One Last NFL Announcing Post- Part 2

Monday, February 12, 2007

So how do I even grade Announcers you ask? Well, I don't really know. It's a combination of many things really: Do they stick to the point, Are the games called without errors and verbal slip-ups, Is the voice not annoying, Do they say completely asinine things. You know....things like that. I collect all this information in my head and make a completely biased decision, and assign a grade. Good? Good.

Before we get to the fun of grading I noticed one more thing about Dr. Z's article. As with everything these days there seems to be a generation gap. A great example of this is the Grammy's on Sunday. Every vote seemed to be cast by 40 something year-olds. The fact that Mary J. Blige won so many awards alone is a testament to the theory.

It happens in Sports too. Blogs versus Traditional Media, Sabermetrics versus Scouts, etc, etc.

Well the main disagreement I had with Z was on Gus Johnson. The Good Doctor says that Johnson is loud and over-bearing. Well this is the exact reason I love him! Maybe it's because I listened to Metallica growing up, but I like an exciting event to be called like it actually IS exciting. But I digress.....onto the grading........

Announcing Leads (alphabetical order):

Kenny Albert (FOX)- C-, Kenny just seems to have a bit of Nepotism in his favor doesn't he? Plus he kind of annoys me.....just seems like he's trying to hard at times.

Joe Buck (FOX)- D, Speaking of Nepotism......Buck has taken a gift learned from his dad, and turned himself into a smug, egotistical shell of what his dad was.

Ian Eagle (CBS)- B-, Very underrated if you ask me. Is never paired up with anyone of his equal though.

Dick Enberg (CBS)- C+, Always pretty solid, but again the generation gap is coming into play here. He just can't keep up the way he used to.

Bryant Gumbel (NFL)- F, Let me say this....I love him on Real Sports. He is a great journalist and provides a great service. Buuuut......he sucks as an announcer.....sorry.

Greg Gumbel (CBS)- C, Really not that much better than his brother. Adds nothing to the game and is just there. Not bad....not good.

Kevin Harlan (CBS)- B, I'm a big Harlan fan. I think he has energy and is usually good enough to carry the Rich Gannon's of the world.

Gus Johnson (CBS)- B+, I think Gus is the perfect broadcaster. He works well with others, and has passion for the game. His only problem is that he gets WAY too excited sometimes. Not every first down needs to be yelled about.

Al Michaels (NBC)- C, I don't think Al likes anyone or anything anymore. He's just bitter at this point. I'd still listen to him, but with a finger hovering over the mute button.

Jim Nantz (CBS)- B+, This was an A before the Super Bowl. I haven't been this disappointed in a debut since Jerome Walton.

Ron Pitts (FOX)- B-, Yet another lead who's dragged down by his partners. With that said he was a solid B+ as a color guy.

Sam Rosen (FOX)- C+, Not bad this past year. Didn't get that many games of his, but I don't remember cringing like in years past.

Dick Stockton (FOX)- C-, Another Generation Gapper. Dick is just up there in age, and can't keep up with football in the 2000's. Having him with Daryl Johnston is a big mistake.

Mike Tirico (ESPN)- C, I really think Mike Tirico would be better if ESPN would just stop f'ing with him. The Tony Ks and James Denton's of the world can be very distracting.

The Color Guys:

Troy Aikman (FOX)- A, He's at the head of the class. He tells me things I'm not aware of, and can put up with Buck.

Brian Baldinger (FOX)- C, I really have no opinion on him because I rarely see his games. People either love him or hate him, and I'm right down the middle.

Cris Collinsworth (NFL-N)- A-, Only got the minus because he's too cocky sometimes. But unlike Buck he actually provides great analysis which can offset his pompousness most of the time......MOST of the time.

Randy Cross- (CBS)- C+ , Is hurt immensely by being paired with Stockton. He's not bad when he's with Harlan.

Dan Dierdorf- (CBS)- C- , Everything with him is in sweeping generalization form. I don't think he's really trying anymore.

