NASHVILLE – Matt Rogers is a big man, with a booming voice.
During Titans games, if you've sat anywhere close to Section 239, Row J at Nissan Stadium, you've probably seen him, or heard him. If not, maybe you've heard his wife, Teri.
"I am not joking when I say this: She is probably a more opinionated, louder fan, than I am," the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Rogers said with a smile. "I have to sometimes tell her: Be quiet, you're embarrassing me."
Well, Rogers won't be able to keep his wife calm on Sundays moving forward.
That's because he'll be working games from the PA booth – Rogers has been named the team's new public address announcer. Rogers will call all Titans games beginning with the 2021 NFL season.
A former offensive lineman at the University of Washington, Rogers was one of roughly 200 candidates who applied for the position. He made the list of six finalists before being selected as the winner after a fan vote online and input from Titans leadership.
"I am so pumped," Rogers said. "I couldn't be happier. I am excited to represent the team, represent the state. And I promise you: I am going to bring it."
David Schindler, Senior Director/Executive Producer of Event Presentation & Production for the Titans, called Rogers a perfect fit.
Rogers, who lives in Spring Hill, is a Titans season ticket member. He's been a fan of the franchise since he was seven years old, when his first Pop Warner team was named the "Oilers." And he cheered for Warren Moon, the former Oiler quarterback who also played for the Huskies. Rogers was college teammates with former Titans lineman Benji Olson, who protected the guy Rogers adored – the late Steve McNair. When the Titans made it to the Super Bowl at the end of the 1999 season, Rogers knew he'd be a fan forever.
Now his job will be to inspire fans on Sundays.
"We had a lot of great candidates," Schindler said. "I think at the end, I feel like Matt was the total package. He has incredible energy, he is a professional, he has done broadcasts on TV, podcasts, and he's a huge fan. When you combine all those things, the energy, the fandom, the professionalism, his unique, gravelly voice, I just think that he was the total package.
"And I think his audition proved that he understands the game. He is a former player, and I think he understands what is needed to fill the position."
Rogers, 42, has earned recognition with his voice, and personality.
As a sports broadcaster for Turner Sports, he covered the nation's top college football teams. From there he hosted "Really Big Things" on Discovery Channel and he continues work with the network to this day. He also served as the host for Lifetime's "Coming Home," which honored service men and women coming home from deployment and surprising their families. Many of those reunions took place at nearby Fort Campbell.
Rogers, who won the 2001 Rose Bowl while at Washington, was a finalist on Season 3 of American Idol. Judge Simon Cowell bluntly told him on stage he made a bad decision when he sang 'Amazed' by Lonestar after nailing his earlier performances. It resulted in Rogers going home.
"Matt, you absolutely blew it with the choice of song. Totally blew it," Cowell told Rogers on national television. "Chance of a lifetime, and you blew it."
Rogers, who moved to Tennessee in 2015, laughs about it now. He's had other big TV moments, from appearing on the Price is Right with Bob Barker, to winning on Family Feud. He hosted "The Goes the Neighborhood" on CBS. Rogers is currently the host of a new reality show titled "Summer Camp" that airs on USA Network on Thursday nights.
But his new reality is what excites him most – he'll fill the seat, with the microphone, that was occupied by Duke Donegan for years.
Donegan, the public address announcer for the Titans organization since the 1998 season, worked the first Tennessee Oilers game during the 1998 season played at Vanderbilt Stadium, was the voice Titans fans heard every game – preseason, regular season, and playoffs -- since the team began playing at Nissan Stadium in 1999. He retired at the end of the 2020 season.
"Duke was the man, and it's hard to follow someone who has been doing it for 23 years," Rogers said of Donegan. "I think you have to walk a fine line of honoring your predecessor, but at the same time you're not trying to copy your predecessor. … Take 3rd down, for instance. I can't do it like Duke has always done, and I am not going to try to do it like he did. But I am going to honor what he did. I do see myself prolonging that thiiiiiirrrrrrd dooooowwwwn. But I am going to hype it up, and I'm going to try and fire people up. … I want to make that intense, and I want to make Nissan Stadium even louder.
"I've listened to Duke from the cheap seats, and I don't take it lightly. My goal is for him to say, 'You know what? I am glad he took my spot.' That would make me happy."
Rogers already knows this: He's thrilled for the opportunity.
Titans lineman Taylor Lewan delivered the news on Rogers in a surprise on the Nissan Stadium video board this week. Rogers was decked out in a No.77 jersey, the number Lewan wears with the Titans, and the number Rogers wore during his playing days. After college, Rogers briefly spent time with the Bengals, but he said it's hardly worth mentioning because his stint under then-Bengals coach Dick LeBeau didn't last long.
Rogers was pumped when he got the news of his new opportunity at Nissan Stadium, and he got emotional when he later delivered the news at home to his wife and three kids – sons Braden (15) and Mason (13), and daughter Sam (6), named after his late mom. Rogers has spent a lot of his time over the years raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, since his two youngest children were born with the disease. Raising awareness, and money, for CF has become a passion.
"I'm so proud of my family, and of course we all love the Titans," Rogers said. "When I told my sons the news, their reaction, it was priceless. It was 'Let's Go! Let's Go!' I can't talk about it without getting choked up. It was a beautiful moment. … As a dad, you're always telling your kids: 'I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you.' My oldest son patted me on the cheek and said, "I'm proud of you, dad.' It was like a faucet of tears. Oh man, I get choked up thinking about that."
Rogers imagines game days on Sundays will bring out even more emotions, and he hopes others will hop on board with him.
While he'll miss his seat in the stands with family and friends, he's more than happy to slide into his new gig.
The job description, when he applied, read like this: Provides all pregame and in-game announcements during Titans games at Nissan Stadium, including starting line-ups, down and distance, play results, penalties, gameday features, promotional reads, and other announcements as needed.
Now, Rogers will just need approval for his gameday attire.
"I'd love to wear a cowboy hat with Titans swag on it, and a different jersey every game, depending on what color jersey the team is wearing," Rogers said with a smile. "And I want to tuck the front of the jersey in and I want a big 'ol Titans belt buckle. I don't know if they'll let me wear that, but that's what I want to do.
"And I want to do everything I can to make Nissan Stadium louder and more intense that it's ever been. I want to give them about a 75 times injection of energy and enthusiasm. I'm telling you, I am so pumped about this."