Well, well, well. It’s been awhile. Welcome to Awful Announcing’s NFL announcer rankings for the 2022 season.
This we, we asked you, the loyal readers of AA to grade 17 (our most ever!) NFL broadcast teams that called games during the 2022 season. We then tabulated and weighed all of your grades on the four point scale (a 4.0 was the highest possible score. A 0.0 was the lowest). No voter’s opinion was given more or less significance than any other (you, the reader, had as much of a voice as me, the writer).
Before we start, some factoids about the voting.
- We had 34,470 votes in total for the 17 teams.
- The average score was 2.64.
- CBS was the best scoring network, with their announcers receiving an average grade of 2.73.
- ESPN was right behind CBS, though the network had just two teams (compared to six for CBS), with an average grade of 2.71.
- Fox brought up the rear with a 2.53 average.
- The most common grade was a B (34.38% of votes). The least common grade was an F (4.12%, you guys have gotten nice).
Click here for the full breakdown of the votes.
17. Chris Myers & Robert Smith (Fox) – 1.93
Most common grade: C (43.70% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Myers, Brock Huard, and Greg Jennings scored 2.09 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Myers, Brock Huard, and Greg Jennings ranked 13th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: Robert Smith was the fourth NFL broadcast partner of Chris Myers in the last three seasons (Brock Huard and Greg Jennings in 2020, Daryl Johnston in 2021). That’s not fair to Myers, and it’s not fair to Smith either. Smith has been a fine studio analyst over the years, and most of his game work has been in the college football world. It might make sense for Fox to switch him back next fall, but do they really want to give Myers *another* new partner?
16. Spero Dedes & Jay Feely (CBS) – 2.09
Most common grade: C (49.85% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Dedes and Adam Archuleta scored 1.94 in 2018, 1.92 in 2019, and 2.07 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Dedes and Adam Archuleta ranked 14th of 15 in 2018, 12th of 14 in 2019, and 14th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: The good news for Spero Dedes is that this is the best score he’s ever gotten in these rankings. The bad news is that the ranking is still second from the bottom. I don’t think that’s a slight on him. He just gets to call usually the worst game on the CBS schedule each week. It’s a tough living. I don’t have much of a take on Jay Feely as a game analyst, but I do like him as a kicking/special teams analyst when he gets to flex that muscle.
15. Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, & Dan Orlovsky (ESPN) – 2.18
Most common grade: C (37.21% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Levy, Riddick, and Brian Griese scored 2.51 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Levy, Riddick, and Brian Griese ranked 8th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: So, going from one quarterback in Brian Griese to another in Dan Orlovsky wasn’t a lateral move, huh? Griese had a lot more polish at game calling than Orlovsky, and it showed during the handful of games ESPN’s B-team called this season. It’ll always be tough for a network like ESPN, which doesn’t have more than one game per weekend too often, to have a second broadcast team on part with its first one, but this is a pretty steep disparity.
14. Rich Eisen, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, & Kurt Warner (NFL Network) – 2.21
Most common grade: C (33.55% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A
Previous rankings: N/A
Breakdown: Remember when Too Many Cooks was a thing? Yeah, that’s this booth. Three people calling a game is too many, let alone four. These four have good chemistry together, so having them call a game seemed on paper like a good enough idea, but it would work a lot better as an alternate broadcast. That way, it could be a lot more loose, fun, and less focused on the play by play action on the field. Anyway, just a thought. Please don’t have four people call one game in the booth.
13. Greg Gumbel & Adam Archuleta (CBS) – 2.22
Most common grade: C (36.79% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Gumbel and Rich Gannon scored 2.60 in 2020, while Archuleta and Spero Dedes scored 1.94 in 2018, 1.92 in 2019, and 2.07 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Gumbel and Rich Gannon ranked 7th of 15 in 2020, while Archuleta and Spero Dedes ranked 14th of 15 in 2018, 12th of 14 in 2019, and 14th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: This is a surprising placement for Greg Gumbel, who has slowly been sliding down the pecking order at CBS over the last decade. He’s not the same announcer he once was, and it’s a shame. As for Adam Archuleta, I don’t have a whole lot to say. He’s always been stuck near the bottom of the pecking order of CBS analysts.
12. Andrew Catalon & James Lofton (CBS) – 2.25
Most common grade: C (50.87% of votes)
Previous scores: 2.01 (2018), 2.10 (2019), 2.23 (2020)
Previous rankings: 12th of 15 (2018), 11th of 14 (2019), 12th of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: Andrew Catalon and James Lofton are fine. Their score has steadily gone up in each of these rankings we’ve done, but their rank has remained unchanged outside of a step up in 2019 with one less team in the voting. They work well together, won’t rock the boat, and won’t set the world on fire.
11. Adam Amin & Mark Schlereth (Fox) – 2.38
Most common grade: B (38.15% of votes)
Previous scores: 2.30 (2020)
Previous rankings: 11th of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: I like Adam Amin, and I like Mark Schlereth, and I don’t think I’m crazy in saying that this team just hasn’t ever done it for me. I like Amin, I though Schlereth’s studio work at ESPN several years ago was strong, but together in the booth, something is missing. Compared to two years ago, their grade slightly improved, and their ranking stayed the same (slotting in two new teams below them).
10. Kevin Kugler & Mark Sanchez (Fox) – 2.39
Most common grade: C (38.37% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Kugler and Chris Spielman scored 2.38 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Kugler and Chris Spielman ranked 10th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: I’ve been a big Kevin Kugler guy after hearing his work on BTN over the years, and his work with Mark Sanchez this season has been alright. Sanchez almost has too much energy, and really needs to dial it back a bit. This team still has plenty of room to grow.
