comments by Aaron Schatz
Welcome to the second half of the results from our fifth annual awards balloting. If you missed it, Doug Farrar went through the first half of the results last week, and this page has links to the awards results from previous seasons.
Which is your choice for Game of the Year in 2007? (New category)
|32.0% Week 9: Patriots 24, Colts 20
24.5% Week 13: Patriots 27, Ravens 24
17.1% NFC Championship:Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT)
7.7% Week 2: Browns 51, Bengals 45
|5.6% NFC Divisional Round: Giants 21, Cowboys 17
5.5% Week 12: Bears 37, Broncos 34 (OT)
4.2% Week 7: Titans 38, Texans 26
3.3% Week 10: Chargers 23, Colts 21
Hey, remember "The Game of the Century?" In the "comment box" at the end of the awards, a few people asked why we didn't include the Week 17 game between the Giants and Patriots. The FO staff picked plenty of Patriots or Giants games for this category, and I guess we just thought these other games were a little more memorable. Of course, if we had done this a week later, we would have included a Patriots-Giants game, because Super Bowl XLII was the real Game of the Year and one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever. The media still talks about the Super Bowl as if we should expect a blowout, but six of the past seven Super Bowls were close in the fourth quarter.
Which is the best announcing team in the NFL? (top eight listed) (Last year's winner: Madden/Michaels)
|25.8% John Madden and Al Michaels, NBC
22.3% Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Ron Jaworski, ESPN
8.0% Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS
8.0% Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker, CBS
7.4% Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network
7.4% Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, FOX
4.8% Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon, CBS
4.6% Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa, FOX
That's two straight years for NBC's Sunday Night team. They stay ahead of the Monday Night crew because, based on your comments, it looks like negative feelings about Tirico and Kornheiser do enough to cancel out all the Jaworski love. Buck and Aikman continue to plummet; they were first in 2005, and are now down to sixth. FO readers may not be the most accurate sample of standard viewers, but this is one group of fans who are clearly sick of Joe Buck.
The surprise this year is Jim Nantz and Phil Simms jumping up from eighth to third, which seems strange because I've seen a number of complaints about Simms in the discussion threads. (Don't worry, they also get plenty of votes for "worst team.") Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker are the highest of the low-profile teams for the second straight year. Perhaps CBS should think about moving these guys up the ladder of game assignments so more people can enjoy them?
Other than replacing Joe Theismann with Ron Jaworski, the biggest move of the year was FOX breaking up the Dick Stockton-Daryl Johnston team. They led all Sunday afternoon teams in votes for "best announcing team" last year, and hardly received any votes for "worst announcing team" during the first four years of our balloting.
I was surprised there weren't more votes for Ron Pitts and Tony Boselli, but I guess most of you just don't get to see them, because unlike me you aren't filling holes in game charting by watching lots of Arizona and Atlanta games. Boselli is a clichÃ© machine before things get going, but after kickoff the guy is really, really good.
Once again, we added a space for readers to tell us what they like best about these teams. Here's a sampling of comments.
John Madden and Al Michaels
- Unlike the rest, Madden and Michaels each provide their stamp on the game without stepping all over each other for soundbites.
- Madden actually breaks down the plays and tries to tell me things I don't know.
- Michaels is, hands down, the best play-by-play man in history, and Madden, for all his faults, is good at explaining elementary concepts to the "non-football fan."
- Insightful commentary, no mention of celebrities, and very few clichÃ©s. Plus, Madden has great stories.
- John Madden is just hilarious and Al Michaels is really, really tiny.
Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Ron Jaworski
- Tirico does a passable job with play-by-play, Jaworski's analysis is great, and I even like Kornheiser's humor. Next year, ditch the interviews, please!
- Jaworski's knowledge is unsurpassed. Kornheiser is actually very good in this role: he provides some perspective, and knows how to ask good questions. He tees up Jaworski well. Tirico is serviceable as a play-by-play man.
- Jaworski has more insightful comments than the rest of the color commentators combined.
