The 8 Worst Sports Broadcasters Right Now (And 7 You Should Be Listening To)
Part I -- The Playa Haters Ball
Like Nails on a Chalkboard.
It’s finally the weekend. You busted your ass on the job all week and now you’re going to kick back, pop open a cold one, and watch the big game. But then it happens. That announce team is ‘doing’ the game and your day is ruined. Every sports fan knows what we’re talking about. With so much live sports coverage and all that on-air talent, announce teams can’t all be Keith Jackson and Mel Allen. Entire websites exist to track bad broadcasting. Shout out to the homies at Awful Announcing. In our pursuit to report on all things sports, we’ve developed our list of the 8 Worst Broadcasters On-Air and the 7 You Should Be Listening To.
Joe Buck & Troy Aikman
Who doesn’t hate Joe Buck? The son of legendary MLB and St. Louis Cardinals’ broadcaster Jack Buck, Joe is Fox Sports’ No. 1 play-by-play announcer for the World Series and NFL football. Facebook groups exist and even an Instagram profile (@joebucksucks) is solely dedicated to Buck’s ‘suckage.’ The main reason Buck is hated is he’s biased. You can’t sit through ten minutes of a game if Buck is calling a Cardinals game, but the bias even extends to other NL Central teams. Mashable wrote this year, “During the Chicago Cubs’ World Series run, fans thought Buck had a particular affinity for slugger Kyle Schwarber. So, someone decided to make them a wedding registry.”
Fans also target Buck because they feel he’s been handed opportunities because of his last name. Fox hired Buck when he was just 25, and he became the youngest World Series play-by-play broadcaster in history. Let’s face it, he’s not a great listen. Broadcasters are beloved for their ability to paint pictures with words and memorable catchphrases. Buck isn’t a great storyteller and doesn’t have a signature call. He’s boring.
Troy Aikman doesn’t help the call. Aikman’s bias for all things Cowboys and his own playing career are annoying. He does give informative insights into the game as a former quarterback, but can you inject some personality into your call? You’d think being surrounded by Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Jimmy Johnson, and Jerry Jones, some charisma would’ve rubbed off. Listening to Aikman is like watching paint dry.
at the top of a mountain of endless wonderful memories from last night’s epic Blazers/Warriors saga, is the constant stream of women, of all ages, coming up to Doris Burke and thanking her for empowering them in their lives, & how they all wanted to be her, pic.twitter.com/SM0ta4OSzq
— Bill Walton (@BillWalton) February 15, 2018
Bill Walton is arguably one of the best college big men of all-time and was it not for injury, he could’ve been one of the best centers in NBA history. However, as an ESPN commentator, Walton has diarrhea of the mouth. He wasn’t always such a blabbermouth. Walton grew up with a heavy stutter, so he rarely spoke in public at UCLA or as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Unfortunately for us, his stutter was corrected and Walton tries to make up for lost conversations at every broadcast. He rambles endlessly about irrelevant topics, constantly brings up the Grateful Dead, and when he does break down basketball, uses terms like axial tilt and makes animal noises.
But FTS’ worst Walton moment was during an NBA broadcast when he said (paraphrasing); It was better for a team to be behind at halftime rather than ahead. His reasoning was that the trailing team would be “more motivated” to win if they were losing going into the locker room. Pure genius Mr. Walton.
Sunday’s dramatic Super Bowl 52 between the Eagles and Patriots was from all accounts one for the history books. The NBC broadcast anchored by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth got good reviews, but what did it look like behind the scenes?
— Sportscaster Life (@sportscastlife) February 9, 2018
Cris Collinsworth is a victim of his success. After his playing career with the Cincinnati Bengals (Three-time Pro-Bowler), Cris moved to the broadcasting booth. He’s been a contributor to HBO’s Inside the NFL, The NFL on Fox, and now back to NBC Sports. Collinsworth has ascended to NBC’s premier sports broadcasting gig. Collinsworth is rarely memorable, except when his bias comes out. On Sunday Night Football, Collinsworth sacrifices actual play on the field to cover the national storylines of the week. His broadcasting ends up being soundbites rather than insightful analysis.
