Jim Jackson: Broadcasting Greatness in Philadelphia

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IMay 2, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 2:  (L-R) Philadelphia Flyers TV broadcasters Jim Jackson, Gary Dornhoefer and Steve Coates pose for a photo before the game against the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center on March 2, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Rangers won 6-1.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

In the sports broadcasting world, finding that voice, that diamond in the rough, is nearly impossible; hockey is no exception.

However, ask a Philadelphia Flyer fan about a man named Jim Jackson, and you will be hard pressed to hear something other than “the greatest play-by-play announcer in the game.”

I would wager, in Flyer history.

Jim Jackson, literally, is play-by-play in the fastest game on earth, and he does it with a panache that is uncompromising. Jackson’s ability to effortlessly flow between the surge of the game and the practice of informative broadcasting is unheralded.

It doesn’t stop there.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Jackson’s ability is the way he brings the game to you directly.

The crescendo in his voice as a winger brings the puck into the zone is enough to elevate any fan to impending euphoria, while his reflective decline in the failed shot or turnover is deflating enough to leave you waiting on baited breath for the next opportunity.

But there is more to broadcasting than just play-by-play isn’t there?

There is the insatiable lust for stats and player history, the need for player updates and recap of days past, perhaps from a game you missed, and of course, the stand alone and rare passion for failed calls and cheap shots.

These are the intangibles that fortify the relationship between broadcaster and fan. These qualities bring a new life to the game; it adds a leading voice in the cheers as you go ahead 2-1 and diminishes the opposition’s success when they “steal” a goal on the power play; the very qualities that define Jim Jackson.

Jackson has taken broadcasting the game of Hockey to a new level and considerably raised the bar and the Philadelphia/Tri-State area are reaping the benefits with every passing word.

But what is so relevant about a broadcaster?

For one, they have the potential to be the guiding light for us fans, to be the voice of all the cheers and tears we experience season after season. They are supposed to be the people that give us the finer shadings of emotion and sensation that is synonymous with the game.

But not every broadcaster possesses that skill. In fact, very few do.

Jackson provides flair, intensity, and excitement from the beginning of the game to the very last play and serves up a nicely wrapped desert dish of closure when it is all said and done.

Jackson avoids commonality with individuality, he epitomizes the climatic nature of Hockey, and he does it by embracing the heart and soul of the Flyers which in turn is the heart and soul of the fan base; a single pulse for the fans of the Philadelphia region that seemingly beats as one.

In our region, we have been blessed with many great voices too numerous to name; any Philly fan reading this has at least one that comes to mind, and Jackson is well on his way to becoming that next great  in broadcasting history.

He has become an indelible familiarity for Flyer fans and will continue to be the voice of the Flyers for years to come; the embodiment of what Philly fans represent: passion, intensity, and individuality!


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