The 2013 NFL Game Broadcast Guide

By
Richard Deitsch
· More from Richard·

It’s a simple question with a complex answer. What makes a successful NFL game broadcast?

“I think a successful game broadcast is one where everyone is working in concert together to tell a story,” says CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz, the network’s lead NFL play-by-play voice since 2004. “It is an effort of about 250 strong for our crew, and everybody has an important part to play to make sure the story is told accurately. The art of it, when you boil it down, is storytelling, and not just anecdotal stuff. It’s about why a play did or did not work, or why a player or coach made that decision. It’s storytelling whether from a play-by-play man or analyst, or the producer having the right sequence of replays, or the director visually showing you what happened.”

The voices that bring you NFL football are an important part of your NFL experience. Last week this column brought you the 2013 NFL Studio Show Guide. Below, we’ll outline the key broadcast players in the first-ever The MMQB NFL Game Broadcast Guide:

CBS

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Broadcast Teams

1. Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (analyst).
2. Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (analyst).
3. Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (analyst).
4. Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Rich Gannon (analyst).
5. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Solomon Wilcots (analyst).
6. Bill Macatee (play-by-play) and Steve Tasker (analyst).
7. Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and Steve Beuerlein (analyst).

What’s New

The Studio Show Guide

Everything you need to know about where, when and how to get your football analysis on TV this season.

• CBS has a new graphics package including new animations and insert graphics. “For the insert graphics we put an emphasis on toning down the architecture and making the fonts more easy to read for the viewer,” says CBS spokesperson Jen Sabatelle. “We’ve added more team colors to the graphics package so the viewer can easily associate a stat with a team.”

• Nothing changes with the broadcast teams. The lineup is the same as last year.

• Possible ratings trouble. A subpar Jets team in the nation’s biggest television mark could impact CBS’ overall viewership this year.

Best Games

Bengals at Bears (Sept. 8, 1 p.m.); Broncos at Giants (Sept. 15, 4:25 p.m.); Texans at Ravens (Sept. 22, 1 p.m.); Colts at Niners (Sept. 22; 4:25 p.m.); Steelers at Vikings (Sept. 29, 1 p.m.); Patriots at Bengals (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.); Broncos at Cowboys (Oct. 6, 4:25 p.m.); Ravens at Steelers (Oct. 20, 4:25 p.m.); Steelers at Patriots (Nov. 3, 4:25 p.m.); Bengals at Ravens (Nov. 10, 1 p.m.); Broncos at Chargers (Nov. 10, 4:25 p.m.); Ravens at Bears (Nov. 17, 1 p.m.); Browns at Bengals (Nov. 17, 1 p.m.); Broncos at Chiefs (Dec. 1, 1 p.m.); Patriots at Texans (Dec. 1, 4:25 p.m.); Colts at Bengals (Dec. 8, 1 p.m.); Broncos at Texans (Dec. 22, 1 p.m.); Steelers at Packers (Dec. 22, 4:25 p.m.); Ravens at Bengals (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.).

The MMQB television schedule rating: No. 4 of the five networks.

Quotable

“The zone read is the modern-day version of the quarterback keeper. In other words, fake right, keep left, and keep the ball. Well, that was too slow because NFL defenses got too fast. This is just a modern-day version. I know a lot of teams are going to open it up and try to do more with it, but I have to see it to believe it because as last year went on, I saw more and more teams and defenses react to it much, much better and not only stop it but destroy it.”—Simms, on the zone read-option.

FOX

Troy Aikman and Joe Buck.
Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. (Matthew Emmons/US Presswire)

Broadcast Teams

1. Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (analyst) and Pam Oliver (reporter).
2. Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Tony Siragusa (reporter).
3. Thom Brennaman (play-by-play), Brian Billick (analyst) and Laura Okmin (reporter).
4. Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play), John Lynch (analyst) and Erin Andrews (reporter).
5. Chris Myers (play-by-play), Tim Ryan (analyst) and Jennifer Hale (reporter).
6. Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Ronde Barber (analyst) and Kris Budden (reporter).
7. Sam Rosen (play-by-play), Heath Evans (analyst), and Molly McGrath (reporter).

