By Douglas Smith @DFresh39 on July 19, 2014
The best play-by-play announcers of 2014 come from all sports. Some specialize in one area while others show their talents in various sports. There are some of the veterans that seem to get better with age. There are a couple still emerging in a profession that has limited turnover. Let's see who is No. 1.
Nessler can be heard on college football and basketball broadcasts on ESPN. He also does Thursday night football, but may be known by some as the voice of EA Sports NCAA Football. He began as a radio announcer in 1980 and has gradually progressed through the ranks. There are times that he is outshone by his ESPN partner, Todd Blackledge.
Strader is the No. 2 announcer on the NHL on NBC coming from the AHL in 1979. He started with ESPN in 1996 on their hockey telecasts after the untimely death of Tom Mees. He employs a subtle build-up during the action on the ice but explodes when the puck hits the net.
Kuiper has player experience in the big leagues and called the World Series title in 2010 for the San Francisco Giants. He also called Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012. Kuiper also has video-game announcing under his belt. He is known as a good human and Joe Posnaski wrote a story at the beginning of this year about Kuiper being his hero for NBC Sports.
Thorne is a name that is widely known. He has settled in as the play-by-play guy for the Baltimore Orioles. The former lawyer is well known to hockey fans for his time with ESPN and ABC. Thorne reprized that role at a Minnesota high school in February. His reviews among Orioles fans are constantly high. He also had some dust ups with Bobby Valentine and Curt Shilling. That may just show how much of an impact he has as an announcer.
Eagle joined CBS in 1998 and has shown an ability to adapt to all sports. He has announced NCAA Basketball, tennis, golf, and NCAA Track. He is most notable for his work on the NFL and continues to bring up his partner Dan Fouts. He is a graduate of the esteemed broadcast program at Syracuse University.
Michaels will be on this list every year until he decides to retire. While many of his associates have fallen off or retired, he continues to move ahead. His three hours on television each week is one of the most polished around the sports world.
Burkhardt is the unknown announcer on the list. He was with the Mets before moving to FOX full time this season as a baseball contributor. He already does NFL broadcasts and is expected to add college basketball to his resume. He earned a nod in the NFL divisional playoffs last year after starting as one of the lower pairings. His rise in the broadcasting world has been fast for the industry. It was a decade ago when Burkhardt was selling cars.
Harlan is the son of a former Green Bay Packers executive, but he has paved his own road. He is known for his work with TNT on NBA broadcasts. However, his time with Dial Global Sports, formerly Westwood One, made him the fourth announcer to broadcast a Super Bowl and a Final Four in the same season.
Albert has removed himself from controversy and continues to be a great voice to hear on NBA broadcasts. He went from being visibly nervous after his sex scandal to being the top choice for networks. He has calls that are almost iconic with kids on the playground shouting "and the foul." Scandal aside, Albert knows what he is doing behind the mic.
Cuthbert has been the voice of hockey on TSN and had a memorable call in the Olympics when Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal. He will now do CFL broadcasts with the hockey contract moving to another network. He has also been employed by CBC and NBC. He has won two Gemini Awards for Best Announcer.
Breen works for the Knicks on MSG broadcasts but is known as the main announcers for the NBA on ABC. He is very smooth and moderates his color commentators with class. Breen has a solid tone that hits the big moments well with a touch of humor. A good example of his performance would be Jeremy Lin's 25-point game on February 4, 2012.
Fans of the NHL may get tired of his "drive" exclamation when a player slams one toward the net. However, his knowledge of the game is extensive and he articulates the most stressful moments with ease. He called a bubble hockey game for EA Sports in June to show his playful personality. NESN said that Emrick came up with 50 variations for the word 'pass' in game two of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
Lundquist is a 50-year veteran of the business. Among the sports he has called are volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, weightlifting, skiing, archery and horse racing. He is best known as the voice of the SEC on CBS. There are times when he stumbles over his word but never states the obvious. His "Yes, Sir!" call in the 1986 Masters when Jack Nicklaus sank a putt may still be his most memorable call.
Scully doesn't travel to east coast trips anymore but fans will tune into a game just to hear him. His legacy may make him the best announcer of all time once his career is done. In this current year he is still great with the game. He has been steady for years and his "wherever you may be" phrase is never duplicated. He is all-knowing but doesn't ever come off as arrogant, and never has.
Hicks is a surprise No. 1 call with so many all-time greats on the list. Hicks just left the NBC golf team with FOX taking over the contract. He called the change a kick to the stomach, showing that he has a connection more than just calling the strokes. Hannah Storm's husband has made his own path in broadcasting. His calls of Notre Dame football last year in his first year at the helm were refreshing.
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