Veteran ESPN SportsCenter anchor and college football commentator Steve Levy, 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP Desmond Howard and sideline reporter Laura Rutledge will call the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl between FIU (8-4) and Toledo (7-5) for ESPN on Friday, Dec. 21 in Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Levy has been ESPN’s play-by-play voice for every game in the bowl’s history. Howard (analyst) will work his second-straight assignment at the bowl (2017), and Rutledge (sideline) will work for the third time in the Bahamas (2014, 2017).
Steve Levy is one of ESPN’s longest-running SportsCenter anchors, having joined the network in August 1993. He is most often seen on the 11 p.m. ET edition or other late-night shows, as well as on the SportsCenter program on the ESPN App. In addition to his SportsCenter duties, in 2016, Levy
returned to the college football play-by-play booth to work a weekly ABC/ESPN afternoon game.
Levy has hosted SportsCenter from many of the biggest events in sports, including the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Final Four, College Football Playoff and more. He and ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose have covered the Stanley Cup Finals for ESPN every year since 1995.
Along the way, he has also handled play-by-play on the NHL (1995–2005) on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports, college football on ESPN2 (1999–2002) and the NCAA Division I men’s hockey semifinals and finals – “The Frozen Four” – in 1998 and ‘99. The versatile Levy has also served as the studio host for ESPN’s NHL telecasts and co-hosted The NFL on ESPN Radio — previewing, reviewing and updating National Football League games all day on Sundays throughout the season. He and Melrose teamed to call ESPN’s telecasts of the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
Desmond Howard joined ESPN in 2005 as a college football analyst. The 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP joined the network a few years after his remarkable 11 seasons in the NFL. He has been an analyst on the eight-time Emmy-Award winning College GameDay, the network’s signature Saturday morning show originating from the site of one of the day’s best games, since 2005 and also calls ESPN’s mid-week games.
At Michigan from 1988-1991, Howard was the first receiver in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring as he set or tied five NCAA records and 12 single-season Michigan records. In 1991, the All-American won the Heisman by the second largest margin of victory in the trophy’s history (85 percent of the vote). He was also awarded the Walter Camp Trophy and the Maxwell Award that year, finishing with 950 receiving yards and 19 touchdown passes. By the end of his college career, Howard had scored 37 touchdowns.
The Washington Redskins selected Howard fourth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft. Howard spent three years with Washington, then moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars – with whom he scored the first game-winning touchdown in team history – the Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2000 while playing with the Lions.
Howard had 92 receptions as a wide receiver in his first four years. His 870 punt return yards in a single season remain a NFL record. With a memorable postseason kickoff return of 99-yards in the 1997 Super Bowl, he became the first and only player on special teams to be named Super Bowl MVP. Also in 1996, Howard led the NFL in punt returns, punt return average and punt returns for touchdowns.
In 2011, Howard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Laura Rutledge joined ESPN’s coverage of the Southeastern Conference in 2014 as a reporter on SEC Network and ESPN. She recently signed a multiyear contract extension in summer 2018.
Rutledge has expanded her portfolio at the network over the past year to include co-hosting Get Up!, regular stints as a SportsCenter anchor and a red carpet host at the Home Depot College Football Awards and the ESPYs. Rutledge finished her first year as SEC Nation host last fall and her second year with the show overall. She also contributes to ESPN and SEC Network’s live-event programming for college football, basketball, gymnastics, baseball and softball.
She was a mainstay in ESPN’s extensive championship coverage surrounding the College Football Playoff, NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, and both the Women’s College World Series and College World Series.