We’re still riding out the dead season of sports. So here’s a list to give us something to debate about.
The overall approval rating of sports announcers has decreased in the last decade. I don’t hear too many people compliment the commentating crew calling a game.
It’s usually “this guy sucks” or “I just mute the game when they announce it,” which we all know is a lie.
But there are some solid options out there. We likely won’t all agree and that’s perfectly fine. If you really like another person tell us in the comments why.
I’m going to do play-by-play and analysts separately because their jobs are so different it’s not right to try and compare them. I’m also using both NFL and college announcers.
4. Joe Buck
Let’s start with what will likely be a controversial opinion. I know most of you hate him. I can’t think of any point in my life I heard someone say something nice about Buck.
But I think he is good at his job. He may not be the best or most entertaining announcer ever. But he’s a pro who is good at calling a game. I said what I said.
3. Ian Eagle
Eagle will head CBS’ NCAA March Madness Tournament coverage next year replacing Jim Nantz. And it’s well deserved.
This is another guy who’s just a straight pro at what he does. He’s not flashy and doesn’t have some great catch phrase. But he doesn’t try to be bigger than the game and is excellent at calling it.
2. Kevin Harlan
One of the best broadcasters in sports, Harlan can do it all. If it’s a tight game and you need some juice from the play-by-play guy, he can deliver. If it’s a blow out and you need good stories to fill time, he’s got them.
Harlan also has a memorable call on the radio from a Monday Night Football game in 2016. A streaker had ran across the field and Harlan took advantage to deliver an unforgettable moment.
1. Mike Tirico
Now that Al Michaels is out of the way, Tirico can finally do Sunday Night Football games. He was much too good for Notre Dame football broadcasts.
One thing that makes him stand out above the rest is his ability to partner with pretty much anyone. He was great with a louder Jon Gruden. But is also excellent with a more laid back Chris Collinsworth.
4. Jonathan Vilma
He’s still new on the scene and getting his feet wet with broadcasting but I like his style. He has that younger new age approach. He’s a good option for that B or C game on Fox.
3. Todd Blackledge
He might come off as a bit dull but I like Blackledge a lot. He is informative without coming off as the viewer doesn’t know anything about football.
Not the most entertaining analyst out there but can bring some energy when needed. Again, probably not best suited for the biggest game of the week but a solid No. 2 or 3 guy.
2. Greg Olsen
I believe Olsen has done a very good job since becoming the lead NFL analyst on Fox. Some people think he’s John Madden which I think is a stretch. But he’s done really well in the short time he’s been on the air.
He can bring some juice to the broadcast and is good at toeing that fine line between criticizing and defending a player. I expect he’ll only get better as he gets more reps.
1. Kirk Herbstreit
This might be another “hot take” but I like Herbstreit on college football. He’s not afraid to say it when a player made a bad decision. He calls coaches out when they’re wrong. He’s got some jokes.
Yes, there might be some Ohio State bias to him. But you know what, if Tom Brady called college football games I’m sure he’d had some Michigan bias to him.
I think in society we’ve reached a point where once a person gets to the mountaintop most of us instantly hate them and hope they fail. It’s sad.
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