ESPN's Joe Tessitore describes 'authentic' father-son moment for BC-Clemson trick play call

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·4 min read

ESPN announcer Joe Tessitore and his family experienced a moment of a lifetime over the weekend that a father and son will never forget.

Tessitore was on the broadcast for Boston College’s trip to No. 1 Clemson on Saturday and got to make a pivotal, unexpected call involving his son, John Tessitore, BC’s backup punter and starting holder. It was a sweet moment that Joe Tessitore called “authentic,” hence why it was appreciated by the masses on social media.

Tessitore on ‘sincere, authentic father-son’ moment

Joe Tessitore is back on the college football call after two years in the “Monday Night Football” booth. He has years of experience in the game and plenty of connections. He also knows how harsh social media reactions can be and how “divisive” the current landscape is in 2020.

He told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch the call broke through for the majority because it was “authentic and good.”

“As I know better than most given the past couple of years, most of the sports reaction on Twitter comes from a place of resentment, vitriol and tearing down. But this was 99.9 percent of joyfulness, authenticity embraced, emotional sincerity.

“I think just everybody was touched by that sincere, authentic father-son sharing of a moment,” he added. “The other thing I guess I’m proud of just as a broadcaster is that I referred to him as Tessitore. It took Greg McElroy to say, ‘This is your son. That’s your son who just did that on national TV against the No. 1 team in the country.’ You don’t think I didn’t want to go break down and cry and run down on that field and hug him?”

BC-North Carolina game set up Clemson moment

Tessitore said he was able to call his son by his surname because of being on the call for Boston College’s Oct. 3 game against North Carolina. He said there was uncertainty at first about if he should have the assignment. But he went through with it after talking to everyone involved.

In that game, his son lined up at quarterback in the shotgun for a trick play on the two-point conversion. He said it allowed him to call him “Tessitore” and treat him like any other player. Via The Athletic:

“If it wasn’t for that moment against North Carolina, I don’t know how I would have handled him running a trick play against the No. 1 team in the country on ABC this past week.”

Tessitore: Not a ‘perfect call,’ but we were on it

Joe Tessitore looks over his announcer's sheet with a headset on.
ESPN's Joe Tessitore explained the 'authentic' play call involving his son that social media loved. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It probably helped for Tessitore that it happened so quickly. He picked up on the motion of the tight end and the camera crew was able to stay on game coverage rather than switch to a field goal shot.

“It wasn’t a perfect call by me, but it was an authentic call. The thing I was happiest about with the call is that whenever you’re preparing to do a game and especially a game with the No. 1 team and the No. 1 team potentially being upset, you want to be really hyper-attentive to every little thing happening. I don’t care if it was my son or anybody else, I was right on it.”

Tessitore said it was a big moment handled well for his booth mate, analyst Greg McElroy, as well. McElroy has been a friend of the family for many years and is like a “big brother to John.”

“If you spoke to Greg, he would tell you what happened was the closest he’s ever come to crossing the line on a broadcast and saying holy s----. That was something special for him as well.”

Deitsch shared Tessitore’s views on the play in full and it’s an endearing read of a father working hard at his profession while simultaneously being a proud dad. He acknowledged how fortunate he was to be in the stadium and talk to his son after the game since so many Boston College parents have not had the chance this season due to COVID-19.

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