Wednesday, July 15, 2009

As the TV Announcers Turn in 2009

Last week, ABC/ESPN released their announcer pairings for this upcoming football season, and I got to thinking how some of my favorite announcers are disappearing, seemingly in favor of some of the announcers that just annoy me. I know some will share my likes and dislikes, and others will disagree....and probably rather vociferously. So here are my picks and pans:

College Football
Top Play-by-play Announcers:
Verne Lundquist, CBS. Too bad he's stuck doing SEC games; I was really disappointed that he didn't cover last year's Gator Bowl. He's the top voice in college football as far as I'm concerned.
Ron Franklin, ABC/ESPN. It's a good news/bad news situation with Franklin. Bad news is that he's being bounced around the dial and off of many of the premier games. Good news is that he's focusing on Big XII games

Announcers that make me want to find the radio:
Sean McDonough, ABC/ESPN. His father was a great sportswriter for the Boston Globe. His son is a versatile announcer who can cover football, basketball, baseball, and hockey equally poorly. He was horrible taking over for Jack Buck on CBS baseball coverage in the early 90's, and hasn't gotten any better, no matter where the world-wide leader sends him out.
Bill Land, FSN. I'm not sure FSN even tries anymore, really. They have the rights and figure we'll listen to whatever they can find.
Thom Brennaman, Fox/Big Ten. This one hurts. As good as Brennaman is doing baseball, and even the first year or two of the BCS, last season's Tim Tebow love-fest can't be forgiven. He's too good to have to resort to that.
Dan Fouts, CBS. He's a decent color commentator, if he's prepared. (See 2009 Gator Bowl for an example of where he's not.) But a good commentator usually doesn't make for a good play-by-play guy.

Color Commentators I like:
Kirk Herbstreit, ABC. He's usually more often on-target with his commentary, and he doesn't seem to hold a grudge against teams. Even the 1995 Huskers.

Color Commentators I dislike:
Just about everybody on FSN. Fortunately, we don't have to listen to Artie Gigantino anymore. Oy!
Pat Haden, NBC. One of those guys who sound authoritative...who really isn't. Covering Notre Dame for the last dozen years or so doesn't help him either.

Announcers I like:
Greg Gumbel, CBS. He's solid ...unlike his brother.
Jim Nantz, CBS. Not spectacular...but solid no matter what he's asked to announce.
Dick Enberg, CBS. He's fading out, but his voice still says "big game".

Announcers I dislike:
Dick Stockton, Fox. Fading fast; maybe I just can't get past his NBA legacy.
Gus Johnson, CBS. Makes himself bigger than the game.
Ian Eagle, CBS. I feel like I'm watching Arthur on PBS

Color Commentators I Like:
John Madden, Retired. Yeah, he started to slip in recent years. But he was good no matter how good or bad the game was. In some of those old Super Bowl blowouts, Madden found a way to try and save the broadcast.
Dan Dierdorf, CBS. Not sure why ABC dumped him from Monday Night Football. That's when the franchise started to jump the shark.
Randy Cross, CBS. Doesn't seem to make himself part of the game.

Color Commentators I Dislike:
Phil Simms, CBS. Seemingly smug attitude who got the #1 gig because he won a Super Bowl. (That explanation might also explain why his son Chris got the nod over Major Applewhite at Texas.)
Troy Aikman, CBS. Less attitude, but got the #1 job for the same reason as Simms.
Tony Siragusa, Fox. Fox tries to limit the damage by putting him on the sideline, but then they throw it to him to analyze a play, and starts sounding like a reject from the FSN college crew.

Studio Hosts I like:
Chris Fowler, ESPN. I wasn't sure when he took over for Tim Brando, but he's become the defacto host for college football.
Chris Berman, ESPN. You either like him or despise him, but nobody does NFL highlights like Berman. Yeah, he can be out of his element on golf and on play-by-play, but NFL Primetime is sorely missed on Sunday evenings.

Studio Hosts I dislike:
Lou Holtz, ESPN. Mumbles his way through the broadcast, trying to become the new clown at ESPN by trying to one-up Corso.
Mark May, ESPN. I think most of what he says on-air is designed to get a reaction, not necessarily because he actually thinks that.
Dan Patrick, NBC. He was bad at CNN. He started the decline of ESPN Sportscenter away from highlights and towards personality. I used to think it was Keith Olbermann who drug him down, but Olberman's work on ESPN2 in it's infancy convinced me that it was Patrick, not Olbermann.

I'm sure I left somebody out, and I'm sure someone will disagree with me on some, if not most of these selections. Go ahead and post your comments below...


Pete said...

Chris Berman....yuk. I like the guy guy who did the color for the Boise St./OU upset, though I don't know his name.

Husker Mike said...

Yeah, Berman schtick turns a lot of people off. Put me in the minority of people who like him on highlights, though. I'm hard pressed to find anybody who does them better anymore. Dan Patrick is horrible on NBC, and CBS/Fox make the analysts do the highlights, which is usually even worse.

I believe you are thinking of Charles Davis, who works with Brennaman on the Big Ten Network and Fox. He's not bad...

Anonymous said...

Dude, how could you forget Musberger? He's horrible and just talks about Michigan/Ohio State regardless of the conference game.

His 'folks' and other annoying catch phrases also piss me off.

Husker Mike said...

Hating Musberger is almost a cliche. He's certainly on the lower echelon of broadcasters, but I wanted to call out some other announcers.