Welcome one, welcome all to the 2019 NFL announcer rankings, as voted on by the Awful Announcing readers.
Some quick notes before we head into the rankings…
- All but one team received at least 3,000 votes (really, four more of you couldn’t have graded the Brennaman and Spielman team?), and our readers cast a total of over 48,000 votes (short of last year, with one more team to grade last season).
- Unlike last season, the race for first place was a blowout. Not much drama going on this year.
- Two teams lost the third member of their team going from 2018 to 2019. One of those teams stayed in the same place in the rankings. One slightly improved.
- Only one team jumped in the rankings by as many as two spots. No team fell by more than one spot. Not a lot of shakeups this year, folks.
- The overall grade for the CBS teams was a 2.77, up from last year’s 2.60. Fox’s score slightly dipped from 2.48 to 2.44.
- If you want to spoil yourself and look at the overall vote totals, click here.
And now….onto the rankings!
14. Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland (ESPN) – 1.29
Most common grade: F (33.55% of votes)
Previous score: 1.08 (with Jason Witten)
Previous ranking: 15 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Alright, so the good news is that the MNF team is better than last year. The bad news is that…well, it still isn’t good. Booger and Tess drew the highest share of F grades (as you’d expect) from our readers, nearly double the team with the second highest percentage of F grades. They also drew the lowest percentage of both A and B grades, and they were the only team to have less than 20% of their votes in those two top categories.
We really can’t go into a third year of this booth in some form, can we?
13. Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth (Fox) – 1.81
Most common grade: C (28.76% of votes)
Previous score: 1.97
Previous ranking: 13 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Stockton’s a legend and Schlereth is a very good analyst, but Stockton has not had his best season this year. The two have gotten better, more widely distributed games this season, and I think that extra exposure has resulted in their grade ticking down from last year. This was the only team (outside of MNF) to have a percentage of F grades higher than 10% (all the way up to over 17%), but they also didn’t exceed 30% in any one grade (the only team you can say that about).
12. Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta (CBS) – 1.92
Most common grade: C (47.93% of votes)
Previous score: 1.94
Previous ranking: 14 (out of 15)
Breakdown: One of the lower level teams at CBS draws nearly the exact same score as last year. Dedes and Archuleta had the second-highest percentage of C grades of any team, and really, I don’t know what else to say about them. Dedes is a valuable broadcaster for CBS because of his work on both the NFL and NCAA Tournament, and even though he doesn’t get rave reviews from our readers, the network seems more than content with him calling some of their lower level NFL games each Sunday.
11. Andrew Catalon and James Lofton (CBS) – 2.10
Most common grade: C (51.34% of votes)
Previous score: 2.01
Previous ranking: 12 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Much of what I said about Dedes and Archuleta can also be said about Catalon and Lofton. They’re thoroughly serviceable as a lower to mid level broadcast team. More than half of you gave them a C, and that about says it all. They’re just fine, which is way better than people yelling and screaming about how bad they are.
10. Chris Myers and Daryl Johnston (Fox) – 2.20
Most common grade: C (35.96% of votes)
Previous score: 2.21
Previous ranking: 10 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Myers and Johnston had nearly the same score as last year, down by a slight tick. In a weird quirk, only one team in the bottom half of the rankings drew a higher percentage of A grades than these two, but they did draw the third-highest percentage of F grades (ahead of just the bottom two teams). Myers won’t set the world on fire, but again, his value comes in the fact that he can perform a variety of roles covering several different sports.
9. Kenny Albert and Ronde Barber (Fox) – 2.376
Most common grade: C (38.49% of votes)
Previous score: 2.39
Previous ranking: 9 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Albert and Barber drew nearly the exact same score as last year, and I had to take the grades out to a third decimal place to separate them and the duo in eighth. More than 75% of their grades were either a B or a C, and this placement just seems right. Most of the negative feedback seems directed towards Barber instead of Albert, who is one of the more versatile, appreciated broadcasters in sports today.