What’s New

• FOX Sports executives private admit they had depth issues last year in the NFL broadcast group, so they reshaped a number of teams. The new trio of Burkhardt, Lynch (who moves from a team with Stockton) and Andrews is expected to get some big games.

More Mediaville

Kevin Burkhardt’s path from selling cars to calling the NFL on FOX is a remarkable tale of modern perseverance.

• Sideline reporter Hale moves from the Stockton-Lynch team to the Myers-Ryan pairing (which remains the same from last year). McGrath, a former Celtics sideline reporter, makes her sideline debut with Rosen and Evans. Budden is also new to FOX’s broadcast lineup.

• Barber (who also appears on FOX Football Daily) makes his game broadcast debut with longtime announcer Stockton.

• Ron Pitts was not brought back as a play-by-play announcer.

• Aikman said because FOX will air the Super Bowl XLVIII this season on Feb. 2, 2014, his preparation will include more AFC teams than usual.

Best Games

Falcons at Saints (Sept. 8, 1 p.m.); Packers at Niners (Sept. 8, 4:25 p.m.); Redskins at Packers (Sept. 15, 1 p.m.); Packers at Bengals (Sept. 22, 1 p.m.); Bears at Lions (Sept. 29, 1 p.m.); Seahawks at Texans (Sept. 29, 1 p.m.); Eagles at Broncos (Sept, 29, 4:25 p.m.); Saints at Bears (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.); Lions at Packers (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.); Seahawks at Colts (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.); Eagles at Giants (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.); Packers at Ravens (Oct. 13, 1 p.m.); Saints at Patriots (Oct. 13, 4:25 p.m.); Cowboys at Eagles (Oct. 20, 1 p.m.); Bears at Redskins (Oct. 20, 1 p.m.); Cowboys at Lions (Oct. 27, 1 p.m.); Giants at Eagles (Oct. 27, 1 p.m.); Redskins at Broncos (Oct. 27, 4:25 p.m.); Vikings at Cowboys (Nov. 3, 1 p.m.); Seahawks at Falcons (Nov. 10, 1 p.m.); Eagles at Packers (Nov. 10; 1 p.m.); Panthers at Niners (Nov. 10, 4:25 p.m.); Redskins at Eagles (Nov. 17, 1 p.m.); Niners at Saints (Nov. 17, 4:25 p.m.); Vikings at Seahawks (Nov. 17, 4:25 p.m.); Packers at Lions (Nov. 28, 12:30 p.m.); Bears at Vikings (Dec. 1, 1 p.m.); Vikings at Ravens (Dec. 8, 1 p.m.); Panthers at Saints (Dec. 8, 1:00 p.m.); Seahawks at Niners (Dec. 8, 4:25 p.m.); Redskins at Falcons (Dec. 15, 1 p.m.); Seahawks at Giants (Dec. 15, 1 p.m.); Packers at Cowboys (Dec. 15, 4:25 p.m.); Saints at Panthers (Dec. 22, 1 p.m.); Vikings at Bengals (Dec. 22, 1 p.m.); Bears at Eagles (Dec. 22, 1 p.m.); Cowboys at Redskins (Dec. 22, 1 p.m.); Panthers at Falcons (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.); Packers at Bears (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.); Eagles at Cowboys (Dec 29, 1 p.m.); Lions at Vikings (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.); Redskins at Giants (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.).

The MMQB television schedule rating: No. 2 of the five networks.

Quotable

“There is more excitement for us when we kick off the year knowing we will see it all the way through to the game in New York. It adds an element of excitement for the whole network and it does for Joe (Buck) and I. It’s a historic game to be played in an outdoor, historic cold weather city. It will be unlike anything we have seen before. Whether that is good or bad, everyone has an opinion of that, playing in the cold. I think it will be awesome and I am looking forward to it.”—Aikman, on getting this year’s Super Bowl call.

