The eye in the sky at NFL games

In 2018, Ron Detwiler sat in the booth with Jim Tressel at a Veterans Appreciation Night at a Columbiana High School football game. (Submitted photo)

COLUMBIANA — Dr. Ron Detwiler loves sports. He played sports, his two sons played sports and he’s been to more sporting events than he can count. His love for sports is so deep that he continues to buy season tickets for the Cleveland Browns year after year, despite their struggles. So even though Detwiler is a very successful optometrist, he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to join CBS as local spotter for NFL games.

After being a public address announcer for Columbiana football for years, Detwiler was offered the position 15 years ago when they needed help from a contributor with sports knowledge. For someone that played sports when he was younger and has a deep understanding of football, he felt as though the job was right up his alley. At first, Detwiler started as a runner, doing a different job each game for about three years.

“When I began it was an interesting dynamic,” Detwiler said. “Most of the runners were younger guys trying to work their way up the ranks, but I’m older with a full-time job. I started to do this because I enjoy it.”

His role then expanded as he began working with sideline reporters, providing information and updates on the sideline for three years. During this time, he would also record stats some weeks. Detwiler also had the opportunity to work the NCAA basketball tournaments for CBS as well.

Detwiler’s next move brought him to the press box where he commonly works beside Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts as a PVI spotter. His main job is to see where the sideline referee spots the ball and communicates it to the person who creates the blue and yellow line graphics for the line of scrimmage and first downs.

As a Browns fan with season tickets and a spotter for CBS in Pittsburgh, Detwiler travels to Cleveland or Pittsburgh every Sunday during football season; Cleveland as a fan and Pittsburgh as a spotter. Throughout his experience with CBS, he has worked for other networks like FOX, NBC and ESPN and has worked with Jim Nantz, John Madden, Tony Romo, Phil Simms, Marcus Allen and more.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet these individuals,” Detwiler said. “I don’t take the opportunity for granted and I really do enjoy it. These guys are some of the greats.”

In a very high-paced environment, Detwiler believes his job as an optometrist has helped him carry several habits into the NFL.

“It’s my job as an eye doctor to take care of everyone in front of me,” Detwiler. “The most important thing is that they understand what I’m saying to them, and that is why communication is so important in whatever you do. So, with whatever I’m doing I have to be effective and efficient. That carries over to everything I do.”

Communication may be the most important aspect of Detwiler’s everyday life, as the eye doctor of 43 years emphasizes the importance of his patients to understand what he’s telling them. It’s not just important in his optometrist job and his CBS job, but it also is crucial in his position as a chairman for the park board for 26 years.

His love of sports has never wavered, and neither has his willingness to work with others. It’s why he’s an eye doctor, chairman of the park board and said yes when his friend told him that CBS needed a spotter. So after all these years, Detwiler still cherishes the job that connects him further with the game he loves.

“You’ve got to like the game outside of just being a die-hard fan of just one team that you root for,” Detwiler said. “That’s why I can go to the Browns game one week and a Steelers game the next. I’m just a big fan of all sports, which is why I still enjoy what I do.”



Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.50/week.

Subscribe Today