Have you seen Sports Illustrated’s ranking of NFL announcers?
I think it’s dead-on with putting Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth at the top. In fact, NBC’s Sunday Night lineup was loaded with intellectual heavyweights (relatively speaking). They had Dan Patrick hosting discussions with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, and that was only the warmup.
Before each game Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth would sum up the day’s games and introduce the teams for that evening. Those ten minutes each Sunday easily constituted the most intelligent sports conversation of that week.
I would move Dan Dierdorff and Greg Gumble down the list a bit, but only because Dierdorff’s commentary is more bluster about the obvious than insightful. Gumble is pure class, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Dierdorff replaced.
I’d also move Jim Nantz and Phil Simms up. Simms often sounds like a junior high kid on too much Mountain Dew, but he’s insightful and Nantz is quick-witted and easy to listen to.
I’ve never understood why people are annoyed at Joe Buck. I think he and Troy Aikman make a great pair, and I’d actually put them second behind Collinsworth and Michaels.
I was glad to see that Jon Gruden is staying at ESPN and not taking a coaching job. He and Mike Tirico are great on Monday nights. Gruden always seems like a psychopath who’s barely managing to keep himself from attacking someone. He manages to be both insightful and confrontational, without being off-putting.