Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NFL Broadcaster Grades

As we flip through the channels to catch a decent NFL game to watch, we also have to incur the sound bites that go with the action. Though the mute button is a great option, you miss out on the sounds of the game. In order to do this, you must deal with the talking heads employed by the network broadcasting the game.

Here is my grades for each networks pregame and game booth babblers.



James Brown = The best in the business easily. A

Boomer Esiason = Boomer is pretty fun to listen to. B

Dan Marino = I just find him kind of boring. C -

Shannon Sharpe = He still stumbles reading clearly, but he is personable. C

Bill Cowher = I think he is going back to coaching soon. C -

Leslie Visser = A pioneer who has done things no man or woman has done in sports broadcasting history. A


Jim Nantz/Phil Simms = Why CBS has this pair as their #1 team confuses me. C

Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf = A solid duo who knows the game. A -

Dick Enberg/Randy Cross = Long time team who are comfortable with each other. C

Kevin Harlan/Rich Gannon = Harlan is a pro. Gannon is mediocre. C

Ian Eagle/Solomon Wilcots = These guys are solid. B

Gus Johnson/Steve Tasker = Gus is good, and Tasker is pretty good. B -

Don Criqui/Dan Fouts = Probably the best duo CBS has. A

Bill Macatee/Steve Beuerlein = Only heard them once. Average. C



Bob Costas = The maestro of a mess of a pregame show. C

Chris Collinsworth = He is the only person on this show worth watching. B

Keith Olbermann = He needs to stay on that show of his on whatever channel it's on. D

Dan Patrick = Nothing offered by his addition. D

Jerome Bettis = Affable, but that's it. C -

Tiki Barber = Mistake hire here. D


Al Michaels = Al has milked that Olympic moment to the hilt. His ego gets in the way now. C -

John Madden = Less "Biff, Bam, Boom", but still one of the best ever. A

Andrea Kremer = Andrea may be the least annoying sideline reporter, for what that's worth. C

(Wild Card Team)

Tom Hammond = Solid longtime NBC guy in all sports B

Cris Collinsworth = Chris is better in the booth than at the desk. B +

Bob Neumeier = Limited exposure, so no grade.


Pregame :

Curt Manafee = He tries, and he is blending in fairly well. C +

Terry Bradshaw = The king of stumbling through highlights. Either you find it hilarious or annoying. C +

Howie Long = When he gets a chance to talk, he offers good insight. B

Jimmy Johnson = At least the hair looks good. C -

Michael Strahan = He looks like he'd do better in the booth. C -

Barry Switzer = He offers next to nothing. D

Frank Caliendo = He is the most talented of the shows talent. B

Jillian Reynolds = The "weather person". Huh? D

Jay Glazer = A hard working NFL Insider. A

Booth :

Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver = Between Buck's pandering (calling Pacman Jones 4 yard punt return "decent"), Aikman's post concussion syndrome analysis, this is the worst #1 team of all the networks. Oliver does a mediocre job. F

Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa = Siragusa/ Johnston did better with Stockton, but this trio is FOX's best booth. B +

Dick Stockton or Chris Myers/Brian Baldinger/Laura Okmin = Stockton is FOX's best play by play man. Myers is an average fill in. Baldinger is affable, and Okmin may be FOX's best sideline reporter. B

Sam Rosen/Tim Ryan/Chris Myers = This is FOX's second best trio when Stockton isn't working. C +

Matt Vasgersian/J. C. Pearson/Nichelle Turner = I've never heard them. No grade

Ron Pitts/Tony Boselli/Charissa Thompson = Pitts is good, and the other two are young. C -

Thom Brennaman/Brian Billick = They aren't a bad trio. C



Chris Berman = The guy annoys some, but I find him bearable and a pro. B

Tom Jackson = His familiarity with Berman makes for decent TV. B

Mike Ditka = Coach is an affable personality. B +

Chris Carter = Carter is new, but already shining. B

Steve Young = He loves to say, "At the end of the day" every sentence. C -

Emmitt Smith = He refers to the Cowboys every other word it seems. D -

Keyshawn Johnson = He is terrible like the guy he replaced, the mumbling Mike Irvin. D

Chris Mortensen = He has excellent inside information usually. A -

Ed Werder = He has the respect of his peers, and provides good scoops. B

Rachel Nichols = She works hard, and it shows. B +

Kenny Mayne = He tries to be funny, and sometimes almost is. C -

Sal Paolantonio = A nice guy and gets good information. A

Gene Garber = He gets limited time, but does OK. B

Stuart Scott = Annoying, phony, and uninformative. D

Josh Elliott = He does his best work on the "Hot List". B


Mike Tirico = He does better behind the desk. D

Ron Jaworski = I think Jaws took too many shots to the head. C

Tony Kornholer = The worst broadcaster in NFL history. He makes Dennis Miller look like Howard Cosell. F....unless a Z - is considered a grade.

