Last week, we shared with you our annual list of the Top 10 Announcing Gaffes of the year. This year, we thought it was only right to give a shout to our favorite clips and the best announcing moments of 2011. It was tough to whittle our list down to only ten, but these are the very best of the best in the year that was at Awful Announcing. The Top Ten features announcers from high schools to the minors to the pros and from America to Spain, England, and Italy. We hope you enjoy this list of classic clips as much as we do. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
10) Cricket Smash
Welsh cricket announcer Edward Bevan gets quite the scare as this smashing cricket hit smashes the window of the commentary box. The audio of Bevan bravely commentating his own life flashing before his eyes and the glass breaking is quite extraordinary.
This still unnamed Georgia high school football announcer was one of our favorite finds of the year for the simple way that he exuberantly screamed the word "touchdown" like the finest evangelist. (See, you can make religious jokes about football without mentioning Tim Tebow... oops)
Playoff implications like woah in Week 16. Over half of the Christmas Eve/Fourth Day of Hanakkuh games can affect the playoff picture in a big way. Depending on what happens on Saturday, the SNF game could also become mostly meaningless, as the Bears could be eliminated and the Packers could have first place in the NFC all wrapped up. The MNF game should be a real doozie, though, as the Falcons travel to Nawlins to play their heated rival Saints. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Your broadcast maps can be found here, via The 506.
Thursday, December 22
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts (NFLN 8:20PM) Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan
Saturday, December 24
New York Giants @ New York Jets (FOX 1PM) Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa St. Louis Rams @ Pittsburgh Steelers (FOX 1PM) Dick Stockton, John Lynch Arizona Cardinals @ Cincinnati Bengals (FOX 1PM) Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins (FOX 1PM) Chris Myers, Tim Ryan Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (FOX 1PM) Sam Rosen, Chad Pennington
Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills (CBS 1PM) Jim Nantz, Phil Simms Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (CBS 1PM) Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (CBS 1PM) Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (CBS 1PM) Spero Dedes, Rich Gannon Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (CBS 1PM) Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker
San Diego Chargers @ Detroit Lions (CBS 4PM) Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys (FOX 4:15PM) Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks (FOX 4:15PM) Ron Pitts, Charles Davis
Sunday, December 25 - Christmas Day
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (NBC 8:20PM) Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Monday, December 26
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (ESPN 8:30PM) Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski
Like a kid on Christmas morning, every year I wait with anticipation to see what the Associated Press has deemed as the Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year. Ok... so maybe that's overexaggerating a bit, but it's still fun to look back on the year as a whole to see what stories mattered in the world of the sports. You can check Matt's podcast with SI's Richard Deitsch discussing many of these stories. And, as with any year-end list, the 2011 selections by the AP have left plenty of room for debate. First, the Top 10 from the AP:
(1) Penn State (2) NFL/NBA Lockouts (3) Packers Win (4) Conference Realignment (5) Cardinals Win (6) Ohio State (7) Mavericks Win (8) Dan Wheldon Dies (9) Syracuse (10) Women's World Cup
Now, some analysis:
What The AP Got Right -Absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the AP got the #1 story of the year right, the Penn State scandal. Very rarely does a sports story grip the nation in the fashion of the horrible child abuse scandal at Penn State and the fall of the legendary Joe Paterno. The developments at Penn State didn't just lead the likes of ESPN and the blogosphere for weeks, it led the top of national news programs. Not only was the detail of the allegations on a disgusting and sensational level, but the coverup by people in power at Penn State directly led to the firing of the all-time winningest coach in college football history.
-The AP also got the 2nd story of the year correct, the ongoing labor drama in the NBA and NFL. The first half of the year, the sports media was paralyzed by the thought of missing a second of NFL action. And, perhaps in part due to the overload of lockout coverage and the mass hysteria missing games would cause, the NFL players and owners finally got a deal done. The NBA was not so fortunate with their lockout causing games to be missed, although the messiness of Godfather Stern versus the players is still making for endless fodder as we approach the Christmas Day opening of the season.
Stories Ranked Too Low -For a story that dominated much of the summer months, it was surprising to see the Mavericks NBA Title win rank only #7 on the AP's list. If nothing else, the Mavericks were only supporting characters to the real drama of the NBA Finals, the fact that they beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat. After the Decision Debacle of 2010, there was even more pressure on King James and the Heat to win the championship. The fact that they made it all the way to the NBA Finals, only to lose to a deserving Dirk Nowitzki, was certainly a bigger story than just the #7 spot. Then again, a LeBron James choke job in the playoffs isn't anything new.