8. Thom Brennaman and Chris Spielman (Fox) – 2.377
Most common grade: B (35.52% of votes)
Previous score: 2.45
Previous ranking: 7 (out of 15)
Breakdown: This is another “just fine” team, and I still think Spielman’s hiring by Fox a few years ago was an absolute coup. 70% of their grades were either a B or a C, and their cut of A grades was the highest outside of the top six. Part of me thinks that the slight grade drop from last year is coming from Bears fans, angry at their offense and taking it out on a broadcaster in Brennaman who has called something like three Bears games in the last seven or eight weeks.
7. Greg Gumbel and Trent Green (CBS) – 2.54
Most common grade: B (46.34% of votes)
Previous score: 2.44 (with Bruce Arians)
Previous ranking: 8 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Bruce Arians’ departure from the broadcast booth after one season has brought less clutter to the Gumbel and Green pairing, resulting in their grade and overall ranking ticking up. In a strange quirk, this team was the third of three teams to receive fewer than 2% F grades. Hey, if the viewers don’t hate you, you’re doing something right.
6. Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis (Fox) – 2.88
Most common grade: B (39.91% of votes)
Previous score: 2.88
Previous ranking: 5 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Huh. Nothing to see here. Same score as last year, though their ranking dropped a spot thanks to a grade improvement from a team behind them last year. Only around 8% of their grades were a D or F, and I think you’ll see that percentage keep going down in the future. There really isn’t much else to say – Burkhardt and Davis are a quality pairing.
5. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (Fox) – 2.91
Most common grade: A (37.60% of votes)
Previous score: 2.87
Previous ranking: 6 (out of 15)
Breakdown: The “JOE BUCK SUCKS!” fanatics weren’t out in full force this time around, which I always appreciate. Buck and Aikman’s score ticked up a bit from last year, resulting in them jumping Burkhardt and Davis into the top five and becoming Fox’s top-rated duo by our readers. Their 6.89% of F grades shows that some fans will still refuse to acknowledge that Joe Buck is anything but awful, but it was more than balanced out by nearly 75% of their votes coming in as an A or B. One of these days, maybe those people beating the same drum for years will back down.
4. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts (CBS) – 3.05
Most common grade: A (39.18% of votes)
Previous score: 3.06
Previous ranking: 3 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Eagle and Fouts slide down a spot, despite their grade barely moving from a year ago. The Bird and the Beard work so well together, and manage to call the game, entertain viewers (and each other), and provide top-notch analysis.
3. Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon (CBS) – 3.15
Most common grade: A (41.29% of votes)
Previous score: 3.02
Previous ranking: 4 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Harlan and Gannon move into the top three, thanks to a nice increase in their overall score. Just shy of 80% of their grades were either an A or a B, and a whopping 95% of their grades were either an A, B, or C. Only the top ranked team in our rankings had a lower percentage of D and F grades than Harlan and Gannon, and it speaks to the strength of the CBS lineup that these two don’t get great (or even good!) games every week.
2. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth (NBC) – 3.36
Most common grade: A (60.87% of votes)
Previous score: 3.28
Previous ranking: 2 (out of 15)
Breakdown: The SNF crew’s rating increased, but their ranking held strong at #2. 85% of their grades were either an A or a B, and they were one of two teams (along with our top-ranked team) with a percentage of C grades under 10%. However, what slowed their roll was the chunk of readers who just don’t like Michaels and Collinsworth – they had a higher percentage of F grades than five other teams.
1. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo (CBS) – 3.55
Most common grade: A (66.19% of votes)
Previous score: 3.29
Previous ranking: 1 (out of 15)
Breakdown: Why is Tony Romo so coveted by every network with NFL rights? Because he’s really good at his job. In year three of the Nantz and Romo pairing, their grade surged up even higher, signifying that most fans don’t want Romo to stop talking (Chris Russo…..enjoy your spot on that island). Nearly two thirds of the grades for this team were A votes, and just 2.33% of our readers gave them a D or F. This year, the voting was a complete and utter rout in favor of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo – the top CBS broadcast team, and the NFL’s highest-rated broadcast team by a significant margin.