The Fantastic Four from NFL TV

So last week I wrote an article for this website talking about who my favorite NFL announcers were on the radio.

I focused on the LOCAL level and talked about my “fantastic four” home team announcers.

This week I wanted to shift my focus to the NATIONAL level and talk about who I think the NFL announcers are on TV.

Courtesy: Sports News

As well paid as these gigs are, being on TV announcing the NFL always seemed like a thankless job. When it comes to said announcers, fans divide them into one of two categories:

“Never heard of them” or “I hate them so much that I mute my television”.

I remember one Sunday at the Maguire household when Joe Buck had the unfortunate assignment of calling the Lions Packers game that week. Several Brett Favre touchdowns and less than half the football later, my father grabbed the remote, hit the mute button, and turned on the Lions home team broadcast on the local radio.

After throwing a great flurry of expletives at Buck and the executives who decided to hire him at FOX, he made it very clear that he didn’t “put his lips on Brett Favres” (I think you know) Buck for three hours where I’m going).

This was my discovery of a belief in my father that any national announcer calling a Lions game OPENLY ROOTS against them. That belief is maintained to this day, and that is why there are radios in specific locations around every television in my parents’ house.

In truth, no announcer has ever spoken out against the Lions. The team was just plain stupid … and my Pops needed someone to let out their anger.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that this phenomenon isn’t unique to my household. When I was watching games with friends or colleagues, I found that many of them were doing the same thing for the same reason.

There are some amazingly talented play-by-play and color commentators out there who name NFL games on TV. Some are better than others, but I’ve never heard anyone openly stand up for one or the other team.

So, in part as a mea culpa for all of the unnecessary abuse some NFL TV announcers in my household (and apparently many others) have suffered, I wanted to highlight my “awesome four”.


I think Harlan is one of the most fun and versatile announcers in our industry. He has an amazing gift for making even the most mundane moments in a game electric. Many of his NBA and NCAA basketball calls are legendary.

But he REALLY shines in the NFL.

I mean, who else can make the call of a speedster running in the field sound SO good? (Yes, I know that was on the radio, not on TV, but this call shows his talent and will NEVER get old).

What strikes me most about Harlan is that the focus is always on the game, not on yourself. As over the top as it is, he never pretends to be trying to go viral. He just does it. He’s amazingly humble. I know that while I was in Kansas City (where he lives) I had many conversations with Harlan. He’s a big name, but surprisingly approachable and always ready to talk shop.


Like Harlan, Eagle is as versatile an announcer as you can find. He has had a storied career in NBA and NCAA basketball, boxing, tennis, and college football. He’s also been a steady voice on CBS’s NFL coverage for decades.

What impresses me most about him is that he knows how to be exciting without looking over the top. Think of Gus Johnson … but with a governor.

Making your calls stand out without sounding cheesy and artificial is a challenge. Eagle has succeeded time and again in the course of its career.

His call to the Miami Miracle in 2018 remains one of my favorite TV calls lately.


Romo ranks firmly in the love him or hate him category when it comes to NFL announcers.

Put me in the former.

Sure, CBS paid him a king’s ransom for naming games with Jim Nantz (reported $ 17 million per season). And yes, he does have some silly moments that make you wonder where the hell he’s from.

But man … he stands out.

In a world where NFL game analysts are generally forgotten, Romo offers an amazing balance of entertainment and insight that is very rare. From his uncanny ability to diagnose games to his unbridled excitement at key moments, Romo is a great watch.

Anyone who feels different probably needs to get lighter.


Can he come across as complacent? Secure. Maybe a little arrogant? Once in a while.

Who cares?

In my opinion, there is no better match analyst in football than Collinsworth.

There’s a reason he’s called so many prime-time games in his career. The guy explains exactly what’s going on, DOES NOT draw punches and does not play favorites. He will tell you how he feels, just stop. I have always appreciated his openness, even if I disagreed with it.

Let’s face it, he said what we all thought when Malcolm Butler defeated Russell Wilson in Super Bowl XLIX.

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