Cullen Little is unrepentant.
What he says on air as part of the "Booker Coorigan Show" on 1300 AM is what he believes. Even if his opinion is not popular, or may appear incorrect in hindsight, Cullen is standing by his view.
"If I had any regrets I couldn’t keep doing [the radio show]," he said.
Cullen doesn’t pull his punches either. Earlier in the year, he said on air the Ravens would be best served by letting quarterback Joe Flacco sign somewhere else next year. Despite Flacco leading his team to the Super Bowl, Cullen isn’t walking back his comments.
"In my opinion he’s so inconsistent he could never be back [to the Super Bowl]," Cullen said.
This stance is pretty brave for any broadcaster, especially one working in a tough sports town such as Charm City. But what makes his confidence—not to mention the fact he’s on air at all—so incredible is that Cullen, a Guilford resident, is only 12 years old.
Stephen Little, Cullen’s father, said his son’s interest in the NFL developed in the typical way kids develop an interest in sports, by watching the home team with dad.
But Stephen said his son’s love of the game was also fostered by his own interest in a rather recent sports phenomena, fantasy football. He said when he watched games on television with Cullen he’d also keep a laptop open so he could track how the players on his fantasy team were performing.
"I think originally he got into football because I was sort of into fantasy football," Stephen said.
The fantasy game proved to be another hook for a kid who was already watching the game at an age when most kids are hacked Dad won’t let them watch cartoons on the big television because the game is on.
"By the time he was 9 or so he was pretty much my [fantasy team’s General Manager]," Stephen said.
So two years ago, Stephen decided Cullen was old enough to have his own fantasy team, and they created a league for some of his friends from the neighborhood. Although about 70 percent of the time it was the fathers running their kids’ teams, Cullen was the exception and called the shots on his squad without any assistance.
Cullen, who plays football, lacrosse, golf and is a nationally ranked squash player, has also developed a love of the Xs and Os of football and the ability to look at nuances of the game that average fans don't pay attention to. When asked about a particular aspect of the game he likes to watch, Cullen said he enjoys watching defensive backs play againt the pass.
"I like the fact that everyone [on a team] has to be good for everything to work," he said.
Cullen’s expertise continues to grow, and although he’s a Ravens fan, he prefers to watch the NFL’s Red Zone on Sunday, a channel that shows every scoring opportunity in every game. It allows him to keep track of players throughout the league, like his favorite, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running back Doug Martin.
"It’s made me become not just a Ravens fan, but a fan of the entire NFL," Cullen said.
His love and knowledge of the game became so prodigious he attracted the attention of broadcaster Booker Corrigan. Initially Corrigan had Cullen call into the show, which led to an in-studio appearance and now he co-hosts the hour long broadcast.
"One of the things I saw in Cullen was a great ability to communicate at a much higher level than a 12-year-old," Corrigan told the New York Times, who profiled Cullen earlier this month.
On air, Cullen’s voice is a little bit jarring compared to the deeper voices you traditionally expect to hear on the radio. But then the kid starts talking— summoning stats of the top if his head with an ease some professionals would envy—and its easy to forget your listening to a sixth grader.
While discussing last week’s AFC Championship game during Wednesday's broadcast with Jeff Mohler, who writes for CharmCitySports.net, Cullen tosses out the nugget that the Ravens’ ruined Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady’s perfect 67-0 record in games played at home that his team led at the half.
"We scratched their slate," Cullen quipped.