Greg Gumbel Apr 5, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; CBS announcer Greg Gumbel prior to the national championship game in the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Gumbel is sticking around at CBS, but he’s leaving one of his prominent roles there. Gumbel, 76, has been at CBS since 1998 in his most recent stint, and from 1988-94 before that. He started at CBS as a part-time NFL announcer, and has consistently been involved in their NFL coverage while at the network, but he’s now giving that up in this extension.

In addition to Gumbel’s early NFL work with CBS, he began working on their college basketball coverage as well in 1989. He worked there until 1994 on those sports (including hosting The NFL Today from 1990-93, alongside Terry Bradshaw), but also worked on coverage of MLB, the NBA, the College World Series, and the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics. Gumbel went to NBC in 1994 after CBS lost the NFL and MLB.

Gumbel returned to the Eye in 1998, working as the lead play-by-play voice (with analyst Phil Simms) for their NFL on CBS coverage from 1998-2004 (and calling Super Bowls in 2001 and 2004, becoming the first Black play-by-play voice to do that). Gumbel has been a NFL on CBS voice since, again hosting The NFL Today from 2004-2005 (he traded his lead play-by-play role for Jim Nantz’s studio role ahead of the 2004 season; Nantz has held that lead play-by-play role since), then returning to play-by-play ahead of the 2006 season.

Over the years, Gumbel has worked with a wide range of people. On the NFL front, he’s been in booths alongside Dan Dierdorf, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Rich Gannon, and most recently, Adam Archuleta, who he’s called games with for the past two seasons. But John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that Gumbel will give NFL play-by-play up in this new extension, while continuing his work on CBS’ college basketball regular season and NCAA Tournament (with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports) coverage:

Gumbel (seen at top covering the 2021 NCAA Tournament championship game for CBS) has certainly had an impressive run on the NFL, especially at CBS. But he has seen his prominence in their NFL announcing lineup drop a bit over the years, and he and Archuleta received a 2.22 grade (out of four) in our 2022 NFL announcing booth reader survey, 13th of 17 national teams (and a long way from the 2.60 and 7/15 ranking he and Gannon received in a similar survey in 2020). And at 76, he was one of the older remaining national NFL announcers out there (but not the oldest; Al Michaels is 78).

There’s no word in Ourand’s piece on if this change is at Gumbel’s request or at the request of CBS. But it seems to make some sense for both sides; CBS gets to keep Gumbel involved in their basketball coverage, where he’s been a key studio host since his return to the network in 1998 (and also from 1989-94 before that), but they get to shake up their NFL coverage with some younger voice. Meanwhile, Gumbel now doesn’t have to deal with the significant weekly grind of calling NFL games. This is certainly a moment of change for the NFL on CBS, and for Gumbel, but it’s one that could work for both.

[Sports Business Journal; photo from Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.