Kuhn tries his hand as color analyst for the Green Bay Packers
By Greg Bates
As the intro came on the air for the Green Bay Packers’ preseason opener at San Francisco on Aug. 12, a camera displayed a two-shot in the announcer booth.
Longtime play-by-play guy Kevin Harlan, son of former Packers executive Bob Harlan, sat alongside a familiar face.
Inevitably, some Packers fans spontaneously blurted out, “Kuhnnnnn!!!!!!” at their television.
Former Packers fan favorite John Kuhn was in the booth, serving the role of color analyst for the first time in his career.
Since 2019, he has been a sideline analyst for the Green Bay Packers Radio Network and Packers TV Network.
Kuhn’s first game in the booth was a special moment.
“It was exciting,” Kuhn told The Press Times. “You know, I’ve enjoyed the sidelines for the last three years and I’ll go back to that for the regular season. But to get the bird’s-eye view, you kind of get a different perspective and to get to work next to a legend like Kevin Harlan, it was exhilarating. It was a rush.”
Kuhn, who played nine seasons in Green Bay, was a key member of teams that won Super Bowl XLV and five division titles. A York, PA native, Kuhn began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 and was claimed off waivers in 2007 by Green Bay, where he went on to earn three Pro Bowl selections (2011, 2014-15). He finished his career playing two seasons (2016-17) with the New Orleans Saints, and officially retired as a Packer in 2019.
Even though it was Kuhn’s first time as an analyst in a television booth, he felt completely comfortable with Harlan by his side.
“It’s like going out for a drive for the first time, right, and you can’t take the car any faster than 35 miles per hour. He’s not going to let me get in an accident out there. He’s my governor,” Kuhn said. “For the first time up there, to be able to kind of walk me through and then never once, never once, did he seem to be fazed by my lack of experience. I was very appreciative of the way he acted and treated me, number one; the way he informed me, number two; and number three, the way he made me feel comfortable. Overall, it was a tremendous experience.”
Since Kuhn has spent time as a sideline reporter, he knows the ins and outs of a broadcast. However, serving as the color analyst is different when it comes to pregame preparation, meetings and a whole laundry list of other duties.
“There’s definitely a lot more that goes into the background because you need to be sharp,” Kuhn said. “One thing you learn, and I learned this my first game and I anticipated this just off of football in general, is when you feel you’re prepared, you need to prepare a little bit more. Even then, you’re probably still not as prepared.”
Kuhn noted that when he’s on the sideline, he has time to collect his thoughts and information before going on the air. But when you’re in the booth, it’s a different story.
“You’re shooting from the hip a lot in the booth, and your aim has to be on or it’s not going to come out right,” Kuhn said.
Throughout his playing career, Kuhn developed an interest in media and broadcasting. In 2019, he joined the Packers as a sports analyst, contributing content to the Packers digital broadcast and game presentation department.
“I’ve definitely gathered a great appreciation for media in general of all levels, because it’s a job you need to put work into, it’s a job you need to develop and cultivate relationships and it’s a job that you can’t rest,” Kuhn said. “Much like the NFL, it’s a train that will not stop moving — content is continuously flowing and if you sit back for a little bit of the time, you’re going to miss it. You need to make sure you keep up to speed and you need to make sure that you do your homework and you’ve got to make sure that at the end of the day in order to succeed you’ve got to put in the work. It’s not easy work. It’s very tough. It’s very challenging. But it’s also very rewarding in the end when you do something good.”
For Kuhn, who turns 40 years old next month, getting the chance to be a color analyst whets his appetite to want to do it on a regular basis.
Maybe that’s the next step in his broadcast career.
“I’ll be honest, I’m kind of taking this like my playing career. If I’m given an opportunity, I’ll try and do the best I can with it and see if I can get another opportunity,” Kuhn said. “If it leads to a different opportunity, I’ll welcome that as well and try and take on that challenge with open arms.”