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14 comments
SpenserDukeBlevins
SpenserDukeBlevins

FOX should re-rank their 1-5 teams. Aikman-Buck is migraine inducing, when their local I turn the channel to CBS or in rare occasion Bengals on FOZ I mute it and listen to the radio while watching.

bhayes420
bhayes420

I wish ESPN would dump Mike Tirico.  I can't stand to listen to the guy prattle on and on and on.  Gruden has gotten better.  Still not good, but better.  And don't mention ESPN's stable of games.  Their schedule sucks for the most part.  If they weren't on Monday night, I couldn't stand to watch!

Redskinsbaby
Redskinsbaby

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BTB117
BTB117

Rich- Thanks for posting this! I care way more about the games than the pregame shows so thanks! I always like comparing CBS and FOX because they have more games obviously. I feel that CBS has the better PBP's but FOX has the better analysts. Neither group is very deep. I know blasphemy but Jim Nantz is not a #1 football broadcaster. He is the best golf announcer in the country, bar none but he is not very exciting, he does not bring the big game atmosphere and it hurts him that Phil Simms is so terrible. Ones and twos FOX handles CBS easily but 3-7 go to CBS. Steve Tasker being on the sixth team is ridiculous. Clearly CBS's best analyst, he should at least be at 2, 3 or 4.

BillieBob
BillieBob

Ninety percent of these broadcasts consists of sycophantic announcers breathlessly ballwashing whatever team or player happens to be playing well that minute.  They're like 13 year-old girls at a Bieber concert.

Ray1950
Ray1950

What IS that on Simms' face?  It looks like he was smeared with Vaseline before the photo was taken.

TheQuintessential
TheQuintessential

I dont know why people continue to  accept  the mediocrity of Fox productions..  Bad commentary aside, graphics are poor and the picture is not as crisp as the other stations even though its HD. On a sunday if you flip between the channels you will see a stark difference ,its night and day..Its actually depressing

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

also you have to feel for the guys on nfl network as the games are usually dogs becuase of the short weeks and they tend to be very low scoring, although the saints and falcons will likely be there best game this year

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

nbc's schedule also like last year may not use the flex option as most of the games they have from week 10 to week 16 are pretty good and we know the one game they get is for the last playoff spot and i think it will either be an afc west or more then likely again an nfc east game that includes that team in dallas

Alex11
Alex11

Can't last five minutes without muting Dierdorf. Guy provides commentary like a bull in a china shop. Just shut up, Dan.

Flanders5600
Flanders5600

Eagle and Fouts should be bumped up to the #2 team.   Not sure how Dierdorf gets by every year without little criticism.  He is one of the worst "analysts" in TV.

richarddeitsch
richarddeitsch moderator

@Flanders5600 I'd go one further: Eagle and Fouts are worthy of a No. 1 slot at a network. It won't happen but they are an excellent listen.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@Flanders5600 I kind of agree with you that Ian and Fouts should be moved up because whenever you get there games and where i live Ian and Dan are usually on the Broncos games and I think the reason why Ian is so good as this guy does it all nfl, nba and later in the year has such a busy schedule with nba and nfl, that the guy racks up frequent flyer miles, and i think dan was also good in the MNF booth when he was there but he was kind of overshadowed by Dennis Miller, but you look at the one season that it was al dan and dennis they had some great finsihes, anyone remember the Vikings Packers where Greg Jennings makes that incredible game winning touchdown catch, where pretty much everyone including the guys in the booth had turned away as they saw the ball go near the ground and assumed it would be incomplete and it was a catch.  I believe also in week 2 was the bomb from Farve to driver, which i cheered as well as i was down 6 in a game on fox sports and ended up wining by like 8 as it ended up being an 80 yard td and i had both farve and driver on my team

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