Is There A Poorer Sportscaster than Phil Simms?

And secondly, is there a worst NFL broadcaster than CBS?  Rhetorical and rhetoric, I know. And yes, this is a rant, so please let this be a catharsis for me.

First lets go with CBS.  There’s not another channel that squeezes in more commercials, most for their own shows, during a broadcast.  There are times when we cut back to the game just when the ball is being snapped.  And every timeout, every pause in the game, every chance to do some analysis, they throw up a graphic of some lame CBS show and have to talk about it.  Next time pay attention to how much this happens, just terrible.

And speaking of terrible, how many times do they have to play that CBS NFL sports “stab”?  That’s the little 16 note thing they play over and over and over.  After every commercial, before halftime, after halftime, as they show replays.  It’s so boring and repetitive.  Compare that to NBC (my favorite NFL broadcaster) who plays current music, usually reflective of what’s going on in the game, going into commercial or coming out of commercial.

Now let’s get to Phil Simms.  I realize he’s paired up with Nantz, who isn’t Mr. Sparkling innovative commentator.  But just the way Simms speaks is grating.  He fills the broadcast with words, often that don’t make sense.  For example, during last night’s Pats/Broncos he said “Jim, that’s what competent quarterbacks do.  They throw to competent receivers.”  Huh?  I guess that sort of makes sense.  And he puts emphasis on words, like: “Jim, he WAS WIDE open and Brady put the BALL right where it needed to BE”.  I honestly get depressed when a decent game is on CBS. And his little “Simms Spotlight” usually focuses on obvious stuff like “Get more yards on a run” or “complete more passes”.

And how about commentators who repeat the QB’s name over and over and over? During the Saints/49errs, it was DrewBrees this and DrewBrees that and he’s so the best QB ever and even when he misthrows DrewBrees is fantastic and DrewBrees.  At least with Tom Brady they sometimes say Brady in place of Tom Brady.  To me this is reminscent of BrettFavre.  They would always say his full name over and over and over.  As if there’s another Farve on the field or on any team. Favre was Madden’s favorite, and so he would repeat the full name over and over.  I recall counting once that he said BrettFavre 8 times between two plays.

Which leads me to the second worst broadcast, ESPN.  At least Kolheiser is gone.  But Gruden is terrible.  Again, he just chatters on and on.  Every player is the best he’s seen at that position or any position.  He says that about at least 5 players each week. While I like that he calls Manning the Sheriff, his insight is usually that any particular player is the best at that position.  His odd Chucky look worries me a bit, like we’ll cut back to booth and see Jaworski lying headless on the floor and Gruden covered in blood.

NFL network is not too bad.  They are like the local TV News channel.  They are okay, and I cut them slack because they’re new to this (not really new, I know).  Their graphics in the game were done by a 12 year old kid of one of the producers.  But that’s fine.  The have odd commentators sometimes that I don’t recognize.  But their broadcast is generally low key, and since they don’t have a lot of sitcoms or dramas on their network, they don’t do the CBS spiel about other shows coming up.

Fox Sports is okay, except for their halftime bunch.  You know, Terry Bradshaw and that crew.  It’s all haw haw haw and “I kissed a squirrel” and such.  Hi-lar-i-ous.  They usually have okay commentators like Joe Buck or Troy Aikmen.  Their little robot guy “Cleatus” is pretty cool I guess.  I’m stretching here.

My favorite happens to be NBC.  I like Al Michaels.  I liked John Madden.  He was really funny to listen to and had such odd stories from NFL history.  He’d make embarassing statements and Michaels would have a hard time not laughing.  Once Madden said, and I kid you not: That running back was setup to run thru the B-hole but instead cut back and went into the A-hole.  Michael’s replied dryly: that sounds about right.  I laughed out loud.  Michaels to me is a great #2 because he has access to stats that are mind boggling.  He’s smart and funny, and is so comfortable that it’s a very cool rhythm he and Collingsworth get into. The broadcast includes scenes of local food and restaurants, and the city.  The music is often contemporary.  And while they squeeze in lots of commercials early on, that’s so later in the game (late in Q4), there are really not so many commercials.  I’m in the minority because I like Chris Collingsworth.  I have to look past his bro-mance for the Patriots and Tom Brady, but he actually analyzes the plays and quickly circles players on replays and points out things I would have missed.  When a player gets laid out by a block, he laughs and replays that play (which I appreciate).  When Brandon Jacobs runs over a defender (happens about 8 times per game), Collingsworth will say “Oh good Lord, take a look at this” and replay it.  I like that.  The half-time couple of Dungy and Harrison is also a good setup since they are opposites and played against each other for so many years.  I enjoy the tension when they disagree, and I also think Dungy does a good job with showing key plays.

Okay, sorry for going on and on.  I recently saw a SI poll on the worst commentators and was shocked to see Collingsworth at #1 or #2, and Simms way down at 10.

Most of you guys are more versed in NFL than I am – what do YOU think?

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