Posted by: Nathan | November 21, 2006

Your Favorite Football Announcers

NFL football is just about always fun to watch, but the experience can be heightened or denigrated depending on who the announcers are. Since I know many of you are football watchers, I’m curious to hear who you think are the best NFL broadcasters. Here are the nominees; I’ll give my take at the bottom.

Best In-Game Broadcast Team

1. CBS: Nance and Simms

2. NBC: Michaels and Madden

3. FOX: Buck and Aikman

4. ESPN: Tirico, Theisman, and Kornheiser

Now breaking up the teams…

Best Play-by-Play Guy

1. Nance

2. Michaels

3. Buck

4. Tirico

5. Write-in

Best Color Commentator/Analyst

1. Simms

2. Madden

3. Aikman

4. Theisman

5. Kornheiser

6. Write-in

Best Halftime/Pregame Squad

1. CBS: JB, Esiason, Shannon Sharpe, Marino

2. NBC: Costas, Collinsworth, Bettis, Sterling Sharpe

3. Fox: Menefee, Bradshaw, Johnson, and Long

4. ESPN: Berman, Jackson, Irvin, Young et al.
Your Dream Team

You tell me!

My Picks

Best In-Game Team: Buck and Aikman. This is an upset; Michaels and Madden are classic, but I find Joe Buck’s voice to be the right amount of comedy and enthusiasm, and as much as I dislike the Cowboys, Aikman makes pretty insightful comments while avoiding the former-player idiocy. Madden and Michaels are edged out due to Madden’s lack of useful commentary.

Play-by-Play: Al Michaels. He’s got such a great voice, he’s always apropos, and he gets excited at the right times. He’s the best.

Color Commentator/Analyst: Tony Kornheiser a.k.a. the salvation of MNF on ESPN. I love him and Wilbon on PTI, and he always manages to make comments germane to the action on the field as well as the national scene. Aikman’s #2. Simms is dead last.

Halftime/Pregame Squad: This is too easy: ESPN by a mile. Even with that loud-mouthed idiot Michael Irvin always around, the professionalism, humor, intelligent conversation, and overall enjoyableness of this group is unparalleled, thanks mostly to Berman and TJ, who are a great tandem. NBC’s is second despite Bettis; CBS is so far back that one can barely see it—JB is only guy on there worth a dime.

Nathan’s Dream Team: In booth: Al Michaels, Tony Kornheiser, and Mike Wilbon. Who wouldn’t watch?! At halftime: ESPN crew minus Irvin. In fact, ban him from TV altogether.



  1. Great post! First, not to be Nate, but I think you mean “…curious to hear WHO you think are the best NFL broadcasters,” instead of whom. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but there it is. Onward and upward…

    Best In-Game Broadcast Team
    Buck/Aikman: Though Michaels/Madden has the “comfy like pajama pants” vibe, Buck and Aikman do an impeccable job of announcing, providing insights and just generally providing content germane to the broadcast. More than I can say for ESPN *cough* Jay-Z *cough*.

    Best Play-by-Play Guy
    Joe Buck: Buck is the smoothest play-by-play guy out there—in any sport. Save hockey (Mike Emrick is the king of hockey play-by-play), Buck could kick anybody’s butt in any sport. He’s funny, he’s got a smooth voice and he knows what he’s talking about.

    Best Color Commentator/Analyst
    Kornheiser: Unfortunately, I’ve only seen Kornheiser a few of times this season. What I’ve seen I thought was pretty good. His opening monologues (which sound like one of his newspaper columns) are fantastic. His in-game stuff is fair-to-middling. The problem I have is that I know how great the guy can be on radio/PTI, and he’s not there yet. He’s still way better than everybody else (with the exception of Aikman, who is the best ex-pro analyst out there). I give TK ‘til the end of next year at most, if not the end of this year, before he decides he’s tired of doing this and returns to radio.

