We're on our quest to definitively name the greatest announcing call in the history of sports. We started with a list of 64 (the top 32 of which were seeded) that will be narrowed down to one at the end of the month that will earn the greatest of all-time title thanks to your votes. This week we will crown a winner. Today voting opens in the quarterfinals. Voting will end Wednesday at midnight. At that point we'll open voting in the semifinals with the final voting happening Friday through the weekend.
All four of our #1 seeds have made it to the Elite 8 round joined by two #2 seeds and two unseeded calls that have proven to be the Cinderellas of this dance. ESPN's Ian Darke has the distinction of being the only announcer to have multiple calls make it to the quarterfinals. Here's the full list of matchups below followed by the clips and polls after the jump...
Gowdy Bracket: 1) Miracle on Ice vs Abby Wambach saves the USA's life
McKay Bracket: 1) Jack Buck calls Kirk Gibson's home run vs Good ol' JR
Summerall Bracket: 1) Go Go USA vs 2) The band is on the field!
Allen Bracket: 1) The shot heard round the world vs 2) Down goes Frazier!
Time for you to decide who makes our Final Four in the Greatest Call Tournament...
Gowdy Bracket Final
1) "Do you believe in miracles?"
Al Michaels delivered one of the most iconic lines in sports at the 1980 Olympics as the USA Men's Hockey Team defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union in one of the greatest upsets ever seen. The call from Michaels lends its name to this iconic moment - the Miracle on Ice.
"Abby Wambach has saved the USA's life in this World Cup!"
The USA didn't win the 2011 Women's World Cup, losing in PKs to Japan in the Final. However, they did provide the Game of the Year and a moment that continues to live well beyond the life of the tournament. Abby Wambach's equalizer in the dying seconds of extra time called by the voice of American soccer - Ian Darke.
McKay Bracket Final
1) "I don't believe what I just saw!"
Kirk Gibson's home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series is such a famous moment it has the top two seeds in the McKay bracket, and with all-time great announcers like Jack Buck and Vin Scully it should be no surprise. Buck's call of the remarkable moment earned a 1 seed with one of the most famous lines in sports. "I don't believe what I just saw."
"As God is my witness, he is broken in half!"
Ok, so it's debatable whether or not a clip from "sports entertainment" belongs in our list. But is there any doubt that this call by Jim Ross is one of the Top 64 of all-time in various fields of athletic endeavor? Deadspin just commemorated the 15th anniversary of Mick Foley being tossed off the top of the cell by the Undertaker. And the call by good ol' J.R. has become its own internet meme played over dozens of highlight reel plays! How could it not be included in our tournament?
Summerall Bracket Final
1) "Go Go USA!"
Was it the moment that truly launched the sport of soccer into American mainstream culture? Only time will tell. But, Ian Darke's dramatic call of Landon Donovan's game-winning goal against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup certainly put the Brit on the American sporting map. Darke is currently ESPN's lead soccer commentator, but his lasting gift is this memorable moment of American sporting history.
2) "The band is out on the field!"
It's a play that's been seen so many times, it has come to be known simply as "The Play." Cal versus Stanford in 1982. On a miraculous, last-second return featuring laterals and an ill-timed marching band performance, the Bears upset John Elway and Stanford. But, would this play be as legendary without Joe Starkey's amazing call?
Allen Bracket Final
1) "The Giants win the pennant!"
The Shot Heard 'Round the World. Bobby Thompson's famous home run for the New York Giants off Ralph Branca of the Brooklyn Dodgers is the oldest call in our list from 1951. That fact though only confirms how Russ Hodges' call has stood the test of time. Such broadcasting legends as Ernie Harwell and Red Barber called that one game playoff for various media outlets. But, it's the sheer exuberance of Hodges that has been seared into history.
2) "Down goes Frazier!"
There is no more legendary name in broadcasting than Howard Cosell. And there's no more famous call in the history of boxing than George Foreman's domination of Heavyweight Champ Joe Frazier. You know, back when the Heavyweight Championship meant something and boxing was the sport of kings. Although Cosell's mere 3 words became famous, the entirety of his rabid call is something to behold.