The Collinsworth hatred went into overdrive after the Eagles historic win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in February. Philly fans accused the broadcaster of rooting for another Patriots victory and ignoring the Eagles’ plays. The fans were so upset at Collinsworth calls (in particular the Zack Ertz and Corey Clemons TD receptions) they started a petition on Change.org to bar him from any future Eagles national telecasts. The petition has been signed by over 150,000 people at press time.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 9, 2017
There’s no doubt that Bob Costas has ascended to the heights of his industry. Bob was born in Queens, NY, so we have a soft spot for him. He’s a revered broadcaster for NBC Sports, whose hosted 12 Olympic Games, called virtually every sport in the world, and is one of baseball’s most enduring voices. But for all his acclaim, listening to Costas doing play-by-play is unpleasant.
His old-school approach to broadcasting and worship for the purity of baseball is irritating and condescending. Don’t get us wrong, we love the MLB, but we prefer a broadcaster who adds some personality to their calls. Now, granted–don’t go overboard (we’re looking at you John Sterling), but the play on the field doesn’t speak for itself anymore. Broadcasters need to be great storytellers as well as educated sports broadcasters.
We’d like to meet someone who calls themselves a Skip Bayless fan. The polarizing sportswriter, author, columnist, and commentator is on Fox Sports 1. Bayless’ career spans more than 40 years, first gaining notoriety as a columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Times Herald. Bayless is now a sports commentator initially on ESPN’s First Take and now on FS1’s Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe. Bayless is one of the loudest voices of the adversarial debate shows that dominate cable television.
So what makes Bayless so bad? Bayless’ opinionated columns were glorified hatchet jobs against the Cowboys. How else do you explain him lending credence to rumors that 3x Super Bowl-winning quarterback Troy Aikman was gay? Bayless’ style is to focus on provocative players and rip them apart. His opinions about LeBron James and Johnny Manziel seem more like hatred. Then there’s the over the top love for all things Tim Tebow. Bayless’ opinions for some reason are presented as fact. For instance, Bayless famously stated Robert Griffin III as a better quarterback than Andrew Luck. Skip, please learn that just because you have an opinion, doesn’t mean you are right.
— Tony Romo (@tonyromo) April 4, 2017
We may be an unabashed New York Giants fan with no love for Tony Romo, but with his move to the CBS Sports broadcast booth, Romo’s style is too much, too soon. He’s had absolutely zero broadcasting experience. Yes, the rules are different for ex-professional athletes, but come on, no time hosting a local Dallas radio show, no prior game or in-studio experience. That’s just dumb.
Romo’s lack of sports broadcasting happens all the time. He speaks over Jim Nantz’ play-by-play calls way too often. Tony deserves props for the innovative prediction of offensive plays before the ball is snapped (kinda of cool), but overall Romo comes off thirsty and anxious. Tony, heed some friendly advice, study some of the television greats and work on your chemistry with Mr. Nantz.
In the pantheon of sports highlights segments, it’s hard to compete with NBC Channel 4 (NYC) Len Berman’s Spanning the Globe, Marv Albert’s Albert Achievement Awards, Channel 7 Eyewitness News (NYC) Scott Clark’s Out of this World, SportsNation’s Jeers, but Shaqtin’ a Fool is amongst the greatest ever. It’s why we included it in our NBA coverage.
But for all the good of #ShaqtinAFool, Shaquille O’Neal is ‘TURRIBLE ‘ on the microphone. We ain’t talking about his rap skills (also bad), we’re talking about the Big Aristotle’s work on TNT’s Inside the NBA. The Hall of Fame center’s voice is too deep and he often mumbles. Most of the time, we can’t understand a word he’s saying and we understand Lil’ Wayne lyrics. Shaq, please enunciate! Don’t believe us, here’s comedian Jay Pharoah as Shaq on a classic sketch on SNL’s Weekend Update.
Did we miss a sports broadcaster? Do you disagree with our choices? Sound off on the comment board.
Also, Don’t miss Part II of The 8 Worst Sports Broadcasters Right Now (And 7 You Should Be Listening To) next week.