Bryant Gumbel, Please Come Back!

John C. Sease, Jr.Correspondent INovember 27, 2008

I have always been a huge sports fan and have enjoyed many sports telecasts throughout my life.  However, at the expense of sounding like an old fart, I truly miss what are my “good ole’ days” when sports announcers were actually engaging and interesting.

When I was younger, the NFL pregame shows were ruled by intelligent and articulate hosts such as Jayne Kennedy and the masterful Bryant Gumbel. 

The play-by-play announcers were also interesting and informative.  Some of those announcers were icons in the booth such as: Dick Enberg, Pat Summerall, Merlin Olsen, and many more.  Sorry...John Madden was a coach back then.

Being an avid sports fan, I have witnessed what has become a tragedy as it relates to the quality standard of both the pregame host and the play-by-play announcer in all of sports. 

In recent years, the pregame hosts (which consist mainly of ex-coaches and athletes) have been allowed to showcase their illiteracy every Sunday morning during the pregame shows on whichever network you choose.  Their lack of grammatical awareness, misuse of tenses, mispronunciations, and unrecognizable slang has sent me running from all pregame shows.  See the definition of Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Terry Bradshaw, Michael Irvin, and others of their ilk. 

I long for the days when Bryant Gumbel was a studio sports announcer and brought articulation, dignity, knowledge, and grace to the production.  Instead, today we have Stuart Scott with his wide array of ridiculous and unbearable slang used throughout every telecast.

Let’s not forget the announcers.  Dick Enberg and Pat Summerall helped all viewers (including the novice fan) enjoy a game because of their knowledge, succinct delivery, and command of the English language.  However, the announcers today are nothing more than clones regurgitating the same rhetorical clichés throughout their telecasts.

Here is a list of my top rhetorical cliché’s by announcers:


1. “The team is going to have to put points on the board in order for them to win!”  Oh really?  Thanks for informing me that outscoring the opponent is how you win a game.

2. “They must give 110 percent.”  Would someone please inform sports announcers that there is no such thing as 110 percent?

3. “They defensed that play very well.”  Grammar alert to all announcers! There is a perfectly good verb to use in that instance: defended.  Troy Aikman, please pay close attention.

4. Finally, here is my worst pet peeve of all the regurgitated clichés.  An announcer is doing a play-by-play call of a basketball game.  The team that is losing has just scored 15 unanswered points and the score is now 60-57. 

Every announcer will inevitably utter the same incorrect cliché: “They have just pulled to within three!”

       Announcers, please take a moment to read your dictionary and research the word “within.”  In order for the team to be within three, they would have to be down by two or less.  Hence, the meaning of the word “within!”


The pleasure I receive from watching sports could only be matched by a resurgence of quality pregame hosts and play-by-play announcers.  If this were to happen, then it would once again make the experience of watching sports telecasts a magical moment.

Until then, I’ll just have to tolerate the endless clichés, mindless grammatical verbiage, and unbearable slang that will surely accompany each telecast.

I hope that I gave 110 percent while writing this post.  If not, then I’ll have to put more on the board!

Bryant Gumbel, please come back!