NFL greats share favorite broadcasters, iconic calls

NEW YORK — Here at Awful Announcing, we know that sports fans have their favorite sportscasters and memorable calls, and our readers aren’t shy about sharing their opinions. But what about the guys on the field? Who did they listen to growing up or on their rare off days? What iconic moments and memorable calls have stayed with them over the years?

We caught up with over a dozen current and former NFL players and coaches on the red carpet at the 3rd Annual NFL Honors awards show at Radio City Music Hall on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII to talk favorite broadcasters and sports calls of all time. And in one case, we even got one to reenact his favorite. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of Chris Berman love among the current players.

Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears CB; 2013 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “John Madden was great and Pat Summerall as well. Today, Troy Aikman does a really good job and his partner Joe Buck. They do a really good job. Al Michaels is really good too.”

Favorite call: “The one in Tennessee in the Music City Miracle. That was a good one.”

Torry Holt; seven-time Pro Bowl WR, Super Bowl champion

Favorite broadcaster: “Chris Berman I love. Tom Jackson is awesome. Solomon Wilcots is good. John Madden. The guys on Monday Night Football — Jon Gruden is doing an outstanding job. Troy Aikman. Those are some of the guys that come to mind that I really enjoy listening to in terms of watching sports broadcasts. Oh, and Billy Packer.”

Favorite call: “One that stuck with me I can remember ‘Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!’ I was a huge Ali fan and my rookie year in St. Louis I was able to get a collaboration of tapes of Ali and that’s where I kind of created the bob and weave looking at Muhammad Ali’s tapes so I always remember ‘Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!’ That was one of my highlight moments.”

Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers LB, 2013 AP Defensive Player of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “Chris Berman’s my guy. He’s a great guy. He’s very colorful in his commentary and that’s one thing I’ve always liked. Him and Stuart Scott are my two guys.”

Favorite call: “The guy from the Cincinnati Reds always says, ‘This one belongs to the Reds’ — Marty Brennaman. That means the Reds won the game and that’s a good deal in Cincinnati.” (Kuechly is a native of Cincinnati.)

Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets DT, 2013 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “John Madden and Phil Simms.”

Favorite call: “‘Old man football’ — it won’t go away to this day.”

Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills LB; Finalist, 2013 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “I’d have to say Chris Berman.”

Favorite call: “When someone jukes someone out, [Berman] makes that little ‘whoop’ noise.”

Thomas Davis, Carolina Panthers LB; Finalist, 2013 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “I’m a big fan of Deion Sanders so I gotta go with Deion.”

Favorite call: “I’d have to say [longtime Georgia Bulldogs announcer] Larry Munson, the call he made in the Florida-Georgia game will always stand out for me — ‘Run, Lindsay, Run.’” (Davis attended Georgia from 2002-2004.)

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins RB; 2013 Pro Bowler

Favorite broadcaster: “That’s a tough one. If I did have to pick one I’d have to say John Madden. I love John Madden. Not just from the video games, but just his voice. Everybody knows that voice, he’s such a popular guy. When he called games, his knowledge of the game and his voice is just so unique. I love when I hear it, I say, ‘That’s John Madden.’”

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach, 2013 Salute to Service Award

Favorite broadcaster: “I’ll have to go with Howard Cosell. Hard to beat Howard Cosell, isn’t it? He and Muhammad Ali, the Ali-Frazier fights, definitely Howard Cosell. Don Meredith was pretty good too now that I think about it. He was fun.”

Favorite call: “I’m going to probably pick the one that everybody knows, Al Michaels’ Olympics U.S. hockey team. I saw that live. That’s the king. Let’s show these guys a little history — ‘Do you believe in miracles???’”

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles RB; FedEx Ground Player of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “I love Troy Aikman, Phil Simms, but I love Boomer [Chris Berman]. That’s my guy. Actually had a chance to meet him and that was fun. I love his rumbling, bumbling, stumbling. Berman’s the man, okay? His attitude, he’s always positive, he’s honest and he has fun and that’s half the battle.”

Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals K; Finalist, NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year

Favorite broadcaster: “I definitely have to say Pat Summerall because he was a kicker and he paved the way for us. But he was also very knowledgeable. One of my favorites is Jim Nantz. Jim does so many different sports, I love watching the Masters, I’m a big golfer, so listening to Jim is something that I grew up doing. I just respect the guys — Dave Pasch is another guy that I really respect. Obviously, I know him out in Arizona and he does so many different sports as well. I think it’s difficult to go from one sport to another in almost the same weekend. They have to have such a deep knowledge base that I really respect that.”

Favorite call: “Obviously Al Michaels with the miracle call. That still gives me chills. Every time I watch it. I watched the movie for the first time with my 10-year old son this year and it was such a cool moment. He doesn’t know anything about it and saying to him, ‘Hey, you have to watch this movie. You have to know about the Olympic team that won this medal.’ That’s an iconic call that will live on forever.”

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears WR; five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver

Favorite broadcaster: “Madden. That’s it. He’s a legend. He’s awesome.”

Favorite call: “I don’t have one. Maybe Chris Berman when he’s calling touchdowns.”

Emmitt Smith, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Three-time Super Bowl champion

Favorite broadcaster: “John Madden and Pat Summerall. They called a number of Cowboys games. And performing in front of John Madden and Pat Summerall was just a treat.”

Favorite call: “I would say Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football when he did all of the highlights during the halftime show. ‘The Juice Is On the Loose’ I can hear him still to this day, just so inspiring. I used to beg my mom and dad to let me stay up to watch the halftime highlight show.”

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.