13 Worst Announcers in NFL History
If you have watched NFL football for any extended length of time, you probably find yourself looking forward to hearing a game telecast by one of your favorite announcers, just like you consider changing the channel when you start hearing one of your least favorite announcers start talking.
That is how I usually react when I start to hear the whiny voice of Tony Kornheiser. I repeatedly would watch a little bit of Monday Night Football, and then I just couldn't take it anymore, I would have to change the channel since he bothers me that much.
Who you like to listen to and who you detest is very much a personal choice, or left to personal tastes, so expect some choices here to be different than some of yours.
Some people might have listened to the long-time voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers' Myron Cope, and decided that it was like listening to somebody dragging their fingernails over a chalkboard, while others think his unique voice made each game special. For those not used to listening to Cope, here is a video link that you might enjoy.
We are going to go back in history, and see if we can determine who were the worst broadcasters in NFL history. You may or may not agree with our picks, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
It is difficult not to read any reviews of a broadcast that involves Joe Theismann, and not find people that rate him as "unlistenable." Horrible, pathetic and unbearable are just some of the descriptive words that came across the screen when I was reviewing comments about Theismann the broadcaster.
No word yet if he is signed on to continue making people uncomfortable in their own living rooms for the 2011 season. There is just something about Theismann that rubs people the wrong way. One word keeps coming to mind is pompous.
Imagine a football season without listening to Joe Theismann. Maybe this year might be better after all.
Matt Millen was a great NFL player. He was a lousy general manager and he is also a very forgettable announcer. One reviewer of a Millen broadcast was waiting to find out if Millen and broadcast partner Joe Theismann were going to start throwing down on each other.
An article from Pro Football Talk called Millen inept and said that he would go out of his way to protect his friends on the air. Here is a piece from Pride of Detroit.com that implores the NFL Network to fire Matt Millen...again.
If only Millen were allowed to play until he was 65, he would be set. He just has to find something else to do in the interim that won't anger so many people in the process.
Even though he was entertaining and had passion for the game, John Madden's love affair with Brett Favre was too much to bear, so he has to make this list.
Some people probably still miss Madden, so for those who do, here is a video clip of Frank Caliendo doing his Madden impersonation.
But without fail, every Thanksgiving that rolls around, I have to reflect on Madden's turducken and his bus that he would take all over the country. Madden had great passion for the game, but it is just a shame that English didn't seem to be his first language some of the time.
Joe Buck makes the list based on being overly smug, and the arrogance meter is off the charts.
He is better at baseball than he is at football, so when he is doing the number one game for Fox with Troy Aikman, you get the pairing of arrogance with an ultimate homer, which is another way of saying, "Where's the remote"?
Buck makes our list for being the master of the obvious. For talking during the vast majority of the game and not telling us anything we didn't already know, Buck is basically clueless.
If somebody at Fox knew what they were actually doing, they would keep Buck on baseball only, and bring in someone that actually knew what they were talking about.
Was reading a review of NFL broadcasters by the infamous Dr. Z of Sports Illustrated fame, when I found myself nodding to his review of Greg Gumbel. He finds Gumbel to be guilty of using catchphrases that make no sense; "he needs to get untracked" as a prime example of ruining a perfectly good NFL game.
Another pet peeve of Dr. Z is that Gumbel will simply choose to ignore some plays as if they never happened. I find that to be very strange indeed.
Phil Simms rolls out his "Story Line" for every telecast he does, and then does his best to make sure that the telecast proceeds exactly along that plot.
If the game veers off to the left or to the right, as it frequently does, Simms stops trying to analyze the game as if he is no longer involved in the game.
For someone with so much knowledge about the game, Simms does a good job of keeping that knowledge to himself, and not sharing it with the viewers.
There is a certain degree of arrogance there with Simms as well, but that is minor compared to the other reasons we cited.
We aren't just going to pick on quarterbacks, just announcers that have grown to be boring or take the fun out a game. Aikman has developed this monotone delivery, combined with being such a homer for his Dallas Cowboys, that the two factors make him and his partner Joe Buck difficult to digest.
