If only to confirm the torture NFL fans are in store for with the upcoming season, FOX released their announcing lineup today for NFL on FOX coverage. And while the new pairings reflect some changes from last season, the alterations to the lineup look more like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic than actually beneficial change. After all, the top three announcing teams all remain untouched from last season while the rest of FOX's talent pool leaves a lot to be desired. Let's run down the announcing tandems and trios one-by-one and let you know our preliminary opinions on the potentially awful announcing we're in store for this year.
(1) Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver
-So, what else is new? The only difference between Joe Buck's baseball broadcasting and his football broadcasting is that he'll be a trending topic on Twitter on Sunday instead of Saturday. Let's at least hope Buck's mysterious voice ailment finally heals before the NFL starts, because the tempo and excitement of football will exacerbate the problem much more than baseball. As far as Aikman and Oliver...meh. Aikman can be insightful at times, while other times boring, especially when being dragged down by inane chatter with Buck. Oliver is the best sideline reporter FOX has to offer, which is by no means an accomplishment for Oliver.
(2) Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa
-Much like the #1 announcing team is all about displeasure with Joe Buck continuing as FOX's #1 in everything, the groaning of fans getting the B team of Albert, Johnston, and Siragusa will be largely directed at the Goose. As readers of AA will know, we're not big fans of Siragusa's on-field reporting/analysis/gasbaggery. Perhaps no announcer says less while speaking more than Siragusa, who's main goal seems to be to ruin the viewing experience for fans of both teams subjected to his "analysis". And while there's nothing terribly wrong with the team of Albert and Johnston, they'd be no better than 4th or 5th on the depth chart at CBS, yet they're #2 at FOX with the albatross of Siragusa hanging around their neck.
(3) Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, and Laura Okmin
-Another top 3 team, another mixed bag. In a very short time, Billick has proven to be one of the best game analysts in the NFL. Much like Jon Gruden, the qualities that made him an abrasive genius as a head coach have translated well to the broadcast booth with Billick's ability to read the game and relate what he's seeing to viewers at home. In fact, it's a surprise Billick hasn't been moved up already to join Buck and Aikman on the A team. Unforunately, Billick is hampered by working with Mr. Monotone, Thom Brennaman. Perhaps Brennaman wouldn't be so terrible if he didn't stick to canned storylines while sounding like someone quite familiar to AA's Twitter followers.