Over the past 12 years at ESPN, I've worked with dozens of analysts, including Bill Walton, Hubie Brown, Brian Griese, Bob Knight, Chris Spielman, Urban Meyer, and Jeff Van Gundy.
In 14 years with the Cardinals, I've spent most of the time alongside just one -- Ron Wolfley.
When you work with one person for that long, you get to know him pretty well. That doesn't mean I know what he is going to say. He has no script, no cliché checklist. But if you've listened to him just once, you're familiar with his impromptu catch phrases known as "Wolfleyisms."
These sayings are part of the fabric of Ron Wolfley's creative and poetic brain, and passionate, fast beating heart. I don't
have a doctorate in "Wolfleyism" translation, but I will do my best in this column to prepare Cardinals fans for what they might hear in 2015.
For example, when Wolf says, "strap on the Depends," he means this is an extremely tense moment, and you should be prepared for anything. When he says, "The sauce is on the boil," he means the Cardinals have the opponent right where they want them.
A "dirtlicker" is a player who gets his pad level low. "Where the fur flies" is in the trenches. "Getting your back waxed" is a QB sack, and "Bootybomb!" is a surprising moment. Last year, he uttered, "sometimes you're the pumpkin, and sometimes you're the teenager with a baseball bat," when referring to a massive hit.
As entertaining as Wolf is, he is also meticulously prepared. He breaks down film weekly, learning and understanding player strengths and weaknesses, along with team tendencies. While I love working with Wolf, it's our friendship that I truly treasure. Whether it's talking football, life lessons, or faith, our on-air chemistry is a direct result of a strong off-air relationship.
Rest assured, that when the microphone is off, Wolf is still Wolf. There is a treasure trove of off-air "Wolflyisms," such as "I'm going to slop it up." That means I'm starving, and will devour my food. If you hear him utter, "I have a massive spike in my head," he wants ibuprofen, probably beyond the recommended dose. "I've had enough caffeine to kill a goat" is reverse psychology, because he actually means I need more caffeine.
There's also "Grab the club and run down the hill", which is a metaphor to start the battle. Saturday the Cardinals will do just that. And Wolf and I will be there to call it.