I wanted to pull out one of today's Golden Nuggets for a little more discussion. Steve Young is joining the B crew of Monday Night Football, which includes Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg. The B crew is whipped out whenever there are two Monday Night Football games. The Mike & Mike crew used to be Mike cubed and included Mike Ditka. Young has appeared on plenty of pre-game shows, and whatever you may think of the Mikes, I think Young is a good addition.
Given that addition, I thought now was as good a time as any to open the floor to discussion about announcers throughout the NFL. Who are your favorites, who do you hate, who do you consider underrated, who do you consider overrated...that sort of thing. Madden has retired so we'll take him off the discussion list at this point.
So who do I like? Well, I have to admit I'm kind of excited for the 2009 Monday Night football crew. While I'm relatively indifferent to Mike Tirico, I'm a big Ron Jaworski fan and I think Jon Gruden could make for a very solid announcer. Jaws brings the type of analysis you really don't see often enough anymore. Obviously there are plenty of color guys out there providing analysis. However, most of those guys are cookie-cutter announcers shooting out cliches. Combine that with Jon Gruden's passion, which I think we saw quite well at the draft, and I think you've got a very solid MNF crew.
In looking through the announcing crews, I'm a big fan of Gus Johnson. He's better in college basketball, but the few times I get to hear him do NFL games, I'm usually sufficiently entertained. It's interesting that, looking at the Fox and CBS pairings from last season, there are a lot of groupings I really never cared for. Two in particular come to mind: 1) Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (can't stand Nantz) and 2) Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (although I certainly enjoy me some Pam Oliver). I realize they're the #1 crews on each network, but Buck and Nantz just drive me crazy. Simms is usually ok, but nothing special for me, and Troy Aikman doesn't really do it for me..maybe it's the Cowboys thing...
I have to say I'm rather excited for the Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth grouping. I used to really not like Collinsworth, but he's grown on me and I think I'll be enjoying Sunday Night Football with those two.
My biggest sleeper, who actually is not doing NFL games at this point, is Jesse Palmer. The former Bachelor star and NFL QB (yes I did them in that order!) made his debut as an NFL announcer at a 49ers game and I was more than pleasantly surprised. The former players that move into the announcing booth often seem straight out of an assembly-line and really just aren't any good. But Palmer was unique. He brought great insight and timely comments. Amazing to see given some of the crap out there. He's doing college football announcing now, but I hope he makes it back to the NFL.
So, who do you like and dislike in the NFL announcer crews? If you want to discuss the studio shows feel free to, but given the volume of people in each of those shows, that could go on forever. And it's also possible you might find a crew solid that individually you don't enjoy. Feel free to come at this any way you want. While there are certain things I look for in an announcer, everybody sees something different in certain announcers.