I was thinking about sports for no particular reason, and it occurred to me you do not often see sports announcers quote poetry or literature in a learned way. That’s fine - better they know the ins and outs of the game and players. But that made me think of Howard Cosell. I learned about him from the pages of MAD before I ever saw him. He was considered one of the best, was on SNL, was liked for his arrogant pomposity and ended up tossed due to announcing out of date old man social views if I recall.
Who is the best sports announcer now? Ever?
Am I wrong? Is there an “academic type” sports announcer out there?
The greatest of all time was darts legend Sid Waddell. His poetic and often surreal imagery was delivered in a heavy Geordie accent. There are youtube compilations, but most Americans will need a transcript.
The atmosphere is so tense, if Elvis walked in, with a portion of chips…
you could hear the vinegar sizzle on them
When Alexander of Macedon was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Bristow’s only 27.
That’s the greatest comeback since Lazarus.
Even Hypotenuse would have trouble working out these angles
It’s the nearest thing to public execution this side of Saudi Arabia.
He’s got one foot in the frying pan and one on thin ice.
Darts players are probably a lot fitter than most footballers in overall
Cosell was awful. He made the event about himself every time. He did not get tossed from anything though. There was controversy from some about calling Alvin Garrett a little monkey on Monday Night Football. He didn’t get fired and had the support of people like Jesse Jackson and Alvin Garrett himself. His vocal support of civil rights was unwavering and ahead of his time. He did leave at the end of the season. He either manufactured positions of conflict or perceived conflict when it wasn’t there and just got tired of fighting. He sort of just faded away from each sport he was involved in.
The best ever would have to be Vin Scully. That wonderful voice, the ability to weave a picture with words and the rapidly disappearing talent to be able to call an entire baseball game solo while still being entertaining the entire time. We will never see anyone like him again.
To answer question two I would put up Richie Benaud who was a top class cricketer in his playing days and then became a legendary announcer for forty years. He had wonderful insight, good wit, didn’t just state the obvious, brevity (the value of when to say something and when to let the pictures speak for themselves) and a voice that was impersonated all over.
Best ever? That’s an easy one. It has to be John Madden. He’s such a unique talent that unlike coaches or players from his time, who have all since been surpassed, no announcer since he retired has come close to his talent at making a game just plain fun to watch.
Of the current group, I like Al Michaels and Tony Romo.
John Madden certainly knew his stuff. I’d even go so far as to say he was (still is?) a football geek. He was the one who originated the idea of announcers watching the teams practice and speaking to the players and coaches before the upcoming game so as to have a better understanding of how things stand.
Nitpicking the OP - Howard Cosell was not on SNL. Cosell had a prime time variety show on ABC called “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell”. SNL was originally just “NBC’s Saturday Night” to avoid confusion with Cosell’s show (which, IIRC, only lasted one or two seasons).
To answer the OP’s question, I would rank Jack Buck right up there as one of the best. Too bad his kid didn’t learn anything from the old man.
Cosell was almost entirely before my time so I accept that correction. I don’t know many darts announcers but those quotes are great. I remember watching Wimbledon years ago when the announcer quoted A man’s reach must exceed his grasp/ Or what’s a heaven for?. Sure, a little pompous, but I still remember it. I think the modern equivalent is the month where every announcer tried to say “Boom goes the dynamite” after some student did. The announcer for my NBA team had a month where he was apparently.paid every time he used the word “onions”.
“Uecker.” I believe he’s retired. He was an exceptional announcer, though.
Bob Cole, who did Hockey Night in Canada for twenty or thirty years, was incredibly good at it… he is, to my ears, basically what hockey sounded like. He knew when to talk and when not to, knew just what to say, knew the flow of the game as well as any player, knew when you let the action and the crowd tell the story. He was perfect.
A radio play by play guy like Scully or Ueker is a completely different skill set than a tv announcer. Much more impressive to me. That’s why Scully to me is the best ever. For 67 years he was able to make a baseball game seem fresh and enjoyable. All the time with no dead air and no visuals to fall back on. And most of the time he did it solo.
Oh he’s good. Usually when I watch a game I barely pay attention to who the announcer is, unless Romo is on, because I know he’s going to make the experience better. He’s a natural. I think given time he might be one of the great ones, but he’s only been at it a short time.