08 February 2012

Grading the NFL Announcers, 2011 Edition

I'm going to give my grades for each and every broadcasting team in the NFL for the 2011 season. Let's see who needs to get their act together and who did excellent work.

CBS
1. Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
I'm not a fan of Nantz on NFL action as I am with his work on golf and college hoops but he is fine. Simms was really awful this year and his work took a nosedive.
Grade: C

2. Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
This is a crew that is ranked too high. Both are showing their age in the booth. Gumbel will get confused in his play-by-play and the game has just passed Dierdorf by and he's just an angry old man in the booth.
Grade: D+

3. Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
I love this crew. A crew that combines analysis with some humor and fun. Both should be promoted to at least above Gumbel and Dierdorf.
Grade: A

4. Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
Albert may be in his 70's now and it will show but it has been great to have him back in the TV booth for football. He's pretty good. Meanwhile, I have never been a fan of Gannon's work.
Grade: C+

5. Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
An underrated crew. I have always liked Harlan, not just his excitable style but for the fact he tells you who is on the field, which does not happen much. Wilcots is solid, particularly with breaking down the passing game.
Grade: B

6. Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker
Macatee is not awful but his style is much more suited for calling tennis and golf, both of which he is much better at. Tasker is not anything special either but he isn't awful.
Grade: C

7. Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein
I have always liked Dedes' work and he does pretty good work in the booth. Beuerlein does not give him much to work with though as his analysis is very hit-or-miss.
Grade: C

8. Don Criqui, Randy Cross
Criqui is a legend but it is clear that he is way past his prime and should really consider retirement soon. Cross used to be okay but he has just gotten awful of late.
Grade: D

FOX
1. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
I am one of the few who does not mind Buck, although I think he is better as baseball. He really stepped up his game this postseason. Aikman is always good, particularly with breaking down the quarterback position, and he was very good this postseason as well.
Grade: B

2. Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
I have grown to like Albert' work, he isn't his father but I think he is generally solid. Johnston breaks it every week as well. But Siragusa is just awful, he brings nothing to the telecast at all.
Grade: B-

3. Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick
Brennaman is hit or miss and while I generally like him (and especially so on baseball), his performance during Lions-Vikings was really bad. Billick is tremendous, I think.
Grade: B

4. Dick Stockton, John Lynch
Stockton, where to begin? He's another guy who was great back in the day but as he has gotten older it is starting to get unbearable. And you have to feel bad for Lynch, who has really developed into a pretty good analyst.
Grade: C-

5. Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
Myers is just so bad, he's so much better on the sidelines. I have always really liked Ryan but there are times he gets a little too technical but overall very good.
Grade: C-

6. Ron Pitts, Jim Mora
Pitts was a fine analyst but he is proof that not every analyst can turn into a solid play-by-play guy. And Mora was not that good at all this season.
Grade: D

7. Sam Rosen, Chad Pennington
Rosen is just a pro's pro, to use that tired line. He always turns in a solid body of work. And Pennington, in his first times in the booth, got better every week.
Grade: B

(Gus Johnson and Charles Davis only worked one game this season)

NBC
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Michaels is, in my opinion, the best NFL play-by-play out there. And while I have never been a fan of Collinsworth, he is a solid analyst.
Grade: B+

ESPN
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski
This crew evens itself out. Tirico is a solid PBP and will keep the analysts in line. Gruden is very entertaining but not very insightful while Jaws is the opposite.
Grade: B

NFL Network
Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock
This was another great crew. Nessler is one of the best announcers out there and he lets his analyst do the dirty work. Mayock is tremendous in everything he does, it seems.
Grade: A

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