Al Michaels at The NHL100 Gala at Microsoft Theater in 2017

Al Michaels at The NHL100 Gala at Microsoft Theater in 2017 (Photo by Joe Seer on Shutterstock)

Watching professional football is one of America’s favorite pastimes that inspires passionate fandom. Each year, the NFL breaks TV record ratings, with television and radio announcers being integral to this success. There are and have been many greats. Let’s take a look at the best NFL announcers of all time. We are sure you have heard of one or all of them!

If you are a die-hard football fan, watching college football every Saturday and NFL games every Sunday afternoon is an absolute must. And while throwing back some cold ones to wash down a plate of spicy chicken wings goes hand in hand with football, many fans are keenly aware that this simply isn’t good for their bellies. In a new poll of 2,000 American men over age 30, more than one-third (37%) would give up football games or other sporting events for two months if it meant they could sport a six-pack or a flat stomach. In all, 39 percent say their belly is the top physical attribute they’d change about themselves. Of course, football season makes it quite hard for gridiron-loving dudes to get rid of the stomach flab. Thirty-seven percent say they usually gain weight from September to January, with 53 percent claiming they gain 10 pounds or more. 

Instead of ditching NFL games completely, maybe you could slowly detach by cheering on the new hometown heroes. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably heard the term during a game. Although big-money sports franchises usually bring in big-time free agents to help them win, a new study finds their fans would rather root for the local kid. Researchers at the University of Kansas find sports fans prefer homegrown champions to titles that feel “bought.” When it comes to building a championship-caliber pro sports team, there are two main schools of thought. Many organizations opt for the homegrown approach of drafting and developing their own players. The clubs then go into a “rebuilding” phase, starting the process all over again once those players inevitably become too expensive to keep. Other franchises are more aggressive with their money, forking over tens of millions of dollars for the hottest stars. In many cases, it’s the high-spending teams that win more championships. 

Whether you have a “hometown hero” or a favorite college football team, you have most likely heard of at least one of the following announcers. StudyFinds did some digging, consulting 10 sports and football-oriented websites to bring you the best NFL announcers of all time. Did we miss one of your favorites? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!  

red, white, and blue NFL area rug
NFL logo (Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash)

The List: Best NFL Announcers, According to Experts

1. Al Michaels

Al Michaels started his career at NBC Sports in 2006. He has the record of being the announcer with the most play-by-play broadcasts in television history. “Michaels did his first Super Bowl play-by-play calling for NBC 2009 to broadcast the match between Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals. Michaels later called the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and NY Giants. It was the first bowl played at Indiana State. His program in the XLVI also got viewed by 111.3 million viewers, and the game made the record for the most tweets during the sports event with 13 million tweets,” informs The Football USA.

In May 2022, Michaels officially declared his departure from NBC Sports but still bonded with the network, continuing his title. For his career in the sports network, he has received eight Emmy Awards. “Perhaps best known for his ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ call when the USA upset Russia in hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics, Michaels steadied the ship on Monday Night Football after the Cosell era, then teamed with Madden and later Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football for NBC starting in 2009,” says USA Today.

Michaels has broadcast seven Super Bowls, spent decades as the voice of Monday Night Football, and sat alongside some of the best color analysts ever. “I tab Michaels as the greatest of all time because he perfectly knows how to talk to his audience. Michaels somehow (not always, but most of the time) picks the right places to drop in a joke with Cris Collinsworth, or John Madden, or Frank Gifford. Drop in a reference to Bart Starr or Earl Campbell. Drop in a ‘HE DID WHAT!’ following Antonio Freeman’s wacky grab that rainy night in Green Bay,” shares Bleacher Report

2. Curt Gowdy

Curt Gowdy was the Boston Red Sox voice for years and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s wing for broadcasters, but he was one of the first truly great voices of professional football as well. “Gowdy did the first Super Bowl, was the voice of Joe Namath’s historic upset two years later, and broadcast the infamous ‘Heidi Game.’ He also narrated several of the greatest playoff games of the 1970s, including the Immaculate Reception, the Sea of Hands, and easily the greatest Super Bowl of its era, the Steelers-Cowboys classic in January 1979,” informs Bleacher Report.

ABC wanted to hire Gowdy as the original voice of Monday Night Football, but NBC wouldn’t let him out of his contract. “A versatile announcer nicknamed the Cowboy who started as Mel Allen’s partner on Yankees radio broadcasts, Gowdy was one of the original voices of the AFL on ABC when the league started in 1960. He moved on to NBC in 1965 and was in the booth for some of the most memorable games in pro football history. He called the first Super Bowl for NBC; the ‘Heidi’ game in 1968; Joe Namath’s guarantee in Super Bowl III; and the Immaculate Reception. His final Super Bowl broadcast came when Pittsburgh beat Dallas for the title following the 1978 season before he was traded to CBS to create an opening for Enberg to become the lead voice of the NFL on NBC. Gowdy had few catchphrases but was known for colorful descriptions,” boasts Santa Ynez Valley News.