-It may have been a token nod, but the Women's World Cup was one of the most dramatic sporting events of the 2011 calendar year. From the dramatic run of the U.S. Women's National Team, to the eventual champions Japan winning the tournament after the devastating earthquake in their country, the Women's World Cup showed this country will support soccer at the highest level, no matter the gender.
Stories Ranked Too High -As a bitter Bears and Cubs fan who lives in Columbus, OH... I'd like to argue with a straight face that the Packers Super Bowl win, the Cardinals World Series title, and the Ohio State scandal are overrated. Yes, 2011 wasn't the best year for yours truly as a sports fan. But, if I had to go with one that was really ranked too high, it would be the St. Louis Cardinals and their comeback World Series win. Yes, Game 6 was an epic comeback by the Cardinals, but it was also a spectacular failure by the Texas Rangers. Much like 2006, the Cardinals were once again a mediocre team who got hot at the right time. Heck, the Cardinals only had the 2nd best miracle comeback to even get in the postseason, ranking behind the Rays/Red Sox race. If anything, after seeing the San Fransisco Giants slotted in the same #5 position last year, it seems the AP just slid the generic World Series winner in the same spot. The AP also fails to mention Albert Pujols's money grab to leave the Cardinals for the Angels in free agency this month, a baseball story with perhaps even bigger ramifications.
Stories That Could Have Been Considered -Yes, the AP did a great job as usual with their year-end review. But, there were a couple of stories that were just as big that could have slotted in the Top 10. The dependancy on the leader remains constant in the lives of sports fans, but ESPN certainly shifted from reporting news to making news in 2011, and mostly for the wrong reasons. From the Longhorn Network and college realignment, to Craig James, to the #1 New York Times bestseller about the inside world of Bristol, ESPN found their motives in question by many in the sports media world. In fact, one could argue the #FreeBruce movement alone was one of the top sports stories of the year because it showed the blowback against ESPN's darker side from fans and bloggers.
-And last, but certainly not least... Tim Tebow. Whether you like him or not, or think the media has obsessed over Tebow with their coverage, there is no question Tebow has been the story of the NFL season. Let's just hope 2012 doesn't see the predictable overcorrection by the sports media that sees Tebow the quarterback, and the person, obliterated.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal just put together his 2012 sports media predictions and given his track record, access, and insight, it's definitely worth a read. Looking back, Ourand has a very respectable batting average despite the fact that some of the predictions are swinging for the fences rather than playing it safe.
A lot of the 2012 predictions are things I'd openly welcome, which got me thinking -- what would be on my sports media wish list for the new year? After some brainstorming, here is the first half of ten things I'd like to see happen in the coming year:
A Healthy Recovery And Return To Work For Steve Sabol
It's been a while since we've got an update on the health of Steve Sabol, as the NFL Films President has been very private about his battle with cancer. In August, it was a watershed moment as Steve introduced his also ailing father for his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. The impact of the Sabols and their legacy can be seen in this great video. In a nutshell, football wouldn't be America's most popular sport if not for their ahead-of-the-curve vision they've executed for nearly 50 years.
I've been trying to will good news from the silence surrounding Steve's time away. With that in mind, we'll lead off our 2012 wish list by wishing a healthy recovery and return to work for one of the most underrated people in sports media.
MLB Blows Up Their Truly Terrible Video Policy ...
After a bit of a hiatus, the AA Podcast is back! Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated is our guest on the newest edition to discuss the biggest sports and media stories of 2011. We examine the most impactful stories of the last year including the scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, TebowMania, Craig James, and much more. Richard also gives us his breakthrough announcer of 2011 and names to watch moving forward in 2012 as well as a bit of Rapid Fire on the most notable announcers in sports. All that and more on a jampacked AA podcast looking back on the year in sports for 2011.
Bill Conlin has been a sportswriter at the Philadelphia Daily News since 1965 and a beat writer for the Philadelphia Phillies since 1966. Earlier this year, Conlin was awarded the presitious J.G. Taylor Spink Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He was also a regular on ESPN's The Sports Reporters.
Conlin's 46 year career at the paper ended yesterday as he resigned immediately amidst four people raising allegations that Conlin sexually abused them in the 1970s. The story was broken first by the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Three women and a man say they were molested as children by Bill Conlin, a Hall of Fame baseball writer and Philadelphia Daily News columnist.