Most of the comments on this team just said "Jaws" or "Jaworski" without further explanation. (No further explanation needed, right?)
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
- Nantz does efficient play-by-play with few errors, Simms does a good job concisely breaking down why certain decisions are made. They don't have much tolerance for the navel-gazing a lot of other announcing teams take part in when they run out of material.
- Everyone has flaws, but these guys have been around a long time, don't say too many stupid things, and are at least likable.
- Insightful at times, and understated.
- While Simms is often an egregious blockhead, he occasionally does find interesting things to say, and Nantz is by far the best play-by-play man on the list; Michaels has lost a step and Joe Buck is simply intolerable.
Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker
- Gus Johnson could make a snail race exciting.
- Gus Johnson alone is enough. That's it. He could be selling me drapes on QVC and I'd be enthralled.
- Gus Johnson is the one announcer who actually increases the adrenaline rush an NFL game provides simply by his presence. He made the "search for the 50-yard line" in the Cleveland-Buffalo game an exciting event.
- Gus is a fan and it shows in his broadcasts. Tasker is just spot on with his analysis. They also do a better job with the lower tier games then the upper end teams do with the major games.
Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth
- As I said last year, it seems like a conversation between the two people. I think Gumbel helps more than he hurts, and Collinsworth is allowed to actually analyze and even criticize his bosses if he chooses.
- Collinsworth is willing to point out changes in formation and personnel as part of adjustments, and he does a pretty good job explaining what happened on the play. Regarding Gumbel, his miscues are always good for some cheap laughs, and he is willing to admit his shortcomings, which I didn't expect from a TV celebrity.
- Cris Collinsworth often says things that increase my understanding of the game. The dulcet tones of Bryant Gumbel's voice allow me to occasionally ignore what he says.
- Collinsworth provides real-time, thoughtful analysis that no one else (unfortunately, Jaws included) even approaches. Bryant Gumbel sucks.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
- I like Troy Aikman as an analyst. I like his insight, and I like his lack of fluff.
- Aikman is the best out there. He's so good he makes up for how bad Buck can be.
- I enjoy Troy Aikman's breakdowns of pass defense and offense, and Joe Buck has a good sense of the moment. Plus, he is one of the few people on earth who understood the brilliance of Freddie Mitchell.
Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon
- Harlan's play-by-play is generally exciting, and Gannon usually gives actual insights on things that happen, instead of brainless gushing.
- They call formations and particularly substitutions much more regularly than others.
- I don't feel the need to stab myself in the ear with a power tool when Rich Gannon is talking about football.
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa
- Albert is unobnoxious, Moose occasionally knows what he's watching and Siragusa occasionally gives you something different from the sideline, although it usually descends into fat jokes pretty quickly.
- Against all odds, I actually kind of like Tony Siragusa.
- They actually offer enlightening commentary as to what is happening on the field. Also, I have to say that it is Johnston and Siragusa who make this team work. I actually liked this group better last year when they had Dick Stockton doing the play-by-play.
Who wins the Three Stooges Award for worst announcing team in the NFL? (top eight listed) (Last year's winner: Tirico/Korenheiser/Theismann)
|26.1% Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network
13.7% Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS
13.5% Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, FOX
13.3% Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Ron Jaworski, ESPN
7.5% Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa, FOX
5.6% Al Michaels and John Madden, NBC
5.4% Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, CBS
3.5% Dick Enberg and Randy Cross, CBS
I happen to like Bryant Gumbel's more laid-back approach to the game, but seriously, dude, learn the names of the players. Al Gore does not play football, and Rick Romo doesn't even exist. I think next year we may separate the play-by-play guys from the color analysts; given the results of a later question, I don't think a lot of people have a big problem with Cris Collinsworth. I understand that brother Greg isn't moving down from the second spot in the CBS lineup, but I would love to see CBS make Rich Gannon his new partner, and then move Johnson and Tasker up to the third spot, past Enberg and Cross.