9. Kenny Albert & Jonathan Vilma (Fox) – 2.50
Most common grade: B (41.63% of votes)
Previous scores: 2.41 (2020)
Previous rankings: 9th of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: Kenny Albert is a broadcaster you want to stick with a younger analyst like Jonathan Vilma. In their third year together, there were signs of improvement, though Vilma is still a little rough around the edge. Like Mark Sanchez, he has the smarts and the energy to be a solid broadcaster, and he’s in the right place with the right partner to continue becoming better.
8. Al Michaels & Kirk Herbstreit (Amazon) – 2.50
Most common grade: B (40.76% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Michaels and Cris Collinsworth scored 3.28 in 2018, 3.36 in 2019, and 3.51 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Michaels and Cris Collinsworth ranked 2nd of 15 in 2018, 2nd of 14 (2019, and 2nd of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: Amazon’s exclusive Thursday Night broadcasts this season felt like NFL broadcasts as opposed to some sort of sideshow event. But the broadcast team of Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit didn’t always hit the high notes. They were working together for the first time after years with other partners (and in Herbstreit’s case, calling college football), and the pair just didn’t mesh well. A TNF schedule with some shocking low points didn’t help matters either.
7. Joe Davis & Daryl Johnston (Fox) – 2.85
Most common grade: B (45.21% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Johnston and Kevin Burkhardt scored 3.12 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Johnston and Kevin Burkhardt ranked 5th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: I feel like I say this every year, but Daryl Johnston might be the most underrated analyst in sports. Fox can stick him with any partner, and he can help enhance the booth. Before he did it with Joe Davis, he did it with Kevin Burkhardt, and who knows if he’ll do it with another broadcaster down the line? Davis is a far better baseball broadcaster than a football one, but he’s young enough that he should be able to improve with more reps and more restraint in the booth during football games.
6. Kevin Burkhardt & Greg Olsen (Fox) – 3.08
Most common grade: B (39.66% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Burkhardt and Daryl Johnston scored 3.12 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Burkhardt and Daryl Johnston ranked 5th of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: This ranking for Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen is a bit harsh, but the score is pretty close to what Burkhardt and Daryl Johnston had two years ago. Olsen is still getting his feet wet in the broadcasting world, and in time, I think he’ll be a solid analyst. But with Tom Brady’s shadow looming, his long-term partner, be it Burkhardt or someone else, remains a question. As for Burkhardt, he’s (of course) not on the same level as Joe Buck, his predecessor as Fox’s top NFL voice, but he’s not all that far off.
5. Mike Tirico & Cris Collinsworth (NBC) – 3.16
Most common grade: A (45.55% of votes)
Previous scores: N/A (Collinsworth and Al Michaels scored 3.28 in 2018, 3.36 in 2019, and 3.51 in 2020)
Previous rankings: N/A (Collinsworth and Al Michaels ranked 2nd of 15 in 2018, 2nd of 14 (2019, and 2nd of 15 in 2020)
Breakdown: This is a pretty steep fall for Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth when compared to the previous high rankings of Al Michaels and Collinsworth. Tirico and Collinsworth will still need time to build the chemistry that Collinsworth had with Michaels, and given Tirico’s talents as a broadcaster, they can get to that level with more reps.
4. Jim Nantz & Tony Romo (CBS) – 3.18
Most common grade: A (49.67% of votes)
Previous scores: 3.29 (2018), 3.55 (2019), 3.60 (2020)
Previous rankings: 1st of 15 (2018), 1st of 14 (2019), 1st of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: For the first time, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo aren’t occupying the top spot in these rankings. They’re not even the highest ranked team at their own network. The pair isn’t bad by any means, but Romo has seemingly taken a step back over the last couple of years. The overall novelty of his work in the booth has worn off, and it’s easy to forget he’s still pretty new at this.
3. Joe Buck & Troy Aikman (ESPN) – 3.22
Most common grade: A (53.51% of votes)
Previous scores: 2.87 (2018), 2.91 (2019), 3.04 (2020)
Previous rankings: 6th of 15 (2018), 5th of 14 (2019), 6th of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: ESPN got what they paid for with the duo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. The tired “Joe Buck sucks” trope finally appears to be dead, and with his more limited schedule, fans seem to be appreciating him more as a broadcaster. This was the best grade and the best ranking for Buck and Aikman since we started doing these rankings, and I think we can finally say that they’re properly rated.
2. Kevin Harlan & Trent Green (CBS) – 3.25
Most common grade: A (46.07% of votes)
Previous scores: 3.29 (2020)
Previous rankings: 3rd of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: Kevin Harlan has been so good for so long and I feel like we’re taking his work for granted. His weekly broadcasts with Trent Green, who continues to grow as an analyst each year, are a delight, even if the pair is usually calling the third-choice AFC game. Their score slightly dipped from two years ago, but declines ahead of them resulted in the pair moving up a spot.
1. Ian Eagle & Charles Davis (CBS) – 3.30
Most common grade: A (51.26% of votes)
Previous scores: 3.28 (2020)
Previous rankings: 4th of 15 (2020)
Breakdown: For years, Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts were a fan favorite broadcast team. We were disappointed when Fouts left, but Charles Davis has more than adequately replaced him after leaving Fox and pairing up with Eagle. The chemistry between the two is excellent, and their broadcasts are both entertaining and informative. And while their grade didn’t improve all that much from two years ago, when combined with changes and overall decline in other highly rated teams, this is your highest-ranked NFL broadcast team for the 2022 season. It’s a worthy and deserved honor.