The call came in early December; Kevin Burkhardt initially wasn't sure he had heard correctly. It was Fox executives informing him he would be calling an NFL playoff game.

"I was like, 'What?' " he recalled Thursday from Seattle, where he will conclude his rookie season for Fox by working the Saints-Seahawks game.

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"I obviously was ecstatic, and a little bit incredulous . . . All I wanted to do was just have a good year. That was winning the lottery, man, that phone call."

Burkhardt, 39, SNY's Mets reporter since 2007, was expected to be in the middle of Fox's play-by-play depth chart in his first year, but his announcing team, including analyst John Lynch and reporter Erin Andrews, did well enough to be given several prominent assignments, culminating in this one.

Fox tries to reward a deserving team with an postseasonassignment in the divisional-round game not being called by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

"I guess as ridiculous as it was to think about the job as a whole, it's even more ridiculous to think I'm doing a playoff game," Burkhardt said. "It's crazy. Awesome, crazy, amazing . . . In some ways, I feel like I'm running out the tunnel with Lynch."

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Fox has expressed interest in expanding his role to include baseball and basketball, but he is under contract to SNY through the coming Mets season, so any additional work for Fox would have to be agreed upon by SNY.