Marshall Faulk/Deion Sanders (NFL-N)- Incomplete, I personally hated them in the booth. While they were much more serious than I thought they'd originally be....they didn't belong up there. And with Bryant Gumbel leading was a train-wreck.

Rich Gannon- (CBS)- D , I think Rich Gannon is dreadful. All he does is predict that thing will happen, and they almost never do.

Ron Jaworski- (NFL-N)- B+ , Doesn't get an A because he gets a little "too in-depth" sometimes. I don't want to feel like I need a playbook to understand a game.

Daryl Johnston- (FOX)- C+ , Was a solid B last year but he's going backwards instead of forward for some reason.

Tony Kornheiser- (ESPN)- D+ , Tony showed a semblance of knowledge here and there throughout the season, but ultimately ended up as a hack-comic on one of the most important franchises in the Sport of Football.

John Madden (NBC)- No Grade, You can't grade Madden anymore. He's an institution....everyone knows what they are getting, and he's still fun to watch.

Tim Ryan (FOX)- B-, He's good but he's a little too "Raiders Friendly" for my tastes. I know he played for them, but seriously....even Raiders' fans knew they sucked last year.

Phil Simms (CBS)- C-, I just don't like him. I don't think anything will change that. He's always too loud and tells Jim Nantz that he's wrong.

Steve Tasker (CBS)- B-, Unlike Doc Z.....I like Tasker.....a lot actually. I think he balances being funny and calling the game perfectly. Maybe that's just me though.

Joe Theismann (ESPN)- F+, The worst of the group. He provides nothing but facts even my grandmother would know.

Dick Vermeil (NFL-N)- A-, Would have gotten an A+ if it wasn't for that laryngitis incident. He's friendly, he's funny at times, and he knows what he's talking about. He's like Jaworski without all of the shift zebra- Red 42- Slotback-9er talk.

Solomon Wilcots (CBS)- B-, Despite the fun I've had at S-Dub's expense this past year....he's actually really good in the booth. He'd be a good third man on a team.

So what do we (I) do with this now? Well I have fun with it. If I was the decision maker in all of this (and I obviously should be) here's how the teams would look.

Without Any Network Affiliations:

I'm going with two 3-man teams for the huge matchups each week, and three 2-man teams to cover the other intriguing games. The rest can be filled in wherever, or voted on/off Survivor style for all I care.

In my mind the perfect 3-man team needs a solid lead, an amiable and intelligent color guy, and a stats guy that glues it all together.

Team 1: Jim Nantz, Troy Aikman, and Dick Vermeil
Team 2: Gus Johnson, Cris Collinsworth, Jaws
Team 3: Kevin Harlan and Tim Ryan
Team 4: Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots
Team 5: Ron Pitts and Steve Tasker

I mainly wrestled with which team to put Vermeil and Jaws on. I ultimately put Jaws with Collinsworth because I'd like to see them challenge each other every week. I think the #1 and 2 teams are pretty interchangeable though.

With Network Affiliations:

Here's where it gets difficult......NBC, ESPN, and NFL Network can't change so we're only working with CBS and FOX. Here's what I came up with.


Team 1: Jim Nantz and Steve Tasker
Team 2: Gus Johnson and
Solomon Wilcots (what's wrong with an All African-American Booth?)
Team 3: Kevin Harlan and Randy Cross
Team 4: Ian Eagle and Phil Simms


Team 1: Ron Pitts and Troy Aikman
Team 2: Kenny Albert and Tim Ryan
Team 3: Sam Rosen and Brian Baldinger
Team 4: Joe Buck and Daryl Johnston

So there you have them. My conclusion you ask? Well FOX ultimately has no one to work with in the Lead Announcing category. I would personally try to make Tim Ryan a lead and put him with Aikman, but that would be tough. I would then pay Collinsworth $8 million a year, drag him away from CBS/NFL-N, and pair him with Pitts.

