Best Announcer Teams
Best Football announcing combos
In recent years, we have seen many announcers criticized and demanded to be taken off the air for their inept announcing. Whether it is the fans despising Booger McFarland’s fumbling in the booth, Cris Collinsworths’ repetitive cliches and statements that are obvious to the casual fan, or even Joe Buck for being Joe Buck. The fans have been constantly frustrated with some of the announcers they hear on Sunday’s and we have seen the major TV networks constantly try to adapt and find the perfect combination of announcers that will bring the games to life.
This cutthroat business of being on TV has reminded us as fans how hard it is to be a great announcer. We have also been given a greater appreciation of a great announcer and more importantly, a great combination of announcers for a game of football. While there is no exact science to the perfect announcing group, we have seen great pairings and trios that have all given us their own attributes to relish. The Top Five list doesn’t include some of the games voices that were stellar but never found a great counter to their greatness, the announcers left off the list as a result are Curt Gowdy, John Facenda, Myron Cope, Dick Enberg, Keith Jackson, Gus Johnson, and Troy Aikman who one their own have been great and are in the upper tier of football voices. With this in mind, Let’s look at some of the best announcing combinations in the history of the game.
5. Al Michaels & John Madden
Al Michaels has been an exceptional announcer and has been the voice of the NFL for the past 20 years. When you hear that Sunday Night Football song followed by the theme and they cut to Al Michaels alone in the booth, you know that the game is going to be epic (those 30 seconds with Al are the time where he gives the family or fan the quick fix of how important this game is). For as long as we can recall, Al Michaels has been calling meaningful games and sports moments (most notably, Michaels calling the Miracle on Ice with his famous “do you believe in miracles?!”) but his best side-commentator in his career has been John Madden. The contrast of Madden and Michaels was perfect for the prime-time games on both ABC and NBC. Michaels called football like it was the news and made it serious, Madden made football fun and brought the casual aspect to calling a game. Michaels called the play, Madden called the execution.
4. Brent Musberger & Kirk Herbstreit
This is the only College Football duo on this list. There have been many great voices for College Football over the years but many of them were great as solo announcers. Brent Musberger has been one of the best announcers College Football has seen and was the leading announcer for the game in recent years. Brent Musberger’s final side-kick was Kirk Herbsreit and “Herbie” has been one of the best college commentators the game has ever seen. When you turned on the Rose Bowl on January 1st, and saw these two you knew you were ready for College Football. What made this duo great was the obsession that they shared for College Football, the passion and religious announcing, knowledge, and care for the game is what made many fans of the significant games that would be displayed on ESPN.
3. Jim Nantz, Tony Romo & Gene Steratore
Many people are ready to crown this group as the best to ever call football. Jim Nantz has been an established voice for all CBS Sports for years now but his work for the NFL has been the most recognized. Tony Romo has taken the league by storm with his ability to call plays before they happen and is setting the bar high for the rest of the voices for Football games as we see the smart and analytical side of announcing. Then there is Gene Steratore, many broadcast teams have started to bring former officials into the booth to help with the controversial calls, Gene Steratore might be the best of the group as Jim and Tony constantly turn to Gene for explanations (his finest moments coming in the 2019 AFC Championship Game as every other play required an explanation and Gene was able to constantly keep us fans in the loop). This group looks destined to be the greatest the game has seen, Tony Romo telegraphing plays, Jim Nantz riding along and Gene being a go to voice of reason for the refs or the players complaining for a call.
2. Frank Gifford, Don Meridith & Howard Cosell
This was the group that made prime-time games as big as they are. Monday Night Football on ABC turned the game into a show that could still be exciting even if the game was a dud since the announcers could carry the show. The three announcers all had their contrasts that made the whole thing work. Frank Gifford was the larger than life figure that saw everything about the game as perfect, Frank was the play-by-play caller that would bring order and reason to the booth. Don Meridith as a former quarterback saw the players as perfect but the owners and coaches as messed up, Meridith was able to bring the crazy stories and fun to the booth. Howard Cosell was an announcer for life and saw everyone playing the game as messed up, Howard also gave the commentary that the game on the big stage needed and would be honest with the fans when needed (Cosell had no problem telling fans to stop watching). The group was able to catapult Monday Night Football to the and announcing in general to the national relevancy that it is today.
1. Pat Summerall & John Madden
This was the best duo in NFL broadcasting. Like the other great duos on this list Summerall and Madden were able to work together and with different personalities that made the whole thing work. Pat Summerall was able to be the voice but not overpower the moment with his announcing, Summerall was quick and to the point with his calls. To contrast, John Madden was able to explain the plays and bring the boom and excitement to the game. One of the more fond memories the fans have with the duo is the Thanksgiving games that they broadcasted, the duo was able to make the tradition and the after game turkey-eating a part of football culture. The duo was able to not only make the game fun but also able to give the deep analysis that we see from announcers in the game today, like Tony Romo, they were setting the bar high for future announcers.