Some former NFL players gathered at NFL Films this week to participate in the broadcast boot camp as they transition from the gridiron to life in the booth. They were able to learn some valuable skills that hopefully will lead them to long, fruitful careers calling the action on the field.
With that in mind, here are the six greatest announcer calls in NFL history.
And without further ado ...
Dishonorable mention: Joe Buck's call of David Tyree's catch
You know which call won't make this cut? This call from Joe Buck on David Tyree's Super Bowl XLII catch. Buck always seems to call games like he's some disinterested person at a game, being forced to describe the action. Which he is. So listen, newbies: Don't be like Joe Buck. (Compare Buck with Victor Rojas on the call for Mike Trout's incredible catch. See, Rojas reacted like somebody who just saw an amazing play. That's the kind of call Tyree deserved.) They should teach this in journalism school for what not to do. That, along with a companion course of why nepotism is bad.
6. Dick Enberg on "The Fumble"
Enberg might be the greatest announcer of all time. No lie. He has an understated way of capturing the emotion of the moment but still allowing the action on the field to tell the story. Vin Scully (who called "The Catch" on TV) also does a great job of this. And I have to believe this is what Buck is trying to do, but he can't quite match the aplomb of Enberg. Oh my!
5. Jack Fleming on The Immaculate Reception
You have to love calls where the announcer seems to be caught off-guard. This unbelievable play had all of this, as Franco Harris caught the ball off a carom and raced all the way to the end zone to knock off the Oakland Raiders. Fleming seems to be just as dazed as the viewer as to what exactly just happened.
4. Gus Johnson on Chris Johnson
Let's be honest, we could have done a whole list of Gus' greatest calls (and I just might at some point). Gus would make a trip to the Souplantation seem exciting, like it's the biggest event in the world (it gives you chills to think just how great he would be calling a Super Bowl). This is the best call he ever did, even though he had to apologize for the "getting-away-from-the-cops speed" remark. But rest assured, Gus. You don't need to apologize for entertaining us.
3. Gabriel Trujillo in the Cardinals' upset
Love the enthusiasm here! Obvious comparisons will be made to Gus Johnson and Andres Cantor, which seems natural because of Trujillo's touchdown call. My Spanish might be a little rusty here, but I believe he includes a shot at Tony Romo in the heat of the moment (but probably not). If Buck ever has to call a Cardinals game, I'd happily switch over to listen to Gabriel. Here's another great call.
2. Bill King on "The Holy Roller"
Listen to the whole thing. The call on the play is wonderful, and another great example of an announcer being able to capture the disbelief of what's happening. But what really sells this video is the aftermath, especially King telling John Madden to get his big butt out of there! King says this play would be remembered forever, and he's absolutely right. (Also note how great the ending is because there is no 10-minute delay for the referee to disappear with his head underneath the hood, only to return to say, "Yeah, inconclusive.")
1. Paul Allen on the end of the Vikings' season
The desperation in Allen's voice is so evident when the clip first starts (along with the color commentator imploring the Vikings defenders to get back into the end zone). Seriously, when this clip arrived in-house, you could hear people playing it over and over again. It's that good. A truly painstaking moment for the Vikings (and a true delight for Packers fans). Noooooooooooo!