The quality of an NFL game comes down to a lot of things. Obviously, the talent on the teams is important. The excitement of the football game itself is critical. However, let's not overlook the role an NFL broadcast team plays into the whole experience. If you don't like the announcers in the broadcast booth, it just won't be an enjoyable experience.
Play-by-play announcers and color commentators are everywhere across channels like CBS, FOX, NBC and ESPN. Oh, and let's not forget the NFL Network, a network literally dedicated to the NFL. A great broadcast team can make any game 10 times better. Not just a Super Bowl, but also some random game between, say, the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.
There are some good announcers out there. The "Sunday Night Football" primetime duo of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth is rock-solid. "Monday Night Football" has a new team of Steve Levy, former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese and former journeyman safety Louis Riddick (as well as the Manning Brothers, sort of), so we don't want to judge them too quickly. CBS has Mr. "Hello, Friends" himself Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, who went from Dallas Cowboys quarterback to superstar announcer (and prognosticator) in the blink of an eye.
Travel back in time and you'll find huge names like Howard Cosell, John Madden, and Pat Summerall. There are underrated gems like Ian Eagle, who we also consider one of the best NBA announcers. And hey, bring back Dan Fouts, CBS. The Bird and the Beard ruled! However, not every NFL announcer is the proverbial touchdown. Some of them are more like the Jets' "Butt Fumble" or when Dan Orlovsky ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety on the 0-16 Detroit Lions.
Below is our five least favorite NFL broadcasters of all time. Before we get to it, we're just going to handle this right now. No, Joe Buck didn't make our list. Neither did Troy Aikman. While Aikman is a middling announcer, we actually think Buck gets way too much flak. He's darn good broadcasting both the NFL and MLB, and I'm not sure why people think he's bad.
All right, now that we've alienated half of you, let's get to it.
The 5 Worst NFL Broadcasters Ever, Ranked
5. Jon Gruden
This has nothing to do with the horrendous emails that were uncovered that led to the former Las Vegas Raiders coach resigning. Gruden can kick rocks, but we weren't fans well before this whole mess. Gruden paired with Mike Tirico on MNF for several years after ESPN got the rights. He was never any good, neither funny nor insightful. A receiver could be overthrown by 10 yards and you could still hear Gruden chime in with a disdainful, "You gotta make that catch!"
4. Charles Davis
— AFL Godfather ?????? (@NFLMAVERICK) September 21, 2021
What's the opposite of a glow-up? That's what Eagle is dealing with now that Fouts has been replaced as his partner by Davis. The former college football broadcaster has never been a favorite of ours. Simply put, we can't figure out what Davis brings to the table. At least Eagle gets to call Nets games as part of his NBA work.
3. Bryant Gumbel
Greg Gumbel, Bryant's brother, has been a totally solid NFL play-by-play man for several years. Bryant could not hold a candle to Greg. When the NFL Network started airing games in 2006, they called on Bryant Gumbel to serve as their first play-by-play announcer. He had no previous experience, and it showed. Frankly, it didn't seem like he cared at all. Bryant showed a seeming lack of knowledge on the sport, and his perceived ambivalence was frustrating.
2. Phil Simms
Simms suffered perhaps as much as anybody after he was replaced on the CBS A-team by Romo. Romo's immediate quality in the role put into stark light just how poor Simms was in the role. His biggest sin was how incredibly conservative he was. There has never been a punt that Simms didn't like. When it comes to former Giants turned broadcaster, we'll take Frank Gifford any day. Oh, and remember the time Simms (seemingly) farted on Nantz?
1. Tony Kornheiser
There have been a few "Monday Night Football" experiments that haven't worked. Making Booger McFarland a glorified sideline reporter in a weird crane. Hiring Dennis Miller. The worst decision, though, was hiring Kornheiser, easily the worst football broadcaster ever. Granted, he's one of the worst broadcasters ever in any medium.
"Pardon the Interruption" was one of the worst things to ever happen to sports television, but it proved popular, which led to Kornheiser getting the MNF gig. He brought his same grating persona and lack of coherent sports takes, but he also seemed miserable in the job. Conversely, we were miserable watching him.
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