Who belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of sports announcers?

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I’m a writer by trade. I get paid to spin a yarn and tell you about all the happenings in the sports world.

A lot of members in the print profession like to point and snicker at our colleagues in the broadcast world. But even your friendly neighborhood sports writer likes a good play-by-play man.

The play-by-play person can make or break a sports broadcast. At different times of the event, the PxP talent must be able to describe what is taking place, entertain the viewers and have a delightful banter with his color commentator all while a producer is yelling not-so-nice things in his ear. (I promise you don’t want to put on those headsets).

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With all that said, what sports announcers stand above the rest as the cream of the crop?

Over the Independence Day weekend, I watched quite a bit of sports and pondered the question while enjoying the birthday of the greatest country in the world, along with a hotdog or two…or five.

In my opinion four men are above all others when it comes to telling the story behind what is happening on your TV screen.

First up is Vin Scully. Scully is the dean of sports broadcasters, having been a part of Dodger baseball games for over 60 years.

Scully’s smooth-as-silk delivery is as inviting as mama’s kitchen. The quick whips of sarcasm entertain the fans when the games get out of hand.

Even at 86 years old, Scully is still at the top of his game, and deserves to be the first placed among the sports announcing immortals.

The second I put on my list is veteran PxP man Al Michaels. Michaels served as the lead voice of Monday Night Football for nearly 20 years, and called what is perhaps the greatest moment in American sports.

Yep, Michaels is the voice behind “Do you believe miracles…YES!’

The final two announcers on my list probably won’t appear on many of yours, but I will explain my reasoning.

Soccer aficionado Ian Darke makes my list mostly because, to American viewers, he is soccer.

Darke began his career in the 1980s announcing soccer and boxing on BBC radio. He moved to television in 1992.

Darke joined ESPN for the 2010 World Cup, and while being new to the American audience, has captivated spectators.

Soccer is embarking on a meteoric rise in the country, and Darke’s signature English accent will be the melody as to which it dances.

Jim Ross rounds out my list of greatest announcers of all time.

Like most good Southern boys, I grew up watching professional wrestling. While it may not be a stick-and-ball sport, it is most definitely athletic. However, that is a debate for another time and place.

Ross has been a part of the broadcasting profession in 1982, and has been the voice of many iconic wrestling moments in the last three decades. He also served as the voice of the Atlanta Falcons on two different occasions.

Good Ol’ JR has an iconic way of broadcasting what he sees. His signature catch phrases, such as “business is about to pick up” and “tougher than a two-dollar steak” have become common vernacular in the sports world.

Say what you wish about what he called, but there is no denying that Ross’ voice is attached to just as many amazing moments as the other three.

Ryan McCollough is sports writer for The Messenger. He covers recreation, high school and Troy University athletics and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Alabama Sports Writes Association.