“Try to spread the ball around and make good decisions and the rest will take care of itself. If you try to go out and win the game yourself as a quarterback, it's not going to work.”
In his third season as an ESPN game analyst, Kanell is impressed with the quarterback play in the Big 12 and enjoys watching the high-scoring offenses. Even at age 39, he said he would love to direct some of those offenses.
“That's the thing that has sort of jumped out at me as I'm covering some of these Big 12 games is the quarterback play, how well these guys are executing these high-powered, up-tempo offenses,” Kanell said. “I'm jealous when I watch them, wishing I could play with some of the talent they have. It looks like a tremendous amount of fun and, of course, that is going to be a big key in this game. Not only the play of the quarterbacks, but which team can protect their quarterbacks the best.”
Kanell, who threw for 6,372 yards and a school-record 57 touchdowns at FSU, excelled in some rivalry games. Seminole fans remember him best for the “The Choke at Doak” in 1994 when he rallied FSU from a 31-3 deficit against visiting Florida with 10 minutes left to a 31-31 tie that left Seminole players jubilant and the Gators dejected.
“About half the stadium or more had poured out and left the game. They had given up on us. We managed to mount a comeback and we tied it up.”
The teams met again that year in the Sugar Bowl. In a game dubbed “The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter,” the Seminoles won 23-17.
Kanell said the highlight of his seven-year NFL career was leading the New York Giants to the 1997 NFC East title. “There weren't that many highlights,” he said.
Besides calling games for ESPN, he also hosts ESPNU's “Unite” late night show, which mixes sports, humor and pop culture.