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Best and worst in the booth


The Rookie
Dec 9, 2009
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Greenville, NC
When watching a sporting event on T.V. or listening to it on the radio, it's virtually compulsory that at least 2 people (with the exception of Vin Scully and those like him) are present to tell the viewers/listeners what exactly is going on down on the field and their opinion about it. One is usually a sports reporter of some kind to do play-by-play and the other is usually an expert on the game to do "color commentary". Usually, these people are nothing more than background noise. They have bland personalities and kind of get out of the way of the event they're covering. Precious few are able to turn the game, no matter what it is, into an epic, captivating battle of titans. Many, though, are insufferable loud mouths who have no business doing what they're doing.

Since all of you are sports fans of some sort or another, who is the best and worst play-by-play/color commentators you've heard?

Best: Keith Jackson, Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Kurt Gowdy, and Vin Scully I caught them at the end of their careers, but they were all incredibly gifted and they set a standard for all. Scully is still going strong in L.A.

Worst: Joe...friggin...Buck. Ugh! What a tool box. He's riding on his dad's coat tails and he's a grade A Cowboys fanboy. I hate hearing him in the booth when the 'Boys are playing. He might as well have a pair of pom-poms and a megaphone. Plus, he makes baseball games (my first sports love) into a chore to watch on Fox.
Truth be told, I kind of have a soft spot for Jackson because, as I said, I caught him at the end of his career; and at that time, he was kind of losing it which cracked me up from time to time. During the prime of his career, though, he was a top notch play-by-play man. He was actually the original play-by-play man for Monday Night Football since Frank Gifford was still under contract with...CBS, I think.
I was fortune enough to have watched Jackson, McCay, Gowdy, and Schenkel in their prime-they set a standard that I still find unequaled. In recent years I've come to expect less from the announcers and simply try to enjoy those moments when they are themselves enthralled by what's going on on the field or on the court and it shows in their picking out the elements that are contributing to my enjoyment as a viewer.

Having said that, and begging forgiveness for a mini-rant, :rant: I have been so disgusted by sports announcers that wrapped themselves up in this season's "trendy topic"-the infernal and at times obscene "Brett Favre is the Ultimate Football Player of All Time" slobbering love-fest that watching the Vikings play has become almost unendurable.

Oh, and if one more announcer uses the fingernail-on-a-blackboard phrase "He could go All...The...WAY!" I may be forced to leave the room before I pitch my shoe at the screen. :rant:

Bottom line-I don't really have any current favorites because their performances are too variable and inconsistent to be able to select one or a few.
Brian Balllicker and Mushmouth (Shannon Sharpe) have got to be the worst in the biz

All my favs are gone. Sony Sam and Frank plus Madden and Pat Summerall in their heyday.

Now I guess if Acheman and Woody
I forgot about Summerall. The man has a golden voice. He also knew when it was best to speak and when it wasn't. He could paint a vivid and clear picture of whatever was going on during the game. I always thought he was better suited for radio than television.

Madden was just fun. You can't get too uptight when watching a game while Madden was doing the color commentary.
There are a number of color guys I like but then those are easy to find. Harder is a good play-by-play guy to go with them.

Frankly, I have nearly given up on good play-by-play. Most of them make regular mistakes regarding player names, down/distance, and yardage on the play. I think it is something of a lost art, largely because they don't take the responsibility seriously.

I really miss Dr. Z's end of year TV crew rating article too. It was great and often his opinion of the play-by-play guys mirrored my own.
Yes, it's a shame. I kind of wish they'd do away with play-by-play; at least on television. Many of them, as I said, are either dull as dishwater or get in the way of the event.
Chris Collinsworth makes me want to punch babies, and the last two years with Brian Gumbel, Sunday night football was close to unwatchable. If I had to hear Gumbel's buffoonerriffic comment "and they turn it over on downs once again" when a team punted ONE MORE TIME, I may have kicked a hole in whatever TV I was watching.

Thankfully NBC got rid of one-half of the worst broadcasting team in history, no hopefully they'll can Collinsworth's sorry behind.
Well, I don't know. I like Al Michales. He's had a good, long history and he was part of the second generation of the legendary ABC booth personel.

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