In vivid accounts, the four say Conlin groped and fondled them and touched their genitals in assaults in the 1970s, when they were ages 7 to 12.
"This is a tragedy," said Kelley Blanchet, a niece of Conlin's who said he molested her when she was a child. "People have kept his secret. It's not just the victims, it's the victims' families. There were so many people who knew about this and did nothing."
Conlin retired Tuesday from the Daily News, where he had worked for more than four decades.
Through his lawyer, George Bochetto, Conlin declined to comment.
The Inquirer reports further details from several sources about the alleged molestations and how the victims only began to speak about the events within the past few years. At the time, no charges were filed and the statute of limitations has long passed. Perhaps not surprisingly, this story is going public now due somewhat to the scandal at Penn State. More from the Inquirer:
Blanchet, now a prosecutor in Atlantic City, and the others said they were speaking out now because the alleged sexual assaults and cover-up at Pennsylvania State University brought back painful memories and reminded them of the secrecy that shrouded their own assaults.
They also said they wanted to bring attention to the shortcomings of the statute of limitations on sex crimes, which bars prosecution in their cases because their parents did not call police when the abuse occurred years ago. In several cases, the parents corroborated the accounts, and one - Conlin's brother-in-law - said the writer broke down in tears and insisted he had only touched the girl's leg.
It's another tragic story associated with the sports world. Who knows the true number of people that have suffered surrounding this developing story, again, because nobody spoke out to defend the allegedly abused children to the proper authorities. If there is any positive societal change to come out of the terrors that happened at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, it is a raised awareness of the horrible crime of child sex abuse. Expect to see many more stories like this come out in the coming months as victims continue to speak out.
Bidding is currently at $3,750 for the opportunity of a lifetime! The chance for you and your buddies to hang out with the mountain man, Bill Walton, at his house! The charity benefits a very worthy cause, the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Don't worry, you got time to pool your money together with your friends because there's just over 40 days left in bidding with the estimated value being $100,000 for the winning bid. That might seem like a lot, but if you're an avid reader of Awful Announcing, I think it's fair to assume that you are extremely successful with all your endeavors and you undoubtedly have the coin to drop on a lavish hangout session with Bill Walton.
The charity page is delightfully vague in what it is exactly you would do with Bill Walton. It really sounds like there is no set plan at all (which is fantastic) and I see no way that the night doesn't end with your group huddled around a fire discussing the art of how to make the perfect s'more, likely with some edibles, discussing the solar system and/or the greatness of Arvydas Sabonis.
SportsCenter anchor and ESPN Radio host Scott Van Pelt will make his debut on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight. It's a major crossover appearance for any television or radio sports personality to appear with Letterman as it signifies widespread appeal. Over the years, Van Pelt has slowly but surely broken out of the pack of the thousands of on air personalities at ESPN.
Van Pelt left Golf Channel for ESPN ten years ago and worked his way up to being arguably the number one anchor at the company. With his prominent SportsCenter role and national radio program, one could argue he's the closest thing ESPN has now to Dan Patrick. When ESPN struggled to fill the afternoon drive time slot, they tried out Mike Tirico and various co-hosts. Van Pelt once again emerged from the pack as the best option and Tirico & Van Pelt evolved into The Scott Van Pelt Show with Ryen Russillo alongside SVP.
As a SportsCenter anchor, Van Pelt separates himself from others at the network because he doesn't depend on schtick or catchphrases. He's also not afraid to editorialize and add his own thoughts to a story, which further distinguishes him from the cookie cutter anchors ESPN has drifted towards since the days of Patrick and Keith Olbermann. And, SVP is one of the few ESPN personalities that engages with bloggers and fans, especially on Twitter (check out his Twitter avatar). I asked Van Pelt this afternoon if he was anxious about his Letterman appearance and living up to the high standards of Michelle Beadle's memorable appearance...
My guess is Van Pelt won't be rocking any red dresses tonight though. In short, the Letterman appearance is well deserved for Van Pelt's decade of work in Bristol. Below is a video from ESPN's Front Row PR blog that features Beadle, Golic, and Greenberg giving SVP advice on going on the late night show. The highlight though? Definitely a random appearance by Tommy Smyth in the background. I was beginning to worry for his whereabouts...