    Best Halftime/Pregame Squad
    FOX: These guys have great chemistry, and none of them are uber-annoying. The others are: NBC—too choppy & trying to be too slick; CBS—Sharpe is a detriment to former TEs everywhere; ESPN—I like Young and Jackson, but Berman and Irvin can kiss my patut.

    My Dream Team
    Buck, Kornheiser, Jaworski: That’s right, I’m throwing Jaws in there. Though I’d love to see Wilbon, I think the mob would emerge if a “football guy” weren’t in the booth. Jaws is the best in the business, and he’s entertaining to boot. I think these three guys would have dynamite chemistry, and Kornheiser could relax a bit. This would be such a great, subversive broadcast!

  2. Oooh, Jaworski. Guy sure is knowledgeable. Good stuff, and I think you were right about the who/m controversy. Always the hardest grammar rule to sort out. The pronoun in question is the subject of the clause “are the best NFL broadcasters” and therefore should be “who.” Cheerfully corrected.

  3. Here’s what I say..

    Best In-Game Broadcast Team:
    FOX: Buck and Aikman – Solid play by play with quality color commentary. I think everyone agrees here…

    Best Play-by-Play Guy
    Al Michaels – C’mon, Kyle, he’s been doing this forever, and he’s still the top of his class. He has and still could play by play anything, from hockey (“Do you believe in miracles? YES!!”) to football to basketball…and probably even stuff like grocery shopping, too.

    Best Color Commentator/Analyst
    Aikman in a blowout – I haven’t been able to watch much football season, so I haven’t seen Kornheiser that many times…I’m sure he does well, but when I have seen him he keeps asking Theisman questions about stuff, and I don’t know if I like that or not, I haven’t decided.

    Best Halftime/Pregame Squad
    ESPN: Berman, Jackson, Irvin, Young- For the record, I would have voted for Fox’s team before JB left and went to CBS. They had the best chemistry out there. These guys do well, though…except Irvin. He just gets in the way with blabbing while the others speak articulately. I would also vote Shannon Sharpe off of CBS’s team too…I think he has the worst highlight commentary I’ve ever heard…”And here goes Ray Lewis..he says ‘This is my ball now’…picks it up and…then…runs into 4th quarter touchdown!”

    Your Dream Team
    Booth – Michaels, Aikman and Tom Jackson. Who knows if they’d actually do well together, but I love them all separately. Jaws would be excellent, too…but I have a dark horse for color commentary for next season. Tiki Barber’s one of the most well-spoken NFL players I’ve ever heard, and rumor has it he wants to go into broadcasting after retiring this season. He’s going to be money in the booth, just wait.

  4. […] , Deportes  As avid readers of this blog remember, last November we waxed imaginative about our dream team for the Monday Night Football booth. I wished for a Buck/Kornheiser/Wilbon trio, but it was the prescient Kyle who asked for […]

  5. Brent Musberger should be on the list– we’re going old school here…

    Not really a question, but a nice request to cbs,espn, or nfl network:

    Is there to be a pre-game WITH cbs announcers for the patriots-giants game?

    (I know I would watch cbs rather than nbc just for this)
    If so, what a PERFECT opportunity for Jim Nantz– right before going to simulcast ~ 7:59pm or whenever– to give one of the best preambles in sports history (homage to brent musberger, as nantz does every so often)


    The most exciting and significant stadium in the nfl over the past 20+ yrs.

    (if cbs could have their own announcers–instead of simulcast– that would be great; chris coll./b.gumbel are just not in the same ballpark–in fact, they’re boring and useless)
    (better yet, have brent musberger be part of the pre-game show and make the announcement!– that would be one for the ages)

    I grew up in the 80s watching the nfl today–and nothing pumps up fans more than a…

  6. I have a few I don’t like . Dierdorf leads the pack ,followed by the guy in the middle on Monday night Football , then Gumble .

  7. Just finished watching Dolphins and Chiefs game I didn;t listen to it as I can;t stand Randy Cross who dislikes the Dolphins and makes no bones about it he is about as good an anouncer as he was a football player and I think he probably brushes them pearly whites with Preperation H

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