Who is the best pregame personality? (top ten listed) (Last year's winner: Ron Jaworski)
|22.5% Cris Collinsworth, NBC
8.8% Bill Parcells, ESPN
8.6% Tom Jackson, ESPN
7.6% Kenny Mayne, ESPN
5.5% Steve Young, ESPN
|5.3% Howie Long, FOX
4.9% Terry Bradshaw, FOX
4.7% Marshall Faulk, NFL Network
4.7% Deion Sanders, NFL Network
3.7% Frank Caliendo, FOX
See what I mean when I say that the problem with the NFL Network's broadcast team does not seem to be Cris Collinsworth?
Who is the worst pregame personality? (top ten listed) (Last year's winner: Michael Irvin)
|28.7% Emmitt Smith, ESPN
19.4% Shannon Sharpe, CBS
7.6% Deion Sanders, NFL Network
7.4% Tiki Barber, NBC
5.2% Terry Bradshaw, FOX
|5.2% Frank Caliendo, FOX
4.7% Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN
2.9% Peter King, NBC
2.3% Barry Switzer, FOX
2.3% Boomer Esiason, CBS
Emmitt Smith is the greatest malaprop machine since Norm Crosby, and everything Shannon Sharpe says sounds like "garble garble hrkgskhsdgskdghghgth." I'm not sure why people have a problem with Sanders. Now that Sanders has grown up and matured, his "Prime Time" machine is built to promote the game itself rather than his own ego, and the guy knows his football. (Anyone who watched the "Dick Vermeil loses his voice" game in 2006 knows that the Dr. Z column which slagged Sanders and Marshall Faulk was just plain ludicrous.) Barber is just inoffensive and vanilla, but he really seems to be mailing it in on Sunday nights, doing what NBC wants in the hope that they'll eventually let him do straight news.
Who is the best pregame host? (Last year's winner: James Brown)
|39.5% James Brown, CBS
19.8% Rich Eisen, NFL Network
17.8% Chris Berman, ESPN
15.1% Bob Costas, NBC
|3.9% Sal Paolantonio, ESPN
2.9% Curt Menefee, FOX
1.0% Stuart Scott, ESPN
James Brown widens his lead. Rich Eisen is a consummate professional. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Chris Berman's schtick still works when it is being done by Chris Berman and not another ESPN anchor who thinks he's Chris Berman. Oh, and yes, I totally forgot Keith Olbermann in this category. Or the personality category. Either way, I forgot him. Sorry about that, Olbermanniacs.
Who is the worst pregame host? (Last year's winner: Joe Buck)
|38.1% Stuart Scott, ESPN
22.3% Chris Berman, ESPN
13.6% Curt Menefee, FOX
9.9% Sal Paolantonio, ESPN
|9.5% Bob Costas, NBC
3.9% Rich Eisen, NFL Network
2.7% James Brown, CBS
Dear Stuart Scott. Please feel free to continue your medical leave indefinitely. Love, the readers of Football Outsiders.
Last year's winners for best and worst commercial were memorable enough that, from this point forward, we've actually named our awards after them.
The "Get Your Story Straight" Award for best commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
|24.4% Mastercard "Peyton Manning Priceless Pep Talks"
18.6% Southwest Airlines "Guy throws game controller through TV"
17.9% Nike "Shawne Merriman/Steven Jackson"
13.5% NFL Network "Joe's Diner"
10.9% Bud Light "Dude"
7.9% Toyota "World of Warcraft"
4.5% Old Spice "Softball Slide"
2.3% Miller Lite "More Taste League"
What an upset! Pretty much the whole FO staff was in awe of the Shawne Merriman/Steven Jackson ad. I guess good humor trumps amazing cinematography.
The "John Mellencamp Must Die" Award for most annoying commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
|26.3% Viva Viagra!