A few days after the NFL renewed its broadcasting deals with NBC, the NFL announced today that they will for the first time ever be live streaming all of this season's playoff games on the web, including Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012. The streaming will also be available to Verizon smartphone users.
The games will be streamed online at NBCSports.com and NFL.com through SNF Extra, which features an HD broadcast, DVR-style controls, additional camera angles, in-game highlights, live statistics and interactive elements. [...]
NBC's streams on Sunday nights typically average 200,000-300,000 viewers, compared with 21 million for the telecasts. The network has seen no evidence it hurts the traditional broadcasts' healthy TV ratings. If anything, the extra options online may help keep fans glued to the games on their sets. [...]
“By adding multiple camera angles, HD-quality video, DVR controls along with social interactivity, our online streaming represents a compelling, second-screen experience that nicely complements NBC's on-air presentation.”
Smooooth, very very smooth stuff, very classy. Fans already tuning into telecasts are going to continue tuning in, but now they have multiple options of doing so. Schedules are all of a sudden a little more flexible. As for the fans who couldn't watch the games at all before, now you might be able to. It's science.
ALSO, gone are the days of risking soiled undies and/or serious bladder problems for fear of missing the next best commercial during the Super Bowl. Now you can just fire up the stream on your Verizon iPhones, iPads or laptops and take it with you. Stream while you stream! I look forward to hearing unfortunate stories of people accidentally dropping said devices in the toilet (but I don't wish that on anyone).
This may be the most robust week of Straight Outta Stockton nominees. A full 20 mindboggling quotes are here for your enjoyment this week. And surprisingly, none of them come from current Dickies leader Dick Stockton or Brian Billick. Can Jon Gruden, Chris Berman, or Joe Buck have a big week to begin a comeback? Here are your Week 15 nominees...
1) "That's not unlike last Sunday night when the Cowboys thought they had Dallas put away." - Mike Mayock (via bigddan11)
2) "Patriots secondary. Much improved. Didn't blow any coverages, no miscommunications, big balls...big thrown balls over their head...much improved day." - Rodney Harrison (via DevsFan30)
3) "Tebow was riding his running back for a long time" - Phil Simms (via nro1111)
4) "Who gets in your butt?" - Deion Sanders to Tony Romo (via thedudeinatl)
5) "It's chilly today in New York. But it is November -- I guess it should be." - Joe Buck (via sys)
6) "I think Michael Vick is starting to come" - Chris Berman on NFL Sunday Countdown (via nro1111)
7) "Joe Flacco is as mobile as any QB playing the game right now" - Cris Collinsworth (via several)
8) "The Ravens score a meaningless touchdown ... Well except to some friendly degenerates we know." - Al Michaels (via joelb811) obviously referring to his own betting habits.
9) "When he hits you, you stay hit." - Cris Collinsworth (via TUrugby)
10) "LOOK AT THIS CLOWN!!" - Thom Brennaman (via Packey) [VIDEO]
11) "He has this great thing called the beard." - Jon Gruden (via deadgeneration4)
12) "They'll go for it here on first down." - Joe Buck (via sctvman)
13)"This is incredible getoff, he's got freakish size ... He's eating Max Starks alive" - Jon Gruden (via RunGNC)
14) "The ball is out of bounds. Let's see who touched it last." - Marv Albert. Is this basketball? (via bmitchelf)
15) "If you Google a picture of toughness, you'll find a picture of Roethlisberger. He's barn strong." - Jon Gruden (via FlowyDNA) Barn. Strong.
16) "I say it every year: know what the NFL stands for? National Fake You Out League" - Tim Ryan (via JeremyShermak). YOU MEAN IT'S BEEN THE NFYOL ALL THIS TIME?!?!
17) "Brian Beluga down for the Packers" - Daryl Johnston (via psiegfried). I know Bulaga is big, but to call him a whale is just plain mean.
18) "Caleb Hanie working his magic as he always does." - Curt Menefee (via natedog2827)
19) "You've gotta love Steven Jackson. He is a professional football player." - Dan Dierdorf (via mattmiller56)
20) "I'm not a doctor I just play one on TV." - Rich Gannon (via ConnorKiesel). No, you don't.
Vote For Your Week 15 Dickies Nominees! (vote for up to five)
The winners will come Wednesday so make sure you vote early and often and check back for the full NFL Week 16 announcing sked later this week. Remember, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, the full slate of NFL games are played on Saturday.