AFL and ESPN announce on-air commentators for 2015 season
Friday March 27, 2015
CHICAGO – The Arena Football League and ESPN have announced the on-air commentators for ESPN’s 2015 schedule of AFL games. Ari Wolfe and J.B. Long will handle play-by-play while Anthony Herron and Sherdrick Bonner serve as booth analysts. Randy Gatewood and Steve Papin will be on-field analysts.
Wolfe has worked in some capacity at every ArenaBowl since 2002 and been a mainstay on the AFL’s weekly national telecasts since 2010. He serves as both a news anchor for NFL Network Now updates and a reporter during weekly coverage of the National Football League. Wolfe called Albany/Indiana Firebirds games from 1998-2003 and also served as a play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Soul from 2004-2008 along with being the NFL preseason voice of the Minnesota Vikings from 2007-2011. During the 2008 season, Wolfe had his own column on ArenaFootball.com entitled “Wolfe’s Den” and has also called Olympic Table Tennis for NBC Sports.
Long served as a play-by-play announcer on AFL on ESPN broadcasts during the 2014 regular season and was on the announce team for ArenaBowl XXVII last year. He appears on Pac-12 Networks as a co-host of Pac-12 Sports Report and contributes to play-by-play duties for football, basketball, baseball, golf, and soccer telecasts. In addition to his duties with Pac-12 Networks, he has also served in the same capacity with MLB Network, ESPN Networks, Bright House Sports Network and Big Ten Network. Long has also worked in recent years calling Arena Football games for the Tampa Bay Storm and San Jose SaberCats. He began his broadcasting career as a sports anchor with WHBF-TV in the Quad Cities.
Herron will again serve as an analyst both in the booth and on the sideline for “AFL on ESPN.” He starred at the University of Iowa as a defensive lineman and played five seasons in the NFL before playing and coaching over the course of five years in the AFL. He was the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of the Tennessee Valley Vipers of af2 when they won the ArenaCup championship in 2008. Shortly after, Herron began more extensive work as a broadcaster. He became one of the lead game and studio analysts for the Big Ten Network and then joined NFL Network in 2010 as a football analyst for “Arena Football Friday.” Herron has been on every ArenaBowl broadcast since that season and also serves as a college football analyst for NBC Sports and Pac-12 Networks.
Bonner was named the Greatest Quarterback in AFL History by the Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012 and has played a leading role on national AFL telecasts over the past four seasons. In addition, he has served as the sideline analyst for the last three ArenaBowl telecasts. During the college football season, Bonner works as the lead Mountain West Football analyst for Root Sports. In his 15 seasons in the AFL, Bonner was a four-time All-Arena selection. He won two ArenaBowl championships as a player and was named MVP of ArenaBowl VII. Bonner was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in April 2013.
Gatewood was a six-time All-Arena selection as a wide receiver and defensive back for the Arizona Rattlers from 1996-2007. He was also a three-time All-Ironman Team selection and two-time Ironman of the Year during his time in the League. Inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2012, Gatewood began his career as an AFL analyst on CBS Sports Network and ESPN in 2014.
Papin was a two-time All-Arena selection and Don’t Blink Player of the Year winner as an offensive specialist with the San Jose SaberCats. One of the most dynamic players in the history of the AFL and a recent finalist for induction into the Arena Football Hall of Fame, Papin served as an assistant coach with the SaberCats and provided analysis on the team’s radio broadcasts before making his debut as an on-field analyst for AFL games on CBS Sports Network and ESPN last season.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2015 season. This season will also be the first with Scott C. Butera leading the way as Commissioner. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVIII Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.