A Sunday afternoon with Gus: What could be possibly better?
1. Gus Johnson-Steve Tasker (CBS), Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills: Dynamic duo. Gus is the most thrilling play-by-play man in sports today, maybe of all-time. Scintillating. You have to admire Tasker’s intelligence and command of the mic as the color guy. The former Buffalo Bills headhunter compliments Johnson nicely, making good use of his words/time. Powerful 1-2 punch of voices -one’s a former gunner who performed with reckless abandon, the other a one-of-a-kind phenomenon with a booming set of pipes. So many “go-to” catchphrases for Gus. Unreal. “YouTube” him now! Can I have Gus in “Acapella” without the game? On that note, I’ll tune in for Gus, not the game. All is well and right in the world when Gus takes center stage.
2. Kevin Harlan/Solomon Wilcots (CBS), San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders: If Gus is 1a, then Harlan is 1b. I can listen to Harlan announce a play-by-play Connect Four tournament. Wilcots is certainly solid. Very insightful. Harlan: another worthy candidate of your “YouTube spending time”.
3. Ian Eagle-Dan Fouts (CBS), Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens: If Gus is 1a, and Harlan is 1b, then Eagle is 1c. Eagle has such an entertaining voice. You are sucked right into the game when he’s on. How can you not be? He makes the game watchable and sound important. As for Fouts, he knows the game inside and out. I know what I’m getting from Fouts, he’s consistently spot-on.
4. Thom Brennaman/Brian Billick (FOX), Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cincinnati Bengals: Never used to like Brennaman. So much, I would despite watching any game he did. Now I appreciate him. Very complete in all his descriptions. All-around reliable and on top of the ball. Billick is the best NFL color guy in the biz. He is so in tune to the game and sheds light on everything. Very simple, and easy to follow. He will give the inside scoop on every play.
5. Jim Nantz-Phil Simms (CBS), Tennessee Titans @ Dallas Cowboys: If you’re looking for a “safe” thing, a “sure” bet, there isn’t a better combination than Nantz/Simms. Right on the money. Nantz is just loud enough. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing over the top, yet not quiet or unenlightening. Same with Simms, isn’t boring, yet isn’t flattering. He’s precisely accurate and it’s almost like your friend is talking to you about the game. Razor sharp and crisp relaying the ins and outs of the game.
6. Mike Tirico/Ron Jaworski/Jon Gruden (ESPN), Minnesota Vikings @ New York Jets: Waitress, can I order a large entree of Jon Gruden, with a tiny, extra small side of Ron Jaworski, actually, no, make that a sliver of Jaworski, with a hint, no, make that a sprinkle, no, just a touch of Mike Tirico. No, come back, acutally I just want a super big order of Gruden with nothing else -nothing on the side, just Gruden, and Gruden alone, that’s it -Thank you ma’am. Also, just to make sure dear, have the cooks know I want nothing to do with Jaworski or Tirico with my huge order of Gruden. All Gruden is all I need. Gruden. Gruden. Gruden.
7. Sam Rosen-Tim Ryan (FOX), Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers:
Rosen is so clear and over-engaging. He puts his all into a game. Ryan provides a strong, powerful presence; undoubtedly one of my favorite color guys. Ryan makes Rosen. A case where the #2 guy makes the #1 guy look good.
8. Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa (FOX), New York Giants @ Houston Texans: Albert is decent. Daryl Johnston can flat out go to work. Very straight to the point and ridiculously smart. You know he’s not going to shortchange you. “Goose” is the man. Can’t tell me otherwise. Enough said.
9. Ron Pitts-John Lynch (FOX), St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions: Pitts is another “just good” play-by-play man. Lynch is progressing. I like a “new” tandem that won’t just kill you with overused catchphrases that don’t work. Fresh faces always a good thing.
10. Joe Buck/Troy Aikman (FOX), Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins: Buck is “what you hear, is what you get” play-by-play guy -and I like that a lot. Aikman will give you the “411” at a good clip. They don’t rank high because nothing stands out and strikes me as special with this combo.
11. Chris Meyers-Charles Davis (FOX), Atlanta Falcons @ Cleveland Browns: I really, really, really like Meyers. As for his partner Charles Davis…not as much.
12. Chris Rose/Kurt Warner (FOX), New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals: Talk about inexperience. Nice guys, however.
13. Al Michaels-Cris Collinsworth (NBC), Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers: Double C-note isn’t as bad as many tend to think. I believe Al is missing his boy, John Madden. Time to move on NBC. Bring in the youngsters.
14. Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf (CBS) Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts: Game of the week gets tagged with worst announcing pair of the week. Mute button. Don’t want to hear “background noise”, rather hear the crowd noise and Peyton’s cadences. Similar to a bad rapper with a good beat, let me hear the beat not the rap. The bad rapper’s lyrics = Gumbel/Dierdorf and good beat = Kansas City Chiefs-Indianapolis Colts.