CBS is just has better overall talent. You can really mix and match, and the only reason I put Tasker with Nantz was because he's already been with Gus Johnson for a year. I also think Johnson and Wilcots could make a Browns-Jets game seem fun.

If anyone has thoughts/ideas on how switch around or add to the teams.....your opinions are welcome in the comments.

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 2:46 PM


I'm glad you recognize the brilliance of Ian Eagle. I always enjoyed his work on WFAN in NYC and so it's glad to see him moving up the ranks in the TV world.

Feb 12, 2007, 6:06:00 PM  

I wish CBS would realize what a moron Simms is; I am absolutely sick and tired of him. Any time he does a game (especially when Tom Brady is involved) I want to throw things at my TV.

Feb 12, 2007, 6:35:00 PM  

I do agree over all with your post but here is a little in house shakeup for NBC, NFLN, and ESPN:

NBC: Pregame- Costas, PARCELLS, TIKI BARBER, Bettis
Game- Michaels, Madden, Collinsworth.

NFLN- Pregame- Gumbel, Mariucci, Sanders, Faulk/Sterling Sharpe.
Game- Eisen, Collinsworth, Vermeil

ESPN- Pregame- Circus!!
Game- Nessler, Young, Jaws

Anonymous said...
Feb 12, 2007, 6:59:00 PM  

I lived in Kansas City when Harlan was just a regional cat. I can still kill my friends with my impression of him calling a Martyball game:

Chiefs line up in the pro set, with Cash going in motion from left to right. DeBerg under center, the ball is snapped. It's a handoff to Okoye... rumbling, biting, twistING, CLAWING!!!!

Gain of three on the play.

Then he blurted out "I LOVE THIS GAME!!!" at a Timberwolves game in an unguarded moment and the rest was history.

extrapolater said...
Feb 12, 2007, 9:00:00 PM  

Interesting analysis that I mostly agree with. I think a booth with Jaws and Vermeil makes the most sense, particularly with how well they worked together in the one opportunity they had.

As an aside, I want to hear a college game called by Brad Nessler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit at least once, since I've heard so many video games (the EA NCAA Football franchise) with that trio on the call...

Lou P. said...
Feb 12, 2007, 11:12:00 PM  

A booth with Jaws AND Collinsworth? That is the stuff dreams are made of. It's hard to beat the dynamic of Jaws and Vermeil though, but of course having people in the booth with any kind of chemistry is usually frowned upon.

Feb 13, 2007, 12:13:00 AM  

Something about Nantz I still don't like. Give me team 2 as my number one. Jaws and Cris in the booth together would absolutely kill.

Signal to Noise said...
Feb 13, 2007, 4:04:00 AM  

One thing I'll never understand about Monday Night Football -- why do they feel the need to recreate the Cosell years? Look, there are a million different media outlets now. It's not the same era that Cosell dominated. There are more than three channels -- someone's always going to be funnier, or less annoying, or more insightful, or provide better social commentary, etc. Why does Disney let itself get suffocated by its own desperation?

Here's a novel idea -- MNF already is the show. There's no need to try to make something more dynamic when everyone is already tuned in. The only step from that point is downward. There's absolutely no need -- no need at all -- for a MNF team to attempt humor. Why try to recreate the 70's by replacing one annoying asshole with another?

Feb 13, 2007, 3:31:00 PM  

Team 2: Gus Johnson and Solomon Wilcots (what's wrong with an All African-American Booth?)

The fact that Gus Johnson is the worst employee of CBS Sports? Just a guess. Not only is he overexcited constantly, but you'd be hammered if you had a shot every time he said "Check that" in a broadcast. He always makes a lot of mistakes each game.

My teams for each network:


1. Jim Nantz / Phil Simms

A solid pairing. I'm a fan of Nantz and see him as CBS' heir apparent to Musburger albeit with a calmer, more Summerall-esque demeanor. Simms I don't have a problem with despite the collective heart attack he gave Steelers Nation in the 1995 season's AFC Championship Game, and his "I played the game, I know more than you" attitude.

