for the last 12 years on WTMJ Radio, Larrivee was in Dallas to do play-by-play coverage of the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Packers. It was only his second Super Bowl gig in a nearly 35-year radio career, but it wasn’t a time to rest on his laurels. Larrivee and others broadcasting from the game found themselves stuck in a corner of the stadium with a less-than-optimal view of the field.
“We didn’t have the same sightlines as you would on the 50 yard line,” he said. “But that’s where they put the radio folks. I had field glasses, but it was hard to be as accurate as we like to be.”
At least he had hands-on experience to call upon. “We used to call college games from the stands,” he said. He appreciates that he was encouraged and allowed to accomplish real work at Emerson, including broadcasting on WECB during his first semester. “At Emerson, there weren’t too many people wandering around wondering what they were going to do,” he said.
Larrivee’s career path is strewn with winners, including covering five National Basketball Association (NBA) championships that resulted in his employer’s team winning. “When you call a game, you are not a fan. You can’t be,” he explained. “But when you broadcast for a team that you have interest in and follow, that’s where the fun comes in.”
Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rosenthal says Larrivee, who won two Emmy awards for his coverage of the Bulls, was himself Chicago’s biggest loss to Green Bay.
Yet Larrivee has some fun with his work, even as he scales back his freelance broadcast schedule that recently has included work for the Westwood One radio network, ESPN, and Big Ten network television. He laughs at the suggestion that he will be known for declaring a game over by telling listeners that “the dagger” had been metaphorically used against the losing team.
“That’s an old basketball term I used in 2001,” he said. “It refers to the point in the game where one team’s lead is insurmountable in terms of time and points. I pulled it out one time for a Packers game and it just kind of stuck. Now if I don’t use it, people ask, ‘When was the dagger?’ I didn’t think it would take off that way.”