TV Commentator Rankings
From the best to the worst of the NFL announcers
Posted: Thursday February 8, 2007 12:09PM; Updated: Wednesday February 14, 2007 5:52PM
A new problem has arisen, as I attempt to make some sense out of the many charts that define my Ninth Annual TV Commentator Rankings column. The problem is how do you rate a team when one member is obviously much stronger than his partner? In the old days, I didn't think about it much. People generally were paired up in regimental fashion, but the new NFL Network has neatly skewed that arrangement.
So what I will do, for the first time, is give individual rankings in the case of NFL Net talent. You will also notice that Dick Vermeil will be ranked as an individual for his NFL Net duties, and as part of an ESPN team. I understand that this is a complicated business, but who ever said it would be easy. Once again, some people will be left off because I just didn't get enough looks.
ESPN No. 2 team of Brad Nessler, Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil
Nessler comes from college football, where they work at the job a lot harder, and he was smooth as silk as the play-by-play man. Vermeil and Jaworski? Well, it was like sitting in a team's film room watching a game with the coaches. Everything nailed perfectly on the first look, without benefit of replay, everything laid out without hype or cheapness. And the nuances they caught make you wonder why no one else can see these things.
Example: Randy Moss raises his arms in disgust because his quarterback, Aaron Brooks, has failed to see that he was open. And yes, he did look open at the time, and about 90 percent of network announcing teams would have pointed that out. Jaws nailed him in his tracks, telling us that the ball was already gone when cornerback Quentin Jammer dropped off his coverage on Moss, creating the impression that Randy was free. And Moss was merely doing a cheap trick to embarrass his QB. Yes! That's what is known as analysis.
Dick Vermeil (teaming with Bryant Gumbel) on NFL Network -- We saw him near the close of the season. I'm sorry it wasn't more often. How good? On just about every play you are told exactly what has happened ... "Griffith missed his block and Ware slipped in for the tackle" ... "Johnson didn't read the blocking and hit the wrong hole" ... "good job by DeAngelo Hall of getting a bump that disrupted the pattern." Everything on the first look. No hype, no hysterics, no plugging the superstars. Why can't they all do that? Because the production people really don't understand the excellence of this kind of work.
Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan, FOX
Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger, FOX
Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network
Someone in the network must have taken pity on what he was seeing, the destruction of a valuable human being, and by the wild-card playoffs they gave Collinsworth a solid pro to work with, Tom Hammond. And presto, he was back to his old self. "You don't throw a screen pass at non-rushers..." "They started in a man to man, but now they're back in a two-deep zone." Whew, that was close.
Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders, NFL Network
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