WWE announcer Jim Ross is a staple on the sidelines at Oklahoma football games. But just how did Ross get to start watching games from the Sooner sidelines?
Grantland posed that question to Ross and he credits now-Washington State coach Mike Leach and current Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops with forging the connection.
A lot of members of Coach (Bob) Stoops’s staff were big wrestling fans. Back in ’99, Mike Leach and Mike Stoops would be game planning and they’d take a break for dinner about the time that Monday-night Raw came on. Then we were doing a taping in Oklahoma City and somebody in the WWE called and got us sideline pregame passes, and I went to practice and met the coaches. It became more about our friendship than it did about celebrity. I never really looked at myself as a celebrity. If I am, it’s a very unlikely one.
Leach, master of pirates, Geronimo book-author and wrestling fan. It all makes sense, right? Can you imagine the conversations between he and Stoops as the two watched wrestling together? Leach probably knew the backgrounds of each wrestler and the context of each character. And we can totally see Stoops being a wrestling technique critic.
Since that meeting, Ross became a regular at Oklahoma games and said he would regale Sooners coaches with wrestling stories on Friday evenings before games. Ross also said that following his gastrointestinal surgery in 2005, Bob Stoops called him from the sideline before a game to tell him the team missed his presence on the sideline.
"I thought that was pretty cool," Ross said. "That old cell phone is so antiquated and dilapidated now, and I don’t even know if I have the charger for it, but I never had the heart to throw it away."
In the interview, Ross also talked about the similarities between broadcasting wrestling and football. (He was a radio announcer for the Atlanta Falcons for a season.) He also called OU's win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 one of the best football moments of his life. Before the game, Ross compared Alabama to the Undertaker and Oklahoma to Shawn Michaels. That's fair, don't you think?
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