Michelle Tefoya = Talent wasted in this forum. C -

Suzy Kolber = Insipid, and an ego maniac. Master of the dumb question. F -



Rich Eisen = The face of the network. C +

Steve Marriucci = He offers little. C -

Sterling Sharpe = He's the best Sharpe on the air. B

Rod Woodson = He does a good job. B

Terrell Davis = He is struggling at times. C -

Adam Shefter = He gets the premier inside info, thanks to his employer, but Glazer and Mortensen are better. B

Fran Charles = He isn't bad. C

Solomon Wilcots = He does his best work in the booth. C

Brian Baldinger = Baldy may be better in the studio. B -

Jamie Dukes = He is full of bluster, but he voices his opinion. B -

Kara Henderson = She is working hard to move up the ladder. C

Jim Mora = He offers some insight. C +


Bill Papa = The G-Men's radio voice enters his first year. No grade

Chris Collinsworth = He's everywhere. B +

Marshall Faulk = He gets better each game. C +

Deion Sanders = He is OK. C


David Funk said...

Nice call on the grades. BTW, I agree with you on James Brown. I really liked what he did on FOX, but he's no different on CBS these days. The guy is good at what he does.

Good work 3rd!

FanOfReds said...

Good stuff here. I agree with all of your grades (though you pay a LOT more attention to the broadcasters than I do). It's clear to me that I block them all out, especially Kornheiser (or Brett Favre lover as he is also known).

Kelly said...

I don't think you need to be funny to be a commentator, but if you're trying to be funny and you aren't it is just bad. Caliendo is about as funny as pain.

tcp said...

I don't understand why networks have to hire retired players to give commentary, but if they are going to do it, at least get people who know what the eff they are talking about. Emmitt Smith, Steve Young, Keyshawn Johnson, Troy Aikman, and Phil Simms must go. Joe Buck must go because he makes the broadcast about as exiting as an audit from the IRS, and like you pointed out, has absolutely no clue what he is talking about. (since when is a 4 yd return decent?)

James Brown and Howie Long should replace Emmitt Smith and Keyshawn Johnson on ESPN and then the network would be worth watching on Monday night. Well, at least until the game comes on, then you have to replace Kornholer with John Madden.

3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

TY BSF. I've always liked J.B. He got his start here in DC, and I knew he was destined for bigger things.

fanofreds - I do listen at times. Especially when they try to offer insights. I'm not the biggest baseball fan ever, since the MacRoids era, but one of the best games I ever saw was this year between the Nats/ O's. Not the action, but it was because Jim Palmer and Don Sutton were in the booth. I blogged about it on TSN, it was so good. Just to hear the stories told, insights given from 2 Hall of Fame pitchers. A real treat for me. I was busy doing something, so forgot what happened on the field...yet I just listened to those two.

kelly - to be honest, I only saw Frank once on that show. I try to avoid it. He did a dead on impression of Bradshaw, which infuriated Terry. Still, that's not hard to do. I remember Terry once almost boxing Dave Lettermans ears in because Dave asked about his relationship with Chuck Knoll. That, and the infamous Crispin Glover incident, are the only times I ever recall Dave walking off and skipping the entire segment during the NBC days.

bw - I totally agree. But I don't see those 3 wanting to be associated with ESPN. :) The biggest mistake the NFL made was letting them buy MNF. I mean..cable? I find that still appalling. They should have kept it on network TV. Not everyone has, can afford, nor even has access to cable TV. Still, as we all know = the FCC is forcing us to buy converter boxes now. Like Carlin said = we get our "choices" crammed down our throats without a say in it. The NFL Network, to me, signifies they want to go PPV eventually to pay these huge salaries. I can't hate on cable, but my 900+ channels usually has nothing on it nightly. I once wrote how George Michael, a local DC sportscaster ( The Sports Machine), gave ESPN their inspiration. Back then, ESPN had Australian Rules Football running on a loop 23.5 hours a day. I never saw the paparrazzi aspect coming into play, as it has now. Maybe the internet has fishbowled everything? ESPN has some great talent. It seems the guys who get the push aren't them all. Like our fellow blogger CK. IF I were the owner Rasmussen...I'd have her in the booth, or studio. It is cool to read passion for the game here, and I bet that passion could easily be conveyed by her in front of the camera. Yet, I still blame George for Wilbon and Korny. I once told him this, and he just laughed. He gave them their start on his shows here. I thought the guy who should have gone far was John Riggins, but he seems content staying local. You are right on about Buck. I suspect he and Troy teabag eachother at the hotel before the game. They are obviously cheering for the Cowboys. When I heard, "a decent return of 4 yards", my jaw dropped. This is a guy who got the gig due to daddy, and says he doesn't like baseball. I think he would be best served calling golf matches...or chess...or competitive eating.

CK0712 said...

aw c'mon this was your chance to slap me around some ;0

dearest 3rd, get a DVR & just fast forward through that sht . i never listen to em, that's beer/potty/food run time for me ;0 i can get you a good deal on the package!!

freds, tony does love with the AL/Kiffen drama, HA he's found a new love!!

Lester's Legends said...

Nice job. I don't really pay too much attention to the broadcasters. If I notice them it's because they are annoying me.