Ranking NFL Announcers

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.

8 thoughts on “Ranking NFL Announcers

  1. Haddon Anderson (@HaddonAnderson)

    I was just talking with my Dad the other day and I expressed the same thing about Joe Buck. I’ve always appreciated him, whether it’s football or baseball.

    I wish Costas had more featured opportunities. I remember when NBC still covered the NBA. Costas was fantastic during the Finals. I’ll always remember him announcing the epic 90’s Bulls games. I’ll also always remember that killer NBA on NBC song, which I now must attach…

    Also in regards to hoops, have you listened to Wilbon and Bill Simmons on ABC? I love hearing their insightful, witty banter.

    1. timgombis

      Totally agree, Haddon. I like Buck on baseball and football–he’s witty, insightful, and self-effacing.

      Costas has no peer, except Michaels. I grew up watching him and Tony Kubek doing Saturday baseball on NBC in the early ’80’s and those were some of the best broadcasts I’ve ever heard, along with Joe Garagiola and Vin Scully. His anecdotes and recall are incredible and he’s got a great vocabulary and command of the moment.

      I remember those classic series like they’re yesterday!

      Wilbon is excellent on the NBA and Simmons is great because he’s got a little contrarian streak, which is always funny when he’s with Magic. It’s like he just has to disagree with what Magic says. Maybe he’s too much like Uncle Tony!

      1. Haddon Anderson (@HaddonAnderson)

        I’ve only heard great things about Scully. Crazy that he’s still announcing!

        What are your thoughts on Hawk Harrelson? His wild (and frequent) rants are certainly over the top, but I do find his excessive loyalty to the South Siders to be humorous. He’d take a bullet for Konerko!

        You’re so right about Simmons. ESPN has a stellar team in Wilbon, Magic, Simmons and Chris Broussard.

      2. timgombis

        Scully is pure poetry, an absolute master. American sports commentary is so noisy, but Scully just hits the right note every time. He’s done only Dodgers games for years, but in the 80’s, he and Garagiola would do the game of the week on Saturdays.

        I’m not a White Sox fan, so I’ve only heard Hawk here and there. But there’s something wonderful about a homer doing your team’s games, you know? Like when Johnny Kerr used to do Bulls games. If they were having an off night, he’d lay into them mercilessly. That’s sort of the way it ought to be, you know?

  2. Greg

    Hawk and the guy that did the play-by-play with him back in the mid 90’s were an entertaining team. I gotta have some real humor. John whatshisname is pretty good with Joe Morgan on ESPN Sunday NIght Baseball. I like Costas because of that. They oughta put some of those guys that do Sports Center on the road.

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