Andrea Kremer had NFL sheets on her bed when she was 10. Her father took her to see the Philadelphia Eagles play when Veterans Stadium opened in 1971. She wrote coach Don Shula a consolation letter when the Miami Dolphins had their 18-game winning streak snapped in 1973.
Then there was the time she was interviewing for a job at NFL Films and had to take a written test that included describing a trap play. Her answer filled a page, and she was hired the next week as a producer.
Kremer worked for NFL Films from 1984-89, then moved on to ESPN to help open its Chicago bureau, and was with the network until last spring, when she joined NBC as a sideline reporter for "Sunday Night Football." She'll join Al Michaels and John Madden from Foxborough Sunday for the Patriots' game against the Colts.
But even though she seems obsessed with sports, there are other sides to Kremer -- she went to Fordham Law School briefly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. "But I just loved sports, I always loved sports," she said, and that's where her life took her.
After law school, she began writing for a weekly newspaper, eventually became the sports editor, and turned the section from a four-page broadsheet into a 20-page magazine. After she did a feature on NFL Films, she applied for a job there. Thus came the written test that launched her television career.
Kremer, 47, has worked every Super Bowl since 1985 (she was in Atlanta but not at the game when her son was born six years ago), and has covered the NBA Finals, the major league All-Star Game, the Stanley Cup finals, and the NCAA basketball tournament. She and her family recently moved to the North Shore from Los Angeles when her husband, John Steinberg, got a job as senior scientist at UMass-Boston. An archaeologist, Steinberg played Division 3 football at the University of Chicago, and rugby at Oxford.
Kremer said his passion for sports does not meet hers. "He says he liked football more until he met me . . . When it becomes your life, it's a different thing," said Kremer, who was the first woman hired by NFL Films, realizes she's a role model, and takes part in several mentoring programs for girls wanting to go into sports.
Kremer said she was sold on her latest job by NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, as well as the presence of Michaels and Madden in the booth.
"You get very few, if any, opportunities in your career to work with the best people at their position. I mean, it's unbelievable," she said. "And we've got the best producer and the best director; we've got everything."
But later, after filling in for an under-the-weather sports anchor in West Virginia, where she was a producer, a TV executive from Bangor saw her and offered her the weekend sports anchor job. Since then, she's worked at stations in Houston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and is now an anchor for ESPNews, and works on "SportsCenter." She was hired in 2004.
"I always thought about working at ESPN. There is nothing better. And getting back home was a top priority," said Bonner, who grew up in Marblehead.
Bonner, who won the Edward R. Murrow Award of Excellence in Journalism for a feature she did while at the Fox station in Los Angeles, said it was a no-brainer as to why she was drawn to sports.
"I grew up in the Boston area," she said. "To me, it's the best sports town there is. You grow up in the '70s and '80s and you have the Bruins, the Celtics, the Red Sox, Boston College. To a sports fan, it just doesn't get any better."
Susan Bickelhaupt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.