The Voice of God is headed for Canton.
Philly native John Facenda, whose booming baritone became synonymous with NFL Films, is the 2021 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Monday.
The prestigious Rozelle Award is given annually to a broadcaster for exceptional contributions to radio and television in pro football.
Facenda, born in 1913, attended Roman Catholic High School and worked for WIP from 1935 through 1952 before becoming a popular news anchor at WCAU-TV.
In 1965, NFL Films founder Ed Sabol overheard Facenda during a chance meeting at a Philly bar known as RDA Club and immediately concluded that he’d be a perfect fit to narrate NFL Films scripts.
So began a relationship between Facenda and NFL Films that continued until he died in 1984 at 71.
Facenda narrated countless NFL Films documentaries and highlight films, and for generations of football fans, his voice recalled the unforgettable players and moments from NFL history.
“For nearly 20 years, John Facenda’s resonant voice was, and even today still is, synonymous with the power, strength and character of the NFL,” NFL Films president and CEO David Baker said in a release. “His narration of the league’s history, the legacies of those who played and coached in it and the stories of its greatest moments and memories helped generations of fans fall in love with the game and make it America’s passion.
“It’s fitting in a year that Steve Sabol joins his father, Ed, in the Hall of Fame that John Facenda’s decades of professionalism and excellence at the highest level will be recognized as the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award for 2021.”
John’s son Jack will accept the award on his father’s behalf at the Gold Jacket Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6 as part of the Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Week.
Among the past winners of the Rozelle Award with Philadelphia ties are Ed Sabol in 1991, former Eagle Irv Cross in 2009 and Philly native and Penn grad Andrea Kremer in 2018.
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