BEST SPORTS ANNOUNCERS – PART 4: NFL

Nothing has felt normal in this horrible year, but I will say that it felt pretty darn good to sit on my couch and hear the always excellent Scott Hanson say “7 hours of commercial-free football!!!” the last few Sundays. With one TV on NFL Redzone and the other media unit getting the Bills games, Sunday has become a day to look forward to. Redzone has revolutionized how viewing takes place and it also has exposed all of the announcers that CBS and Fox have to offer. While I can’t hear as much as I used to with two kids running around now, I still have some likes and dislikes…

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Favorite Play by Play

  1. Kevin Harlan (CBS) – Nobody can match Harlan in the pipes department as his throaty calls when he gets excited are stuff of legends. That excitement is where he stands out above the rest because he always gives the big moment the call that it deserves. Kevin also has a sense of humor too, like when he called a guy who ran on to the field. Beloved in the NBA, just as good in the NFL.
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  2. Kevin Burkhardt (FOX) – His value has skyrocketed and it was good to see Fox reward him with the #2 slot. Easy decision given their lack of talent, but Kevin really stands out and his ascension was unexpected to me while he was the Mets field reporter. Everything you would want in a play-by-play guy.
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  3. Andrew Catalon (CBS) – Underrated in both college basketball and the NFL, Andrew takes his calls to another level during big moments in the game. The call always matches what happens on the field and he makes every game important. Slowly working his way up the depth chart, but it’s a tough climb with great play-callers ahead of him

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Favorite Color Commentator

  1. Tony Romo (CBS) – Much has been written on Romo’s rapid ascension in the broadcast industry and like many others, I am a fan. It’s not just his ridiculous telepathic calls, but his excitement, enthusiasm and humor makes his games enjoyable.
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  2. Trent Green (CBS) – Nobody really stands out beyond Romo, so a distant second is another former QB. I always liked him with Greg Gumbel (who unfairly keeps getting pushed down the depth chart) and his pairing with Harlan leads to a bit of a clash in styles, but still Trent does a decent job.
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  3. Charles Davis (CBS) – Really solid and a major step up over Ian Eagle’s old partner, Dan Fouts. I have no idea why people liked Fouts so much.

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Dislikes

  1. Chris Myers (FOX) – Can’t tell you how many times I’ve muttered “What an idiot”. How he got to go from crappy sideline report to crappy play-by-play announcer, I’ll never know. Just abysmal and will never go a game without a screw-up.
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  2. Rich Gannon (CBS) – Arrogant and pompous. Romo walks a fine line, Gannon goes way beyond it. I dread when I see a Bills game with his name next to it.
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  3. Dick Stockton (FOX) – Some announcers still have their fastball well into their 70s (Doc Emrick, Al Michaels), but Dick has clearly lost his. He’s done a lot in his decades of generally good work. However, it’s now time to hang it up.

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Ranking The #1’s At Each Network

  1. Jim Nantz (CBS) – Jim does well in any sport where he does not have time to compose a silly alliteration (think every final putt at the Masters) or spew a story about a player. He’s a good game caller, it’s just the in-between stuff that is annoying.
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  2. Joe Buck (FOX) – Yes, he is smug and occasionally monotone. BUT, he has gotten much better through the years. To a point where I don’t dislike him as a play-by-play guy. His final call of the Minneapolis Miracle is phenomenal.
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  3. Al Michaels (NBC) – Universally liked. He’s good, but I’m not crazy about him. His weird big calls (“He Did What?”) are why I have Buck over him. Never thought I would say that 10 years ago.
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  4. Steve Levy (ESPN) – The newest face to a never-ending rotation of MNF Announcers. Better than Tessitore, but that’s not saying much. Not a fan of Levy, even going back to his ESPN – NHL days. He is an alum of my Alma Mater though, yeah Oswego!

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