2. Dick Enberg / Dan Dierdorf

They need to reunite those two.

3. Kevin Harlan / Randy Cross

Same here.

4. Gary Bender / Rich Gannon

Dump Gus Johnson, the only announcer in CBS' stable I don't like, and replace him with old Tiffany Network alum Gary Bender. I think he'll take the assignment over games from the Mountain West Conference.

5. Ian Eagle / Steve Tasker

Eagle's definitely underrated. The problem is that every one ahead of him is so good that he's stuck at number 5.

6. Craig Bolerjack / Solomon Wilcots

No big changes here.

7. Bill Macatee / Rich Baldinger


Alternate: Don Criqui / Steve Beuerlein

This pairing goes to whatever game Criqui is closest to on the weekend's he works for Notre Dame.


First note, all sideline reporters would be dumped like CBS did.

1. Dick Stockton/Troy Aikman/Daryl Johnson

Stockton is the best NFL announcer Fox has, and Aikman and Johnson are both good.

2. Pat Summerall/Brian Baldinger

Pat deserves a bigger assignment, though this team would mostly be games in the South or near Texas to keep it easy on the aging Summerall, although his voice is aging gracefully. If he doesn't want to do games anymore, move everyone up a spot, and hire some young play by play guy for the bottom of the depth chart.

3A. Sam Rosen/Tim Ryan

Rosen deserves a better assignment.

3B. Tim Ryan/J.C Pearson

I think Tim Ryan should announce Football again like he did back at CBS and briefly for Fox, and he would really help out Fox's lack of depth at the Play by Play position.

4. Matt Vasgersian/Terry Donahue

They're already placed them together for the BCS, so might as well pair them up for the NFL as well.

5. Joe Buck/ Some other analyst

Buck should follow the baseball season from beginning to end, and then settle into this spot.

6. Thom Brennaman/ Some other analyst

Same for Brennaman. During Baseball season, Fox can go out and get freelancers to fill out the remaining games.


Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth

Madden needs to be put to pasture, and Collinsworth is a good analyst.


Brent Musburger/Dick Vermeil/Lynn Swann Sideline: Erin Andrews

If ESPN wants to hype up Monday Night Football, they can do so without all the unnecessary garbage by simply having the hypemaster call the game. Every game seems bigger when Brent's in the booth. He's been doing it for over 30 years so he's good at it by now. Yes, I know you don't like him, but I think he's still got it. Vermeil's a very good analyst and has worked with Musburger before if I'm not mistaken. Lynn Swann is very knowledgeable, and after losing the election for Pennsylvania governorship, will be able to fit in nicely in the MNF booth. Erin Andrews gets the sideline reporter spot because she's one of the few sideline reporters worth looking at or listening to.

Studio Crews:


James Brown, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason
Contributions by Charlie Casserly

Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson


Bob Costas, Jerome Bettis, Sterling Sharpe, Tiki Barber


Dan Patrick, Tom Jackson, Steve Young, Chris Mortensen

Patrick's been doing a whole lot of nothing recently other than the NBA show on ABC, Irvin is a moron plain and simple and needs to go, as is Berman, and Mortensen needs to be a bigger part of the studio show.

Chris said...
Feb 13, 2007, 10:23:00 PM  

I used to like the Mike Patrick led booth with Maguire and THeesman.

They were ridiculous enough to give you good fodder for impressions and laughs.

Suzy would have some long story about someone's florist business and she'd go on and on and send it back to Mike and he'd just say "Thanks Suzy" as if she didn't say anything. It was frickin hilarious.

GUS JOHNSON with his broadcast partner, four time Super Bowl Champion BRENT JONES!!!

Michael said...
Feb 14, 2007, 8:41:00 AM  

Gus Johnson is a sorry excuse for a network announcer. In fact, Gus is a sorry excuse for an announcer period.
I'll turn the sound off and watch the captions if Gus is doing a game.

The truth is, all the good football announcers do college not pro football.

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