I feel so Emo right now…….It’s depressing isn’t it? With Shannon Sharpe limping through interviews (with random players from the 60s) at the Pro Bowl……the NFL season is officially done. What are we supposed to do with ourselves?

It’s not the same with any other sport. There isn’t that much of a lag time in Basketball as the NBA ends in June and college is up and running by November (5 months). Baseball is a joke as Pitchers and Catchers report this week (4 months). Golf and NASCAR (not that they are Sports) have what seems like 10 days off.

For Football we have to wait 8 months……..8 frickin’ Months until the start of the regular season!

Well as I was considering hibernation until August……I was reading through some of the Announcing capsules that Dr. Z at CNNSI had put together rating all of the NFL Teams across the board and two things occurred to me…..

1. I can’t make fun of these people again for almost 3 quarters of a year.
2 (and most importantly). There is not ONE good Announcing Team in the NFL. Not a one that I would want to call a game. Actually I take that back….there is one, but they only called a single game last season (which makes zero sense).

Sure I could piece together a good team (which I’ll take care of later), but every team has at least one person I can’t stand. Here are Dr. Z’s ratings for the teams, and to my surprise I agree with almost every single assessment he comes up with. I’ve bolded the one or two people I’d get rid of for each team just for kicks.

5- Star Team:

Brad Nessler, Ron Jaworski, Dick Vermeil

Dr Z.- “Nessler comes from college football, where they work at the job a lot harder, and he was smooth as silk as the play-by-play man. Vermeil and Jaworski? Well, it was like sitting in a team’s film room watching a game with the coaches.”

4- Star Teams:

Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan
Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger
Cris Collinsworth
Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders

Dr Z. on Collinsworth- “He sees things on the first look, he’s not afraid to challenge the beloved idols. So why doesn’t he get the extra star? Because a few weeks of working with Bryant Gumbel almost broke him, and by Week 15 he was missing plays and getting wrong looks.”

3- Star Teams:

John Madden and Al Michaels (3 1/2)
Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon
Dick Enberg and Randy Cross
Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots
Ron Pitts and ?

Dr Z. on Madden and Michaels- “Also it seemed that the boys at NBC were dedicated to making sure that the M&M’s kept their focus on what was happening on the field. It had been a problem at ABC.”

2- Star Teams:

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (2 1/2)
Dick Stockton and Daryl Johnston (2 1/2)
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (2 1/2)
Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf

Dr Z. on Buck and Aikman- “The first remark of Buck’s that I annotated was the following: “The Jaguars need a win.” This was in the Dallas game. Their record was 0-0 at the time. Gosh, this is news. I heard Aikman mention, at various times, that third down was they key down to stop people on and almost every other series was called “Crucial.”

1- Star Teams:

Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker (don’t agree with this one at all)
Bryant Gumbel

Dr. Z on Gumbel- “The network couldn’t find anyone in the allotted time, so they picked Gumbel, a decent studio talent who has no feel for football play-by-play. He just doesn’t understand it, and he embarrasses whomever he’s working with by his howlers.”

0- Star Teams:

Joe Theismann, Mike Tirico, and Tony Kornheiser

Dr. Z on the MNF debacle- “But I will say that I approached their Giants-Dallas show in Week 7 with absolute dread because I knew the T.O. stuff would be once again flogged to death in tedious and humorless terms. And they didn’t disappoint me. When I die and go to hell, hell will be a Kornheiser bit on T.O.-prolonged indefinitely. What I’d like to concentrate on is one of the more dishonest things I saw in a telecast, and the perpetrator was the one member of the team who knows something about football, Theismann.”

I still think that Dr. Z doesn’t know a thing about the actual teams that play the game, but his assessment on the Announcers is pretty dead on.

So what do I think? Well I think you have to grade each person separately because they obviously don’t work well in teams. I think once we do that we can then piece together the worthwhile parts of a good booth. If you think about it…..what the hell does it matter if you have three crappy broadcast teams…..as long as you have at least one or two great ones for each network? The majority of America won’t see the awful teams at all.

By doing this we wouldn’t be subjected to Buck and Aikman every week as Buck would be packaged with Brian Baldinger and sent to Detroit to cover the Bucs/Lions game (Sorry Motown those are the breaks when no one wants to watch your team Nationally).

Join me in a bit for Part 2 as I delve into the grading and provide you with your New and Improved Announcing Teams for each Network.

From the Best to the Worst of NFL Announcers (CNNSI)

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