Sports Illustrated’s Audibles by Chris Burke continued a tradition started by Dr. Z of ranking the NFL (television) announcing teams Feb. 8.
Of course, my favorite by far is P.A. (Paul Allen, no not the Microsoft guy, the other one with two chins and one eyebrow – I can say that because I too have two chins and one eyebrow), but since this list is national only, fans outside the cornfields (credit P.A.) or without DirectTV’s Sunday Ticket can get their fix on highlights of AP going 82 yards against the Packers or Jared Allen strip-sacking Jay Cutler.
I agree with the top two pairing of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth followed by Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock.
Michaels knows how to call a game and Collinsworth is quite polarizing, but I enjoy the pairing much more than Kenny Albert. Marv Albert is classic, but on the basketball calls only.
I thoroughly enjoy Kevin Harland’s ability to liven up a broadcast with one of his many catch phrases – “High-yow cowboy”, “with no regard for human life” or “lift that bag of potatoes.”
Granted these calls come from his NBA work, but still, his work calling games is second to only Michaels on a national scope.
I enjoy listening to Mayock’s in-game commentary because he offers so much insight that others seem to skip past like Dan Dierdorf, Randy Cross or Tim Ryan.
Having Mayock do the Vikings preseason TV games was a pleasant surprise since his knowledge seems to be on the draft and who might be the next standout performer and why.
Jon Gruden and Brian Billick are among my top five for the same reason as Mayock.
Each is unique, yet share a perspective that others seem to miss, even if they seem to come off preachy.
Dick Stockton has a timeless voice that you know it’s a Sunday NFL game when he’s on air.
The top CBS duo of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms seem to be a conservative team that doesn’t offer much more than consistency, which can be great.
The focus should be on the game with commentators offering a supplement to the action on the field, that is all.
Unfortunately, we’re getting away from that as more people (myself included) decide to watch games from the comfort of home or a bar instead of filling the stadium.
HDTV has kind of revolutionized the experience so much that the NFL offers hand-held televisions to follow highlights in a move to compete with the networks.
As for the NHL, Mike “Doc” Emerick with Pierre McGwire between the benches is by far the best hockey play-by-play national pairing.
Both do their research and translate that knowledge to really help the casual or die-hard fan take an interest in whatever game they happen to be calling on a Sunday afternoon or nearly morning hours.
I’d love to see NBC switch that Game of the Week to the Sunday night football time slot once the NFL season is over.
I doubt it would do that, but I know I would be more likely to watch the game after knowing for the last six months that from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday evenings, NBC is all football. Sports fans would still watch and the ratings, one might presume, would be stronger than an 11 a.m. start.
In that same vein, Bob Kurtz on the Wild radio production is second to none with the job he does.
That crispness and consistency to his voice is fantastic.
Speaking of hockey, I too enjoy P.A.’s show from the penalty box (VOX in the Box) at Xcel Energy Center. The episode when Jeff Dubay was hit in the head by a puck on a trick shot from Pascal Dupuis on-air was can’t miss radio.