First, a little on how they arrived at that conclusion ...
Their study involved tape work of two games apiece for each of the 16 NFL announcing crews, and really, their criteria was more geared toward finding the least-bad announcer. They counted the number of fouls by each play-by-play man and color analyst for the following six categories during their broadcasts: clichés, factual errors, nonsense, self-references, plays off and off topic.
Buck scored the least bad among the play-by-play guys. The least-bad color commentator was NFL Network's Mike Mayock (who also works for NBC).
As for the worst individuals, those honors went to Fox's Chris Myers (play by play) and CBS's Dan Dierdorf (color), who has decided to retire following the end of the season. (Nothing like going out with some fresh hardware for the mantle.)
The best least-bad booth was, surprisingly, Fox's Dick Stockton and Ronde Barber. The worst booth combo was Myers and Tim Ryan, who finished second to Dierdorf for SOE-graded "infractions."
That's their take. Ours, in response to their study, is a mix of surprise in some cases, dead-on agreement in others.
A few opinions on the matter, stream-of-consciousness style:
• In no study of announcers anywhere should Phil Simms be rated as the seventh-worst anything. You're selling him short, guys.
• Buck is a lightning rod — fans either love him, or hate him. There tends to be a baseball fan (love)/football fans (hate) split with Buck, with little middle ground. At worst, he's functional and rarely missteps badly compared to other announcers. At best, he carries a strong opinion in the booth, and while it often grates viewers, it's frankly something other play-by-play guys leave to their partners too often.
• But Buck's partner, Troy Aikman, as SOE points out, just isn't the same. Honest to goodness, he used to be better. Aikman had some strong words Sunday for the Cowboys' struggles, but it was more of a death rattle than a clarion call for a somewhat fading star's light.
• Barber might be properly placed on a least-bad list, and he has been surprisingly fluid and sharp on the mic (way more than his twin, in fact), but Stockton has lost his fastball. Classic voice, but not the same flamethrower.
• Tony Siragusa is the worst. Sorry, but it's true. He offers nothing and, one could argue, is stealing a paycheck.
• The Kevin Burkhart/John Lynch duo is a comer. Unless Lynch takes a front-office job before then. He's sharp.
• Heath Evans has a little snap, too. He's pretty natural. Once he gets more comfortable and experienced, he could become one of the league's most controversial and talented color analysts.
• Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker are fine, but just fine at best, and their broadcasts are a little too CSPAN-ish for my taste. I need more.
Who are the best and worst NFL announcers? Be sure to comment below in our fan forums.
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