Chicago Tough's 12 Days of Super Bowl: Grading the Announcers

Chicago Tough's 12 Days of Super Bowl: Grading the Announcers

I'm not one to live and die by an announcer's performance in a big game.

Living in Chicago, we have to deal with Hawk Harrelson...so, we've all learned how to tune out some really annoying stuff.

However, the Super Bowl has had an interesting collection of announcers calling the biggest games in football history.  Tonight, we take a quick look at some of the greats.

Ray Scott (CBS)- I, II, VI, VIII - For those of you old enough to remember Ray Scott, you'll remember his simplistic way of broadcasting.  Listening to old broadcasts, you can tell how Pat Summerall used Scott's style.  Scott was famous for lines like "Deep pass...Reeves...Touchdown...Dallas"  No bells and whistles for Mr. Scott.  Grade: A-

Curt Gowdy (NBC)- I, III, V, VII, IX, XI, XIII- Us younger folks remember Curt Gowdy as primarily a baseball announcer for NBC.  Other older folk remember his consistent work on AFL games (like the Heidi Game).  Gowdy became the voice of the AFL/AFC, and his broadcast of Super Bowl III was impeccable.  Gowdy was lucky enough to have the majority of the great early Super Bowls: Super Bowl I, Namath's Guarantee, the Colts last second winner, the Dolphins perfect season, the Steelers first championship, and the thrilling Cowboys-Steelers matchup in January of '79.  Gowdy was smooth and an easy listen.  Grade: A-

Jack Buck (CBS) IV - Did you know that Jack Buck broadcasted the Ice Bowl?  Just saw that the other day.  The longtime Cardinals announcer is known as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, baseball announcer of all-time.  I got the chance to listen to some stuff on YouTube.  Buck is strangely captivating while doing football.  Even as a broadcaster for the hated Cards, I have to give him props.  Grade: A-

Pat Summerall (CBS) X, XII, XIV, XVI, XVIII, XXI, XXIV, XXVI, XXXI, XXXIII, XXXVI - Summerall's style was similar to that of Ray Scott.  He provided a simple, smooth broadcast that was easy on the ears.  Summerall was also lucky enought to be paired with two of the greatest colour commentators of all-time; Tom Brookshier and John Madden.  Brookshier provided a comedic, free-flowing partnership with Summerall.  Madden provided a football coach's background; really the first commentator to use x's and o's in a broadcast...this was before Madden became a charicature of himself in the 1990's.  Summerall's easy ways equated to a memorable football voice.  Grade: A

Dick Enberg (NBC) XV, XVII, XX, XXIII, XXVII, XXVIII, XXXII- In my humble opinion, Enberg was at his best doing Wimbledon.  For football, Enberg was at his best with Mr. FTD; Merlin Olsen.  Olsen was a nice compliment to the exciteable Enberg.  For those of us in Chicago, we have a bit of bias.  Enberg called Super Bowl XX...so for that I should give him a higher grade...right?  He falls slightly short.  Grade: B+

Frank Gifford (ABC) XIX- Frank Gifford was one of the few former players who made a seamless move to the tube.  Gifford ran Monday Night Football for quite sometime.  Like many announcers of his time, Gifford was not over the top.  However, he spent a lot of games where it seemed like he was still coming out of the coma he suffered from a hit by Chuck Bednarik.  Grade: B-

Al Michaels (ABC/NBC) XXV, XXIX, XXXIV, XXXVII, XL, XLIII, XLI- I couldn't stand the old MNF crew.  I hated Dan Dierdorf.  Frank Gifford made me sleepy.  Al Michaels has done every sport under the sun.  While he's most known for broadcasting 'The Miracle on Ice', it can't be ignored that Michaels' versatility is almost unparalleled.  Michaels made a seamless move to NBC.  While many enjoy his announcing, I always felt Michaels was actually a better baseball announcer than football.  Is it the fact that I can't stand his voice?  I find him overrated.  Shocking Grade: B+

Greg Gumbel (CBS) XXXV, XXXVIII-  I know what you're thinking.  Wait...Greg Gumbel did a Super Bowl?  Gumbel always came across as a guy who should be running a studio show...not somebody running the booth.  He's not horrible, but he certainly isn't memorable.  Grade: C+

Joe Buck (FOX) XXXIX, XLII, XLV- Buck is known for his baseball broadcasting skills; something he harnessed from years of time in the broadcasting booth with his father.  Buck can be a bit pretentious (see reaction to Randy Moss in 2004 playoffs).  Troy Aikman makes a nice pairing for Buck...but the Fox hire for main football events seems weird.  While he's Fox's main man, one wonders if they have plans for anybody in the future.  In baseball, he's an A-.  Football grade: B+

Jim Nantz (CBS) - XLI, XIV Creepy.  Should be stuck doing college basketball and The Masters.  Did I mention I find him creepy?  Grade: B

Leave a comment