Who Are The Best In The Booth?

I definitely, already, have my dream job, thank you, Lord.

But my “other” one would be sports play-by play. Since we’re in the heart of the busy season for NFL/NBA/NCAA hoops/CFB and bowls, etc., etc., who would you say is your favorite national play-by-play or color commentator? We’re talking “best in the booth” for live sports, so NOT asking about studio hosts, panelists, etc.

It’s completely subjective, but since I take in a fair amount of sports TV and radio, here’s my top 15:

1.) Gus Johnson (FOX) His enthusiasm for football and basketball is infectious. He clearly loves what he does. Gotta love this guy.

2.) Kevin Burkhardt (FOX) Their new lead NFL guy is gimmick-free, conversational and easy to spend time with.

3.) Tim Brando (FOX) When he and former player Spencer Tillman team up for a Saturday college football game, it’s more than a broadcast. It’s like hanging with two guys who are good friends with each other and with you.

4.) Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN) No one explains football for the viewer better, and, like Burkhardt, he’s natural and conversational.

5.) Tony Romo (CBS) He’s revolutionized the color commentator job, and his platinum deal with the network reflects his value.

6.) Joe Davis (FOX) Besides calling Dodger games in LA, he’s FOX’s new lead baseball voice. Young, smart, economical with words.

7.) Sean McDonough (ESPN/ABC) He’s done it all, and is always a good fit for the occasion. He knows the game is the star.

8.) Al Michaels (Prime) Same as McDonough, and even more of a legend. Smart and funny too.

9.) Chris Fowler (ESPN/ABC) Makes a great teammate for Herbstreit. Always well-prepped.

10.) Brad Nessler (CBS) The anchor of the SEC-Game-of-the-Week, which is often the marquee game of a regular season Saturday, Nessler is smooth and has a long memory to draw upon.

11.) Brian Anderson (FOX/TNT) Since he was the SA Missions guy at one point, I’m always glad to hear him on a baseball or basketball call. Very sharp.

12.) Doris Burke (ESPN) Great, conversational commentator on NBA play-by-play. Can riff on anything.

13.) Jim Nantz (CBS) The dean of the profession. “Hello, friends.”

14.) Beth Mowins (ESPN) A pioneering voice who you can tell works very hard to prep and conveys that Gus Johnson-level enthusiasm.

15.) Ian Eagle (CBS) Jack of all trades in terms of sports, but especially strong on NFL calls.


Let me know who you like best in sports play-by-play: [email protected]

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