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Ranking The Top Television Play-By-Play Sports Broadcasters

Mike Emrick
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If you are a sports fan, television now is like radio was in the 1950′s and 1960′s.  It’s your #1 source for listening to games and because of its medium, watching games.  And like the 50′s and 60′s, we are in a golden era of play-by-play sportscasters.  Here are my Top 5 television play-by-play sports broadcasters right now:

  1. Mike “Doc” Emrick.  This guy is so on the hockey puck it is incredible.  Every play is exciting with “Doc.”  Emrick knows the game inside and out, uses key words at key times and can make a boring play look good.  He also doesn’t try to do too much, which is key in television, because viewers see what you are calling.  That is textbook Pat Summerall.  Be loud and obvious without being loud and obvious.  Plus, hockey is the toughest of the sports to call.  Emrick is a pro on NBC on NHL coverage.
  2. Mike Tirico.  From Onondaga Community College to Syracuse University and WTVH Channel 5 to ESPN.  And now at ESPN, the best the station has.  As the play-by-play for Monday Night Football, the sports channel’s #1 program, and also the caller of NBA regular season and playoffs, The Masters, Big 10 basketball and The British Open, Tirico mixes a blend of knowledge, passion, excitement, organization and calm play-calling that is unmatched in the business.
  3. Jim Nantz.  He calls the Final Four and the Masters and the Super Bowl.  Hello friends, any questions?
  4. Kevin Harlan.  Harlan dazzles on Sunday for NFL on CBS and on NBA coverage on TNT.  He has an explosive delivery that makes you jump out of your seat.  Every play is bigger when he calls it.  A dunk, a long touchdown throw, it doesn’t matter.  ”With no regard for human life!”
  5. Al Michaels.  More than 30 years after his “Do you believe in miracles?” call, Michaels still gets it done.  He makes you feel comfortable while watching a game.  Michaels’ professionalism and appeal are a terrific tandem.

Honorable mention:  Vin Scully (#1 still in radio but does limited television), Bob Costas, Gus Johnson, Brent Musburger, Dan Shulman, Sean McDonough, Verne Lundquist.

By:  Mike Lindsley, “Mid-Day with Mike, 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.  

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