1. Lead CBS team: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo
The best duo is CBS’s lead team. Jim Nantz is the second-best play-by-play anchor in the game right now. His “hello friends” intro is as iconic as his voice. Nantz also has the consistency edge, we hear him in the NFL, March Madness, and the Masters. He’s well-liked by most viewers and treats the job like a pro should.
Romo is a whole different animal. I’ll preface this by saying Romo still isn’t great at nailing the production aspect of the job. He talks too much, especially about stuff that doesn’t matter to the game, but he also misses space or just leaves it empty. That said, he makes up for it when you factor in his knowledge of the game and incredibly goofy personality. Romo’s ability to predict offensive plays before they happen is the most unique talent any announcer or play-by-play caller has.
2.NBC Sunday Night Football: Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth
My bias here is that I love NBC as a network. I can’t explain it, but they just do everything better. NBC treats productions with such care and they handle themselves like professionals. As a play caller, Mike Tirico is great. He’s got a great voice, keeps the game going well, and knows how to work in an analyst. As a human being, Mike Tirico is one of the creepiest men on Earth. He was known to be wildly inappropriate during his time at ESPN and was even suspended for sexually harassing and stalking female colleagues there. So that knocks him down a couple of slots for me.
No analyst is better at performing than Chris Collinsworth. He knows exactly when to speak, and his chemistry with ex-partner Al Michaels was second to none. He’s still great, but he and Mike haven’t worked long together, so we will have to see how this plays out. Chris is also getting up there in age so his time in the limelight might be coming to an end.
3.Amazon Prime Thursday Night Football: Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit
Al Michaels is the GOAT of calling play-by-play. He has every single characteristic you’d want an announcer to have. He’s got a great voice, his personality is great, and he knows how to run a game. He and Collinsworth were the top pair at NBC. They had a dynasty, and he left it for like 20 million dollars. What a sell-out. No, the real reason Amazon is this low is that Kirk Herbstreit fucking sucks. He’s annoying, and I do not understand why certain people like him so much. I also hate the idea of him calling the NFL. It’s a totally different game from college. Herbstreit should learn the lesson from his paying career and enjoy college success, it doesn’t follow into the big league.
4. Lead FOX team: Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen
No complaints for either of these guys. Burkhardt and Olsen are similar, they both get the job done and are likable guys. They just don’t stand out in any way. Both are relatively new, Burkhardt being the only one with real mileage under him. I think in a few years this duo could really gain some traction, but it’s also worth noting that Brady is gonna go to Fox when he retires and is going to make, like, a billion dollars. So whenever that happens we will see Olsen knocked from the primetime slot or he will leave for another network. I’d also be surprised if FOX didn’t go out of their way to bring in a new play-by-play guy for Brady.
5. ESPN MNF: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
As bad as it gets. The worst play-by-play guy is best friends with the worst analyst. The combination of them both having terrible voices and looking like burnt plastic makes me envious that I’m not Hellen Keller. Buck has been grandfathered into the game thanks to his family ties. Aikman was a great quarterback for Dallas, but that doesn’t make him knowledgeable of the modern game. Buck can barely put sentences together, combine that with the zero insight Aikman brings to the game and we have the worst duo at ESPN now.