We rank everything in football. Positions, coaches, bad teams with the best future. Never do you see the people in suits on these lists. That changes today. While I appreciate what these men and women do in terms of explaining the action, some are better than others. Here are my 2021-2022 NFL Broadcast team rankings.
If you hear them a lot, your team is bad
16: Tom McCarthy/ Beth Mowins, Tiki Barber, Rotating Sideline Reporter- CBS
When this announce team is your favorite teams stadium, you know it’ll be a long afternoon. Between one or both teams being bad, this broadcast team brings nothing to help. McCarthy does his best, but a lot of these games are stinkers. I hate comparing siblings, in any aspect. That being said, Ronde Barber is so much better at being an analyst than Tiki. Tiki is ok, but there’s a reason why he’s on the team with no permanent play by play announcer, and no permanent sideline reporter.
15: Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta, AJ Ross- CBS
As a fan of a mediocre football team for most of my life, Greg Gumbel has echoed through my living room for years. At times, it seems like he’s there for the check. Then the other times, he doesn’t really seem interested in the game. Archuleta isn’t bad. Gumbel’s lack of involvement into the game seals their fate as the second to last team in my rankings.
14: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Rotating Sideline Reporter- CBS
Catalon is great. Having him call your game is awesome. His versatility shows, and he carries this team. James Lofton is what ranks this team low. Lofton sounds like the disgruntled local guy, except he’s on a national stage. As if the game wasn’t already between two mediocre teams, James Lofton makes it feel that way. The play by play announcer already has enough to do in the broadcast. If their analyst doesn’t help, it’ll show, like this pairing.
13: Spero Dedes, Jay Feely, Rotating Sideline Reporter- CBS
This grouping isn’t bad. Dedes and Feely are a relatively new team, and just can’t be ahead of the other pairings. Dedes, like Catlon, has a ton of versatility, and enhances sometimes lesser games. When Jay Feely first joined CBS, he did some spots as the special teams guy. Then he broke went into the booth, and has risen up the ranks. Feely is growing, and getting better each season. Much more than a kicker.
New pairings, time will tell
12: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin- FOX
Mark Sanchez was great in the studio for ESPN College Football. I don’t need to name names, but this doesn’t always work out. Sanchez has the personality, the football iq, and not too much pressure. Kevin Kugler is a true pro, and will serve as a great partner for the Sanchize.
11: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Jennifer Hale- FOX
This is going to be one of everybody’s sleeper announce teams. Chris Myers wears just about every hat Fox Sports has. He has done NFL play by play for a long time, and isn’t going to be flashy, or drop a great reference. He’s going to call a great football game, and give you a great listen. Daryl Johnston is on his third different team in the last three seasons. Everywhere Johnston goes he is informative, and will give you proper analysis.
10: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Sara Walsh/ Lindsay Czarniak- FOX
Weirdly enough, when I think of the NFL on Fox, I sometimes think of Kenny Albert. His voice to me is a chilly November afternoon, calling a 24-21 divisional game. Jonathan Vilma gets better every year, and is a really fast rising analyst. Vilma understands so much, and has the perfect play by play man to match him. Walsh and Czarniak is an incredible rotation of sideline reporters also. The fact ESPN let these two go is baffling.
9: Gus Johnson, Aqib Talib, Megan Olivi- FOX
This trio my only be apart of three to four games this season, but Gus Johnson calling football on a Sunday is amazing. Aqib Talib dipped his toe with Fox last year, and it worked well. Him and Gus will be an amazing team. Gus is one of the best in the business, and Talib is one of the funnier former players in the media. Let’s not forget Megan Olivi though. I did just ridicule ESPN, but I’m glad they let her work for Fox a couple times a year.
8: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake- FOX
Adam Amin could read a shopping list to you, and you’d be on the edge of your seat. One of the youngest play by play men on this list, he’s also one of the best. Mark Schlereth left ESPN, after a long time doing studio work. He could have played it safe, but he knew he could do a game broadcast. It shows why he felt that way. Schlereth stays calm in delivering the action, and makes his analysis seem like he has all the time in the world, but keeps it concise enough for live television.
Play by play professionals
7: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters- ESPN
Steve Levy is a true swiss army announcer. Put him in the booth, hockey, football, no problem. Let him do the studio, no biggie. Sportscenter, easy money. Levy surprised a lot of people with his talent in the MNF booth. Louis Riddick should have been the analyst after Jon Gruden left, but they fumbled that one. Brian Griese doesn’t add a lot, but he doesn’t take away anything. I like three man booths a lot, this one works well.
6: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins- CBS
Kevin Harlan makes every game seem important. His voice doesn’t even have to change tones, and you pay closer attention. When he is talking about your team, you listen. Very few announcers, regardless of sport, have that effect. Harlan’s ability to transform two .500 teams into heavyweights by speaking, is so pleasurable. Trent Green is a great partner. Green is a very intelligent former player, and is able to be himself, because Harlan handles the drama of moments so well.
5: Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver- FOX
Kevin Burkhardt is truly one of the best in the sports broadcasting game. If it wasn’t for Joe Buck, he’d be with Troy Aikman on the A Game. Burkhardt went from the Mets and SNY, to rapidly ascending the NFL broadcast depth chart at FOX. Burkhardt makes every analyst better, and each analyst he’s had, says that. John Lynch, his first, GM of the 49ers.
More recently, Charles Davis. Davis who was mostly college football, linked up with KB, then went to the B team at CBS. Greg Olsen goes right from the field to the booth, and is already a great analyst. Olsen has done this for a couple years, during bye weeks, XFL, and studio. Olsen and KB are a dynamic duo in the making.
4: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi- FOX
Joe Buck will not be appreciated in his time. Everybody thinks he hates your favorite team, and he might. That doesn’t take way from the fact, he can go through a range of styles during a game, and is a great captain of a tv broadcast. Buck can tell a story, break out a comedy routine, and turn up the intensity. Troy Aikman may state the obvious from time to time, but him and Joe Buck are tradition at this point.
3: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn- CBS
One of the only good things about Covid NFL broadcasts last year was this new team. Ian Eagle is one of the best at whatever he does with a microphone, and this team is incredible. Like I said earlier, Charles Davis rose the ranks at Fox, and is awesome on tv. Don’t count his Madden appearances. Davis is one of the best analysts in sports, and he can match Eagle’s excitement like no one before him. Shoutout Evan Washburn, he holds down the sideline, while maintaining an incredible head of hair.
Best at their craft
2: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson- CBS
These final two is really fifty fifty. Jim Nantz is awesome. There is nothing I could say about him that hasn’t already been said. His mild mannered demeanor is truly an all time fake out. Few people can turn it up as well, and as quickly as Nantz. Tony Romo is the gold standard. His ability to explain a game almost ruins the experience for you. His ability to read the field and spoil the action is awesome.
1: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya- NBC
NBC is the best overall presentation of an NFL broadcast. That’s why they got the nod. Al Michaels is a top three play by play man, and Collinsworth is right behind Romo. NBC has a loaded roster, and this duo in the booth is one of the best ever. Collinsworth does it nonchalantly, and that rubs people the wrong way for some reason. We won’t have this booth forever so let’s please enjoy it. When the time comes, Mike Tirico and Drew Brees probably will still be in the top three.