Don’t go Out of Bounds


As this blog has alluded to previously, the jobs of play-by-play announcer and analyst are essential to the success of a broadcast team. Yet, as much as the two roles have to work together in order to create cohesion, they entail drastically different responsibilities.

The cardinal rule for a play-by-play man/woman is to never get in the analyst’s way. 99.9% of the time, an analyst is a well-spoken person who played the sport he/she is watching and therefore is qualified to explain what is unfolding to viewers/listeners. On the contrary, it is very rare to find a play-by-play person who has played the sport he/she is covering. Thus, the main job of play-by-play people is to describe what they are seeing in the game, give viewers/listeners an idea of basic information they need to know (down and distance in football, balls, strikes, outs and runners on in baseball, etc.) and then get out of the way and allow the analyst to shine. As simple as this process may seem, it is truly a complex art form that doesn’t get appreciated nearly as often as it should.

You may think I’m coming from a biased position here, and in some ways I probably am. But, I have seen so many bad broadcast teams in my years of observing sports media that I will quickly rise to the defense of any team that has proven it can function well together and enhance the broadcasting experience for viewers and listeners. For many years, Pat Summerall (the gold standard for football play-by-play) and John Madden (the comical, yet brilliant analyst who appealed to so many) showed off the strengths of their working relationship to millions of people week in and week out. Coincidentally, Summerall was actually a former kicker for the New York Giants, while Madden was a legendary head coach for the Oakland Raiders. Here are some samples of their work. Just sit back and enjoy…




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s