Whatchu talking about Willis?
A Pre-Season guide to the NFL Announcers
So, you're about to pop on the good ole' Stiller game, but ya don't know if you should be listening to Myron, "Big Boy" Bill and All-Pro Tunch or watching the game with Dumbass Announcer A and Dumbass Color Analyst B. Well, I'm here to solve the problem for you.
First off, to find out the week's announcing teams you can go to NFL.com. Find the game of your choice and click on "match-up." By Wednesday night, the site usually has the announcing teams and the network the game is being broadcast.
The Mute Group:
- If the name Beasely Reece pops up onto the screen keep the televsion on mute for the whole game. The CBS execs found out quickly that Reece says too many dumbass things in the booth, so they shoved him to the sideline where he just continues to spout out more absurdities that a Terry Bradshaw commercial. But, what they didn't do (and I HAVE NO IDEA ON THIS GODLY EARTH WHY) was just can Reece all together. I mean every guy that he talks about is the "toughest competitor who never backs down" or the catch was "the best catch I've ever seen in this era of football."
- Cris Collinsworth has never said anything that doesn't scream of being an ex-Bengal and resenting it. Here's a guy that has the audacity to say he would have fired Kris Brown on the spot for his awful kicking against Baltimore last year, but wouldn't come back the next week and give Brown props for 4 out 5 (including game winner) in Cleveland. Collinsworth also has the unworthy post of being teamed up with Terry and Howie. He isn't as smart as Howie and can't play dumb like Terry so he's the bitter sadistic one in the middle. He's like the Jan Brady of football announcers. Word has it he's being moved to the booth along side Joe Buck. What great luck for Buck, first he gets to sit next to Tim McCarver for baseball and then Tim's evil twin Cris for football. Bring lots of aspirin and keep the mute button handy because Collinsworth is bound to make want to break the beer bottle and end it all now.
- Randy Cross spends most of his time looking pretty for the camera and spouting off this and that about why Team A doesn't have a chance against Team B. He acts like all teams nowadays can't stand up to his good ole 49er's of the 80's. Listen, Randy will once in a while say something smart and legit, but most of time I end up looking at the cake of makeup on his face and wondering what poor sole had to do that for him. Thank God we only see him for brief moments during the pregame show, but even that's too much.
- Dan Dierdorf. Poor Granddaddy Dick Enberg. For as long as I remember he was the #1 guy on NBC and he great partners (most of the time, let's not bring up Bob Trumpy): Merlin Olson, Paul McGuire & Phil Simms. But when football left CBS, football left Enberg. Now he's back at CBS, but instead of doing the smart thing and pairing him with Simms again, CBS decided to reward Enberg with Dan Dierdorf. Dierdorf is like the Comic Bookstore owner on the Simpsons. He speaks to you like you don't have any clue what's going on, like you aren't worthy of watching the game, but since he has to he'll give the peons back at home a lesson. He speaks like he wrote the NFL rule book and he's giving a pop quiz every week. During the Steeler-Raven game last year Dierdorf made way too much about Kordell's first INT. Granted it was deep in the Steelers zone and stole some momentum from the Black and Gold. But this type of thing is what he always does, makes too much out of nothing and nothing out of the best stuff. There was a reason he was the weak link on ABC a few years back. He's like a Bob Trumpy clone and that in itself is scary enough. But, God bless Dick Enberg his sacrifice makes Dierdorf watchable, although never put the remote too far away.
Now that we've dealt with the idiots, here are some names to watch for:
Phil Simms. Although he had an off year last year, he's by far the best color analyst in football. He shows a true love the game, and a compassion for the losing team like no other analyst I've seen. He doesn't talk down to the game like some others (Dierdorf, Thiesmann) which makes him head over heels the tops of the class. He's like Madden (in Madden's hey day) but without gallows humor. Someone needs to pair Simms back with Dick Enberg, Gumbel has too much of Jim Nantz's casual-18th-Tee approach.
Dick Enberg. See the notes about Dierdorf, but I'll also say this about Enberg. He has the ability to make the casual fan excited about the play that just happened. Unlike Bill Macatee and Ian (I –AN not E- AN) Eagle to name a few, Enberg really relays the action well through his vocal inflection. His knock is that he's getting older so his spotting of the ball isn't what it used to be. And does he always have to talk about "Joe Smith from the University of Blah. He played High School ball in for John F. Kennedy Blah. His father's and his 15 family cousins are all here to cheer him on. In college he was called the blah, but in high school he was called the blah. His barber told him he should go out for football when he was 9 years old and…." Jesus let's get to the game Dick. But hey, he's Grandpa Dick. He's got a story about everyone.
Troy Aikman. The up and coming pup at Fox. He should be the one to take over for Madden, but alas, it looks like Cris Collinsworth stole the job. Aikman has many of the same qualities that Simms has, but at times it seems like he got one too many concussions. Listen to Aikman and lets say…Steve Young…then listen to Simms. Big difference. But, Aikman will only get better over time. I rate him as the 4 best color analyst behind Simms, Madden and Fouts.
Dan Fouts. Poor Fouts was the "meat and potatoes" of that ABC group until Madden's flashy approaching kick him out. But, Fouts needs to stay with the pro game. He brought a great approach to the game from a college announcer's point of view. He kept it brisk and concise and often made wittier remarks than Dennis Miller.
Al Michaels. By far the best play-by-play man out there. Aside from Gary Thorne (the God of Hockey American Television Hockey announcers), Michaels is the best play-by-play man in all of sports broadcasting. He, like Enberg, made Dierdorf watchable. But, alas, Michaels had a down year last season. If only his ball spotting wasn't so spotty last season and only if he'd stick to the game rather than the circus around him. That's why he's slipped a bit, but he's still tops in my book.
APPLE'S LIST 2002 Pre-Season Rankings
Top 5 Play-By-Play National NFL Football Announcers
- Al Michaels
- Dick Enberg
- Joe Buck
- Mike Patrick
- Greg Gumbel
Top 5 Color Analysts
- Phil Simms
- John Madden
- Dan Fouts
- Troy Aikman
- Solomon Wilcots
Hope this helps. Remember just say no to Beasley Reece. And hey, if I had the choice I'd keep Myron on all game long.
Many of you have asked about Paul McGuire. Look I think McGuire was a great color analyst when he was in the three man booth with Enberg and Simms. I actually rate that booth as the top booth in the 90's. However, he's been shoved out of focus at ESPN. Theismann trys to play the smart guy, but he's no Phil Simms. Mike Patrick is a solid able play-by-play man, but he's no Dick Enberg. Therefore the talent around McGuire isn't as good.
So did McGuire make the talent or did the talent make McGuire? Well, probably a little from column A and a little from column B. That being said, he's just not the same as he was 5 years ago and the chemistry just isn't there. That's why he didn't crack the Top 5. But, hey if has a good season, he'll be back up there.