The votes have been cast, the scores have been tallied, and our readers have decided their favorite and least favorite NFL broadcast teams during the 2018 season.
- Before we roll into the rankings, a few notes.
- Every team received over 3,000 votes, and in total, over 50,000 votes were cast. That’s incredible. Great job, readers!
- The race for first place was one of the closest I can remember in ever doing these rankings. For awhile, I was wondering if I’d have to take the scores out to three decimal places.
- No crew has ever received a grade as low as the last place team, not even Hawk Harrelson.
- In the battle between CBS and Fox, the CBS broadcast crews take the edge with an average score of 2.60 to Fox’s 2.48. However, Fox had just one of the bottom-five ranked teams, while CBS had three of the bottom-five. CBS also had three of the top four, and all but one of Fox’s crews was bunched in the middle third of the rankings. Looking at how the teams fell, it seems like CBS teams have more boom or bust potential, while Fox teams are more consistent across the board.
And in case you wanted a look at thee full voting totals, you can go ahead and click here.
Without any further ado….
15. Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland – 1.08
Most popular score: F (37.49% of the vote)
Analysis: The new Monday Night Football broadcast booth is a complete disaster, and this isn’t some kind of minority opinion. The Tessitore/Witten/McFarland trio drew the lowest grade ever in any of these stupid rankings I’ve put together in any sport (baseball, basketball, college basketball, hockey), and only 114 poor souls (a strong 3.08% of votes cast) thought they were worthy of an A grade. Hell, there weren’t even many B grades – only 8.89% of voters gave them the second-best mark. Over two-thirds of the votes came in for either a D or F, over 1,000 in each grade. For context, only one pairing drew at least 600 votes in *one* of those grades.
Here’s some extra context on how bad this score is – the gap between MNF at #15 and the crew at #14 is 0.86 points. The gap between the first place crew and the team in ninth place is…0.85 points. These guys are further away from the second-worst crew than the best crew is to the middle of the pack. That is absolutely shocking, and emphasizes how disliked they are and how far behind all of the other broadcasters in the league they are.
But hey, they’re doing well, small, vocal minority, etc etc etc.
14. Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta – 1.94
Most popular score: C (47.48% of the vote)
Analysis: I don’t have much to say about Dedes and Archuleta. They drew the second-highest percentage of C votes (nearly 50%!), the third-lowest share of A votes (4.19%), and the third-highest share of F votes (8.06%). I think Dedes is just fine in his NFL and NCAA Tournament work for CBS, but that apparently isn’t a majority opinion. He’s still young enough where he can improve and move up in the CBS pecking order, perhaps with a new partner (because with all due respect to Adam Archuleta, I have never heard any opinion, good or bad, on him as an analyst).
13. Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth – 1.97
Most popular score: C (27.70% of the vote)
Analysis: Dick Stockton used to be fantastic. He doesn’t have his fastball anymore, but he doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. Schlereth was another good hire by Fox from ESPN, but he almost seems wasted being so far down the pecking order (while also making plenty of cameos on FS1’s array of debate shows). Stockton and Schlereth drew the second-highest share of F votes in our rankings (15.97%), but did manage 11.30% A votes, which is better than three crews above them, so that’s something.
12. Andrew Catalon, James Lofton – 2.01
Most popular score: C (47.91% of the vote)
Analysis: Lofton is in his second year as a TV analyst alongside Catalon, and the results are…meh. The Catalon/Lofton pairing received the highest share of C votes in our polling, and the second-lowest share of A votes. For better or worse, Catalon flies under the radar at CBS – he became a national story during the 2014 NCAA Tournament when he generated outrage by dropping the “hack a Polack” line, but has largely avoided controversy or any high points (aside from this great touchdown call) since.
11. Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein – 2.17
Most popular score: C (47.22% of the vote)
Analysis: I screwed up by including McCarthy and Beuerlein this year. They’ll probably get a couple more games before the season is out, but McCarthy has been calling a handful of games on Westwood One this year and has only done I believe three or so on CBS TV with Beuerlein. With all that being said, nearly 50% of their votes were C grades, and they didn’t exceed 20% in any other grade. They also have the second-lowest percentage of F votes outside of the top five, so they’ve got that going for them.
10. Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston – 2.21
Most popular score: B (34.08% of the vote)
Analysis: The days of Kenny, Moose, and Goose really seem like a long time ago, don’t they? Johnston’s been doing this for a long time, and it doesn’t feel like he’s only 52. But he’s slid down the pecking order at Fox to the point where he’s almost a forgotten analyst, paired with the professional, long-serving Chris Myers. Myers and Johnston are the last crew to receive more than 10% D votes in our rankings, and are also the first to receive at least 1,000 B votes.
9. Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber – 2.39
Most popular score: B (39.14% of the vote)
Analysis: I won’t lie – I don’t think I have ever heard a full Albert/Barber game call. This is what happens when you cheer for an AFC team, I guess. Albert is versatile, calling NFL, MLB, and NHL games at the national level, and never puts in a truly bad broadcast. Barber is more divisive, but Fox clearly likes him and has plans for him, given his move up the ladder since starting at the network. Just over 70% of their votes were a B or C, which seems about right.
8. Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians – 2.44
Most popular score: B (40.34% of the vote)
Analysis: Year one of Bruce Arians in the booth has been interesting, and I wouldn’t be shocked if CBS split this trio up next year and stuck Arians and Trent Green with separate partners. Over 75% of this trio’s votes were a B or C, and they actually received the lowest share of F votes (just 2.94%) outside of the top four. But they’re also just one of four teams (along with three of the bottom four) to be graded as an A by less than 10% of our voters, which tells me they have a lot in common with the crew next up on our list – they’re not great. They’re not awful. They’re just sort of there, which is completely fine for a mid-tier network crew.
7. Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman – 2.45
Most popular score: B (35.78% of the vote)
Analysis: Out of all of Fox’s hires in recent years, I feel like Chris Spielman may have been the most overlooked. He’s a great analyst, either in-game or in the studio, and whether he’s covering the NFL or college football. His pairing with Brennaman is just fine, a middle of the road, mid-tier network broadcast crew that won’t rock the boat. Roughly 2/3 of their votes came in the B and C categories, which really signifies that opinion – they’re not going to light the world on fire, but you’re not going to want to smash the mute button.
6. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman – 2.87
Most popular score: A (37.99% of the vote)
Analysis: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman – absolutely, positively not the best we have (or whatever that exact phrasing was), but far from the worst. Buck and Aikman have great chemistry because they’ve been working together so long, and the “Joe Buck is terrible and the worst broadcaster ever!!!!!” shit really just seems like a bad meme at this point. More than 70% of Buck and Aikman’s votes were an A or a B, and while they did receive the fourth-most F votes of any team, it wasn’t enough to counterbalance the strong percentage of high grades. Fox’s long-serving #1 team isn’t perfect, but they’re far, far from the bottom of this list. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
5. Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis – 2.88
Most popular score: B (37.10% of the vote)
Analysis: Burkhardt and Davis are the highest-ranked Fox Sports team in our rankings, and for good reason – they’re pretty great at what they do, and are the first team in these rankings to have less than 10% of their votes going to either a D or F grade. These two know how to inject excitement into a broadcast without sounding fake, and Davis has done quite well as both a college football and NFL analyst.
4. Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon – 3.02
Most popular score: B (39.03% of the vote)
Analysis: Much like the play by play broadcaster in our third-ranked team, Harlan is incredibly versatile and well-liked, grading out highly during the NCAA Tournament, NFL season, and NBA season. He also became even more well-liked for his calls of fans running on the field during Monday Night Football games. This crew has the second-fewest F votes and the second-lowest percentage of F votes, along with the second-lowest cut of D votes.
3. Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts – 3.06
Most popular score: A (39.55% of the vote)
Analysis: The Bird and the Beard remains a popular pairing, picking up the third-most A votes and the third-highest cut of A votes among any pairing. They were also the first of three teams that 75% of you gave either an A or a B, and the third of five that ended up with under 10% D and F grades. Given Eagle’s strong national work on NFL, college basketball, and NBA coverage, you could make a case that he is the most valuable broadcaster in the industry today.
2. Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth – 3.28
Most popular score: A (57.06% of the vote)
Analysis: The Sunday Night Football duo came just short of finishing at the top of our rankings, and you can blame the fact that no team in the top four received a higher share of D and F votes than Michaels and Collinsworth (coincidentally, they picked up 146 of each grade). Despite that, they were the only team in our rankings to receive more than 50% A grades (over 57% in fact, an astounding number), and more than 80% of you gave them an A or a B. It’ll be interesting to see if Collinsworth can continue to thrive with a new partner in the post-Michaels era, whenever that may finally begin.
1. Jim Nantz, Tony Romo – 3.29
Most popular score: A (47.62% of the vote)
Analysis: Having a new partner can do a lot for a broadcaster. In the year and a half that Nantz and Romo have been together, Nantz has seemed rejuvenated, excited, and far more emotional than he was in his last few years with Phil Simms. Similarly, Romo offers all of the positives that Simms did, takes them to another level, and doesn’t offer any of the negatives. Only 4% of the voters gave Nantz and Romo either a D or an F grade, which is why they were able to sneak into the top spot of our rankings despite having 10% fewer A votes than Michaels and Collinsworth.