By: Fish and Chad
2016 will find the United States wading through all the issues and electing a new President. So we at FantasyJAM thought we would get in on the act and through your votes, answer some of sports most pressing questions. In the month of January you voted to find out which was the greatest Super Bowl of all time, now it’s time to find out who you think the best announcer of all time is.
We have broken it down into four regions, and each region will get a column dedicated to it to give you a little more information on the announcers in the region.
Since liking a certain announcer is purely a subjective thing, these announcers are not ranked in any way and the match-ups were made to make the best possible outcomes in each region.
This is the fourth and final region, and it is loaded with Big Names. These are the guys who are still going strong, and whose names alone elicits response from the audience. They all have signature lines and have their ups and downs, but for all intents and purposes, these are the biggest names in the industry today.
Our first match-up is a battle of lead announcers on their respective networks. I would say these two are almost mirror images of each other. One of them is a legacy, while the other has worked hard to get where he is.
Jim Nantz is CBS lead announcer, and I don’t think I could watch the Masters or the NCAA Tournament without hearing from Nantz. During football season he is paired with Phil Simms and does the “A” games, it is Nantz that will be calling Super Bowl 50 with Simms.
Nantz has won 2 Emmy’s for his work on CBS and is now the play-by-play voice of the Madden football video game franchise.
Up against Nantz is the legacy of Joe Buck. Son of great announcer Jack Buck (who is in the Legend section of this tournament), Joe became the youngest man ever to announce a regular slate of National Football League games on network television, when in 1994 FOX hired him at just 25 years of age.
Buck teams up with Troy Aikman for football and is the lead man for FOX’s baseball coverage. It was Buck that gained notoriety for the way he handled the Mark McGwire homerun chase in 1998. While he has been accused by some of show favoritism when he does games, Buck is now synonymous with FOX when talking football or baseball.
Our next match-up is a coast-to-coast battle of baseball play-by-play men. We will start with Yankees announcer John Sterling, who has done every Yankee game since 1989.
While his style and backing of the Bronx Bombers has rubbed people the wrong way, it is impossible to mistake him for anyone else when he says some of his signature phrases, including “an A-Bomb from A-Rod” and of course, “Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!”
The job of taking down Sterling lands on San Francisco Giants play-by-play man, Jon Miller. He gained fame doing Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Miller’s delivery is notable for his easygoing, sometimes humorous manner and measured use of hyperbole, particularly in banter with his partner sportscasters. Miller is meticulous in his pronunciation of foreign names, and always sounds professional.
The next pairing is a couple of named announcers that, while not known to the populous at-large, if you are a sports fan, you know both of these guys.
Thom Brenneman fills in for Joe Buck with the “A” games on FOX, when Joe is still doing baseball, and is sort of a jack of all trades when Buck is back. They think highly enough of Brenneman that he covers anything and everything for the Network and does a great job of it. He too is a legacy as his father Marty, is a long time announcer for the Reds.
Up against Thom is Gus Johnson. Known primarily for his enthusiasm when calling game, he invoked what was fondly called “Gus’ Law” which stated that any game he was announcing would have an amazing finish. There may not be a single announcer on this list that gets you up off of your seat like Gus Johnson.
Our final two entries do not need much of an introduction at all. One of them is one of the first names you think of when it comes to sports broadcasting, the other uttered possibly the most repeatable phrase in sports history.
Bob Costas has been on the air since the late 70’s and still looks the same now as he did back then. He has been the host of 9 Olympic Games broadcast, he was the lead guy on the NBA on NBC, and now is a regular contributor to the MLB Network, which is his greatest love.
He is going against the man who uttered the phrase … “Do you believe in miracles?” for the 1980 US Winter Olympic hockey team in a win in the semi-finals vs the USSR. Al Michaels has been a household name ever since then.
He gained even more fame as the best lead announcer Monday Night Football ever had, then when ESPN got the contract, he moved to Sunday Night Football on NBC. Michaels and Costas may be the two most well-known announcers in this tournament.
So these are the eight Biggest Names in Broadcasting that have been chosen, with all apologies to Greg Gumbel, Keith Jackson and Brent Musberger, to see who is the greatest ever. Voting will begin after the February 4th episode of FantasyJAM and be sure to tune in EVERY THURSDAY at 8p est (5p pst) on WBAD.NET/Rock to hear us give the results and debate the merits of each entry, and head over to Twitter (@SportsJAMChad & @thefish1969) or Facebook (facebook.com/Fantasy_JAM) to vote on your favorite.