On Friday, Sports Illustrated released an article listing the top ten announcing teams in the NFL this past season. With the Cleveland Browns having a losing record for most of the last decade, Cleveland is an easy team for announcers to throw dirt on; there might not be a person who enjoys this more than CBS' Solomon Wilcots, for example. Here is the top ten list, in order, that Sports Illustrated came up with:
|1)||NBC||Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth|
|2)||NFL Network||Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock|
|3)||CBS||Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts|
|4)||ESPN||Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden|
|5)||FOX||Joe Buck and Troy Aikman|
|6)||FOX||Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston|
|7)||CBS||Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf|
|8)||CBS||Jim Nantz and Phil Simms|
|9)||CBS||Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots|
|10)||CBS||Marv Albert and Rich Gannon|
Before I read the list, three things popped into my mind in order to deem whether the list would be "legitimate" for me:
- Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth should, by a large margin, have been the top-ranked team.
- CBS' top team, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, should not be the top team for their network.
- FOX' top team, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, should not be given more respect than they deserve.
All things considered, Sports Illustrated satisfied my wishes with the list they came up with. Nessler and Mayock seemed like a fair choice for No. 2 because I think any crew that gets into the X's and O's deserves a higher ranking; that's the reason why Collinsworth vaults NBC's lone team up to the top spot.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Eagle and Fouts at No. 3 overall on the list, and the top-ranked crew for CBS. I've always liked Eagle, and like the article mentions, the duo have a solid chemistry with each other. Nantz and Simms deserve to be ranked where they are. Lombardi-talk aside, Nantz is an acceptable announcer for me. Simms, on the other hand, is getting more unbearable year-after-year. I used to think his faults were comedic. Now they are just downright annoying. Richard Deitsch wrote an article talking about how Simms struggled on the big stage at this year's Super Bowl.
I think Buck and Aikman are a difficult group to rank. There's something that I like about their voices and banter occasionally, but I think they have a lot more potential that has been untapped, and it's a shame this group hasn't taken it to the next level after all of these years. Perhaps they wouldn't stand out so much if the rest of FOX's announcing teams didn't suck so bad. That's the reason why even a team with a guy like Wilcots can crack the list (although in fairness to Kevin Harlan, I love his radio work).
How would your top five list for modern day NFL announcing crews look compared to the one above? And, do you think Gus Johnson needs to get back in the NFL games rather than just the college bowl games? It seems like FOX is under-utilizing the guy since CBS let him go.