Not only was Saturday’s game with Houston the season opener for FC Dallas, but it also marked another debut of sorts. It was the first game for the club’s new broadcast team of play-by-play man Bobby Rhine and analyst Steve Jolley, both of whom played for Dallas not so long ago.
Rhine began broadcasting last year as FCD’s color man alongside Brad Sham and, at times, former Dallas Burn head coach Dave Dir. Jolley, who spent 10 years playing in MLS for several different sides, got his start behind the mic in 2008 when he called some games for the Dynamo.
It’s clear that Jolley’s new gig is a perfect fit.
“It’s good,” Jolley said by phone on Monday. “There are going to be some growing stages, but I think anybody that saw the broadcast last week was probably pleasantly surprised. … It wasn’t perfect by any means, and we definitely have an area of some growth. I think anybody that watched the show saw that with our experience in the game and some of our areas of experience outside of it, we delivered an entertaining prospective for 90 minutes.”
While it may have seemed odd to hear some guys calling a game for a team for whom they used to play, that definitely wasn’t the case for Jolley.
“In all frankness, I try to be as objective as possible. … I don’t want to home team it at all," he said.
“When I see things I don’t necessarily agree with, I call them out. Hopefully, I bring some sort of objectivity to the whole process.”
Jolley was teammates with Rhine in Dallas in 2004-05. The two have developed a close friendship, which makes working together that much easier.
“It helped; I think it helped both of us for that first game,” Jolley said. “It wasn’t the perfect called game, but the good thing about Bobby and I is that we’re both so constructively critical of each other. … At the end of the day, what’s most important is what’s happening out on that field and us presenting that.”
Jolley got his start in broadcasting when Dynamo CEO Chris Canetti asked him to call some games for Houston. According to Jolley, Canetti thought him to be “a somewhat bright, articulate fellow” and gave him the opportunity.
“It was a great opportunity,” Jolley said. “Unfortunately I was in Manhattan, and the cost to fly me in for all the games was a big factor why I didn’t do it last year. Here, with me being in this market now, it allows FC Dallas an opportunity to put me in that role.”
When asked what his biggest challenge is as a broadcaster, Jolley was frank with his answer.
“Not talking too much is I guess the best way of saying it,” he said. “It’s a unique, new role for Bobby (Rhine) as well in how he sees the game and brings out certain elements. … Calling the game is the easy thing. It’s the pregame and halftime thing, that’s when you’re dealing with time constraints. That’s probably where we’re going to see the best growth in the next game or two.”