The stage is set for Super Bowl 54, the year’s biggest sporting event in the United States.
When the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers kickoff, the big game will be broadcast in more than 180 countries and territories around the world in a number of languages as millions tune in on various platforms.
On the call for Fox Deportes is a voice from the Rio Grande Valley belonging to a pioneer of the sport.
Rolando Cantu, a McAllen High alum who played football for the Arizona Cardinals to become the first Mexican collegiate non-kicker to play in the NFL, will be in the broadcast booth for Fox Deportes helping bring the Super Bowl to life as the lead analyst.
“I’ve been able to pioneer, just as I became the first Mexican non-kicker from a Mexican college to ever crossover to the NFL and play in a regular season game. I think what I’m doing right now is trying to inspire kids to not only play on the field, but also future broadcasters that have that passion that I have every time I get to call an NFL game. I think it’s a wonderful experience and I’m ready for it,” Cantu said.
Born in Monterrey, Cantu went to school in McAllen, ultimately graduating from McAllen High in 1999 after playing varsity football for the Bulldogs.
Upon graduation, Cantu accepted a scholarship to attend and play football at Tecnologico de Monterrey with the Borregos Salvages where he won two national championships. After college, Cantu worked his way through NFL Europe tryouts and landed with the Berlin Thunder in Germany, even winning the 2004 World Bowl.
His performance in NFL Europe put Cantu on the map as the Arizona Cardinals took notice and signed him in 2004. Cantu made his NFL debut in 2005 against the Indianapolis Colts, but a knee injury in 2006 brought an end to his football days on the field.
But with a passion and love for the game, Cantu didn’t stray from football as he was brought on to a management position with the Cardinals where he’s been the past 13 years as an analyst on Arizona’s Spanish broadcasts.
“It’s incredible that the NFL fan is hungry to consume this in Spanish. We do sprinkle in some English, so it’s kind of a spanglish type of deal, but for the most part, we stay true to the language and really enjoy the broadcast,” Cantu said.
He recently spent the 2019-20 regular season preparing for tonight’s call of the Super Bowl by travelling across the country nationally broadcasting every NFL Thursday Night Football game for Fox Deportes. From New England to Seattle, Cantu was there on the call.
“This past year I was fortunate enough to call the games for Fox Deportes every Thursday night. We’ve been able to grow the market and obviously cater to the Spanish speaking NFL fans that really enjoy seeing us on different platforms,” he said. “We’re expecting huge numbers here for the Super Bowl, so I’m excited to work with this very talented team that Fox Deportes put together so I’ll definitely bring my A-game on the call.”
While he admits he’s fortunate to have the opportunity to broadcast the NFL’s biggest game of the year, Cantu takes pride in representing the place and people that raised him. With family in Edinburg, Mission and McAllen, he makes it to the RGV at least once a year.
“I still go down to the Valley — my family is there, one of my daughters was born in McAllen, I consider myself from McAllen — so anytime I get back there I really enjoy it,” he said. “Just to represent the Valley, to represent Northern Mexico and represent our Hispanic culture that’s always doing wonderful things, I think it’s awesome.”
Kickoff of Super Bowl 54 is slated for 5:30 p.m. local time. Cantu will have the call of the big game on Fox Deportes on cable television and on Fox Deportes’ mobile application, which is free to download.