NFL: Top 5 Television Announce Teams

As the 100th season of the National Football League (NFL) season approaches, I think it is a good time to rate my top five current television broadcasting teams as it pertains to the pairings inside the booth. Before I give the rankings and descriptions, here are some of my favorite on-air talents not listed. As an honorable mention, my favorite play-by-play announcer is Kevin Harlan. I like the passion in his voice, has a deep set of pipes, and he is very descriptive. He is rewarded by doing the Super Bowl for Westwood One Radio. As for the sideline reporters, Pam Oliver and Michele Tafoya are great at what they do. James Brown is the best studio host in the business. I hope all of them continue to stay for a long time.

5. Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis were rewarded with calling a close playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints last year. They started in two seasons ago after John Lynch went to go work with the San Francisco 49ers. Davis has been all around the dial. I remember seeing him do college football games and arena league games on various channels. Sometimes even appearing on a show on the Golf Channel. He always seems to have a positive attitude and has a sense for the game. I like it when Davis can use other sports to make an analogy for viewers.

Burkhardt, while known for his baseball work, has drawn football divisional playoff assignments four times in six seasons at Fox.

4. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts have worked together since 2010, and have been on the second crew since 2014. They have called two divisional playoff games together, which included the high-scoring game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh about a year and a half ago. Like many other commentator pairings, both know when to be immersed in the game and when to laugh. Fouts is well versed in both the college and professional football levels, while Eagle’s network television traces back to Peyton Manning’s first NFL start in 1998. They both knew how to handle a spontaneous finish involving the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins last autumn. I remember hearing Ian tell Dan Patrick in an interview that he made sure to talk in coherent sentences while in the moment when asked to retrace his steps during that period.

3. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were Fox’s heir apparent to Pat Summerall and John Madden when the 2002 season began. Buck takes his time and is able to raise his voice on the big calls. He is very accurate in his descriptions. I think he has done much better at putting more excitement in his calls since the David Tyree catch in Super Bowl XLII. Troy Aikman is not afraid to be critical. Troy is very serious, so Buck can lighten the mood with his wry humor depending on the stage of the game. With so many strong teams in the National Football Conference, it is hard to predict who will represent them in the Super Bowl. The games that Joe and Troy do are fascinating, so the games carry a lot of importance.

2. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo get set for their third season together after coming off their first Super Bowl game together in Atlanta. Fans on social media seem to love hearing Romo predict the next play, especially during overtime in the past AFC Championship. Tony reminds me of a young student in school after a teacher asks a question, and he waves his hand back and forth, hoping to be called, all the while saying, “I know, I know, pick me!” What makes the Nantz-Romo partnership great is Nantz’s cooperation to let him talk in between the snaps, then call the play. Romo has a grasp to know when to let Jim have his time to talk.

1. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have been doing the NFL Sunday Night Football package for NBC since the 2009 season. The duo typically gets the best game of the week. They have been blessed to have done three Super Bowls that have each gone down to the wire. They did a great job handling the final sequence in Super Bowl XLVI when the New York Giants left time on the clock for the Patriots by scoring a late touchdown, one that ultimately gave New York the victory. I liked hearing them talk about the strategy.

Michaels is still performing at a very high level. Thus we as fans should appreciate him while he is on the microphone. Collinsworth did a lot of television studio work and games before becoming the lead analyst a decade ago. He is not afraid to speak his mind. Al and Cris let the game take the course that it will, then they react and go from there.

Who do you fee are the top 5 television announce teams for NFL Football? Leave a comment below.

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Michael Bolesta II
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