Aikman tries to tell it like it is, but he will stop short of being critical of a player. Why is that, Troy? Surely, he must know that there were announcers who were critical of him when he first started playing for Dallas.
Another reason for listing Aikman is that he is prone to ignoring the trenches, focusing on quarterback play, and how they are connecting with their receivers.
It is like he takes the successful trio of Cowboys (Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and himself) and projects them into the game he is working. The other players, not so much.
Loud, obnoxious and always wanting to be the star of the telecast, Howard Cosell divided people when it came to expressing their feelings about him. You either loved him or hated him, there really wasn't much room for in between.
Cosell used to make fun of Don Meredith and Frank Gifford in the Monday Night Football booth, and would ramble on and on about Joe Willie Namath, Muhammad Ali and O.J. Simpson, among others. His style was in your face and you either turned up the volume or turned the volume off.
For our younger fans on Bleacher Report who aren't too familiar with Cosell's work, here is a link to a story that dives into decent background information on Cosell and his style and importance to sports.
For some interesting facts about the Monday Night Football broadcasts, here is a link that most will find to at least be an interesting read. One of the items talks about how Cosell had too much alcohol to drink and wound up getting sick on Dandy Don Meredith's cowboy boots.
Not everyone included in this list has always been a part of the worst broadcasters. They might have actually been quite good for years, and in some cases good for many years. But then they continue to take jobs past their prime, and what used to be good or great, starts becoming annoying and even sad.
That brings us to Dick Enberg, as likable a personality on the air as you could hope to find. But Enberg's prime has come and gone, and now his listening audience is guaranteed to hear him butcher names and general detailed information that drives you a little bit crazy.
I am sure that with all the games that Enberg has called over the years, he has more useless names, batting averages, yardage per catch, height, weight, and college names that are stored in his brain, that his circuit has been on overload for years. I enjoyed Enberg for a long time, but that is just not true any longer.
Dennis Miller was funny on Saturday Night Live. He was even funny for awhile on Monday Night Football. But as the season wore on, it became more apparent that Miller just really didn't belong in the broadcasting booth.
Sure, he might have been good to drop in on the MNF boys for a visit, as the Monday Night crew loves to share the spotlight with various celebrities, but as a regular contributor? No way.
If you never saw this before, here is a Saturday Night Live sketch where they make fun of Miller in the booth. Pretty funny transcript, and you can find the link here.
Cris Collinsworth has his moments where he will provide some great insight to his viewers. Then he will turn into his other side, where he starts to come across as the biggest "know-it-all" that has ever picked up a microphone.
When he starts to get into that mode, you have the distinct feeling that you are being talked down to, or made to feel like you should be honored that he is even talking to you.
Football announcers try to bring the fan in and make them feel like they are a part of the game. How often do you get that feeling listening to Cris Collinsworth call a game? Exactly. Pass.
I haven't heard Paul Maguire call a game in some time, because he is 70 years old now, and he is now employed by HDNet, which is hardly a powerhouse cable station for football.
I watched Maguire play football for the Buffalo Bills as a kid, and was happy to see him turn out to have a successful broadcasting career.
Later on, he was teamed up with Joe Theismann, and they would usually have a clash or two over something in the broadcast, and I always had the feeling that Maguire was trying to get Theismann worked up.
The other thought that I had was that I wondered if Maguire took a nip or two from a flask in his jacket. If you heard enough of his games, you would detect a slight change in diction from the first half to the second half of his games.
The other thing I recall was that strange laugh or cackle, that would stop the broadcast dead in its tracks.
For my money, the all-time worst NFL announcer in history is Tony Kornheiser. With a face for radio, and a whiny voice that sounds like fingernails grinding on a chalkboard, Kornheiser felt the need to interject his opinions far too often.
His comments or opinions often proved to have nothing to do with the game and as his season in the booth rolled on, it was clear that he was going to be bringing the telecast to new lows every week.
Some of the hires by ESPN have been clear head-scratchers, but Kornheiser takes the cake as the worst ever.
If you think there was someone that we missed, feel free to leave a comment with your nomination.