Gowdy appears in 23 different Halls of Fame. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. No wonder he is on the list of the best NFL announcers of all time. “The Basketball Hall’s media award is named after Gowdy. He was the broadcaster of everything, calling 13 World Series and 16 All-Star games in baseball. Gowdy broadcast nine Super Bowls and 24 Final Fours. Add in 14 Rose Bowls and eight Olympic games to that already great resume,” informs Barrett Sports Media.   

3. Dick Enberg

Dick Enberg joined NBC Sports in 1975 and dedicated 25 years to the network. “In his early years, Dick covered various sports, but in 1979, Dick became the play-by-play announcer for the NFL on NBC in 1979. He came to the position when Curt Gowdy left for CBS. Endberg got to call eight super bowls in his show. His last announcer appearance came in the 1998 Super Bowl XXXII where he called the play between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers,” says The Football USA.

Fun fact, Dick Enberg called one of the greatest NFL matches of all time known as “The Epic in Miami” in January 1981 between the Dolphins and San Diego Chargers. “Enberg was one of those broadcasters that was always smooth and well-polished. There was a uniqueness to his delivery and voice. There was something poetic about his phrasing, but man, could he call a game. From the landmark games like the Super Bowl to the ordinary regional game, they were always treated like the former. He was nicknamed The Professor, and listening/watching one of his games was like a history lesson indeed,” informs Barrett Sports Media.

As if his resume wasn’t large enough, Enberg also had the honor of announcing the 1987 playoff between the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos, a match that went down in history as “The Fumble.” “Enberg was the master craftsman of words, indicative of his teaching background and higher education. He called ten Super Bowls but also was legendary for announcing NCAA men’s basketball games with Al McGuire and Billy Packer, and before that was the famed announcer during UCLA’s basketball championship run under John Wooden. He won 13 Sports Emmys and was given the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Rozelle Award in 1999. He is the only person to win an Emmy as a sportscaster, a writer, and a producer,” explains USA Today.

4. Pat Summerall

Voted the best play-by-play announcer, the late, great Pat Summerall is said to make or break an NFL telecast. “It’s not just about having great pipes like a Verne Lundquist or Keith Jackson. They have to know when to frame the moment with a comment that will be remembered for years. And when to shut the hell up and let the action and emotion speak for itself,” boasts Sporting News.

Summerall started doing NFL games for CBS in 1962 after retiring from a nine-year NFL career as a kicker for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants. “Pat became network sports’ play-by-play voice of the NFL, first with analyst, close friend, and former defensive back Tom Brookshier and then most famously with John Madden for 22 seasons, on CBS and then on Fox. He called a record 16 Super Bowls on TV, was named the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio and Television Award winner in 1994, and was CBS’ lead announcer on its PGA Tour coverage,” shares USA Today.

Summerall was the perfect yin to Madden’s bombastic yang. The two were the best-announcing team in the history of any sport. “Other than John Facenda with NFL Films, there is no voice in history more synonymous with NFL football than Pat Summerall. The booming seriousness of his voice was expertly softened by the tiniest hint of twang. He made every game sound like the biggest game of the year, and his partnership with John Madden elevated the two far above the rest of their contemporaries,” says Bleacher Report.

5. Jack Buck

Aside from football announcing, Jack Buck famously called MLB games on CBS for their television and radio broadcasts for over two decades. “Jack Buck announced NFL games as a play-by-play announcer for CBS on TV and the radio. On a local level, Buck was a long-time radio and TV play-by-play announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals,” shares WSOU.

As a former co-announcer, Jack’s son Joe honored his late father by saying his signature phrase, “We’ll see you tomorrow night,” at the end of game six when David Freese hit a walk-off home run. “Best known for his work in baseball calling St. Louis Cardinals games, Buck also had a big impact in football. He called the 1962 AFL title game that went double overtime, and was one of the top announcers at CBS for more than a decade, calling the Ice Bowl, and the 1970 Super Bowl. He also was a staple on radio, calling 17 Super Bowls for CBS radio as well as Monday Night Football games for many years. Buck’s son, Joe, also went on to have a successful announcing career and has called six Super Bowls as the lead play-by-play man at Fox,” says Santa Ynez Valley News.

Buck’s legacy lives on through his son, Joe. The time he worked with Tim McCarver at CBS will be remembered as one of the greatest announcing teams in MLB history. “Consider it a bang for your Buck. The pun is totally intended. And we’re talking about the first of two Buck family members to leave — or are currently leaving — their mark on the NFL broadcast world. A 1996 recipient of the Rozelle Award, Jack Buck might be best remembered as the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team…However, one can argue that he was equally as great calling NFL games, which he started in 1964 for CBS (after providing AFL play-by-play with ABC),” explains Yardbarker.

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1 Comment

  1. darlene keola says:

    Other than al Michaels John Madden definitely in top 5