Most college football players dream about making it to the NFL. To have the privilege to be a part of the pageantry that’s played out on Sundays in the fall is a chance of a lifetime.
Former Cyclone back-up quarterback Ty Yohe (1989-93) is one of the lucky ones, but you wouldn’t know it because he’s not on the field. He’s the guy behind the scenes working his tail off to provide the television viewer an outstanding production of a NFL game.
For the last 15 years, Yohe has been an important part of Fox and its NFL Sunday television production crews. He’s the guy who operates the “Fox Box” graphics you see in the upper corner of your screen. It’s a demanding and stressful job in which Yohe is proud to be a part of.
“It’s a challenge and it keeps you on your toes,” Yohe said. “It reminds me of being a quarterback, because you have to be on top of your game because you don’t want to mess up. I think it’s just the intensity of live TV. It really is a challenge, but also so rewarding when you have a great game and don’t have any mistakes.”
Yohe makes his home in Des Moines, but he’s not around much in the fall. He works all 17 weeks of the NFL season, traveling to various cities with the Fox crew headlined by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan.
Yohe will fly out on Friday to an NFL city, assist in productions meetings on Saturday, work the broadcast on Sunday and then head back home on Monday. He’s logged a lot of miles in the sky, including a trip to London to work the San Francisco-Jacksonville game on Oct. 27.
“It’s a rough schedule,” Yohe said. “I’m always dealing with flight delays, weather, etc. It can be a little overwhelming at times, especially when you’ve been doing it for so long.”
“Fox has five to seven crews working each week,” Yohe added. “The crew I am on is the third crew. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman is the “A” crew, Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston is the “B” crew and we are the “C” crew. I have been with other announcers, but I like the crew I am on now.”
Like Yohe alluded to, work inside a production truck can be stressful. The action is fast-paced and you have to be ready for the unexpected, especially if technical difficulties occur.
“There have been times when the communication from the press box might go out and you’re like, ‘oh my God, what are we going to do?’” Yohe said. “Everything has to be functioning correctly to have a good broadcast. There have been a million different bumps in the road that you constantly have to troubleshoot and get it all figured out.”
Yohe has witnessed many incredible games in his professional tenure with Fox, but one of his favorite games he’s worked was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl clash between Oklahoma and Boise State.
The game was an instant college football classic with an extraordinary ending. The Fox broadcast was just as stellar, earning an Emmy in 2007 for Outstanding Live Sports Special.
“The game had everything,” Yohe said. “Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson was playing with a cracked clavicle and Boise State made one heck of a comeback by throwing out every trick in the book. That was probably my most memorable game I have been a part of.”
With his crazy travel schedule in the fall, Yohe is unable to watch games in Jack Trice Stadium in person. However, he can usually find the game on some platform with his unique job.
“We have our production meetings on Saturday and I will always try to find the game somewhere in the truck,” Yohe said. “I always will be checking in on how Iowa State is doing on our breaks.”
Yohe will be in Indianapolis this weekend for the Colts-Rams showdown. Make sure to check out the Fox broadcast. You know a Cyclone will be hard at work.