13.3% Dr. Pepper "Fat lineman dances after touchdown"
13.1% Coors Light ruins Dennis Green press conference
7.9% Macintosh iPod ruins Feist's "1-2-3-4"
7.3% Sprint "Manning's Mind"
6.9% Heineken "Techno Keg Chick"
6.8% Cadillac "In Today's Luxury Game"
5.6% Miller Lite "More Taste League"
5.3% Bud Light "Dude"
4.3% Macintosh iPod "Music is my Boyfriend"
3.2% Mastercard "Peyton Manning Priceless Pep Talks"
I'm not sure why "Viva Viagra" was chosen as the worst ad, since it was so true to life. I mean, don't many of the football fans you know spend their free time sitting around an old barbeque joint, singing about how they can't get erections?
What is your favorite team-specific website or blog? (top nine listed) (Last year's winner: Reiss's Pieces)
Jacksonville Jaguars official site
Heels, Sox, and Steelers
|Big Blue Interactive
Blogging the Boys
Philadelphia Eagles official site
With so many blogs getting one vote, there's no point in listing percentages here. Once again this year, I forgot to say "independent website" in the question, so I decided to just say "screw it" and list the top sites receiving votes, even official team websites. A lot of people consider Jaguars.com the best and most independent team website, but I was surprised at the votes for the Philadelphia Eagles' official site.
I know John Morgan likes to link to us and use FO stats a lot, and he shows up in the comment threads, but still, I was a little shocked at the number of votes for Field Gulls.
With Mike Sando gone for ESPN.com, the Tacome News-Tribune Seahawks Blog dropped from second in 2006 to a tie for tenth in 2007. Also tied for tenth: 18to88.com, Extreme Skins, Packers News, Pewter Report, The 700 Level, and Two Bills Drive.
Bias admission: Heels, Sox, and Steelers is run by our very own Ryan Wilson, and Bill Barnwell has done a weekly column for Patriots Daily for two years now.
Which local NFL writer do you feel deserves a more national profile? (Last year's winners: Mike Reiss and Mike Sando)
And, lo and behold, one of last year's winners got that national profile.
The winners in this category get even fewer votes than the winners in the previous category, but Mike Reiss (still with the Boston Globe) got more than twice as many votes as anyone else. If history is a guide, one of the big national websites should be scooping up Reiss soon, just like they scooped up Sando a year ago and Tom Curran the year before that. In second place is Vic Ketchman from the Jaguars' official site, but I don't think I would consider him a "local writer," as he is technically an employee of the team. Getting at least four votes:
- Albert Breer, Dallas Morning News
- Mike Carlson, NFLUK.com
- Matt Maiocco, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Getting at least three votes:
- Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News
- Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star
- Jason LaCanfora, Washington Post
- Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
The funniest thing to happen during the 2007 NFL season was: (Last year's winner: Dennis Green post-MNF press conference)
|22.4% Punt sticks in ground during Steelers-Dolphins "Mud Bowl"
18.3% Brian Billick blows a kiss to Rodney Harrison
18.2% Phil Dawson's double-boink field goal against Baltimore
17.4% Josh Brown's geeked-up celebration after tackling Devin Hester
14.7% Jimmy Kimmel's "Where's Joe?" routine on Monday Night Football
9.0% Chad Johnson's aborted Lambeau Leap
As they say around the Internet, that Steelers-Dolphins game was "teh awesome."
Finally, for the third straight year, we asked readers about their favorite team. Here's a look at the top 15 teams, along with rank last year in the top 15.
|Favorite Team of FO Readers, End of 2007 Season|
Hmmm. I know winning teams attract more fans, but that's a bit ridiculous. What's strange is that over three years of asking this question, the percentage of Patriots fans on the site has gone from 11.4 percent to 6.5 percent to 15.6 percent. Were all the New England-based readers just asleep during last year's balloting? Anyway, we're tired of writing about this, but the whole "Patriots bias" thing really has more to do with the readers than it does with the writers. (In fact, when it comes to either stats or teams in general, a lot of statements that "FO said X" should really be "FO readers said X.") Otherwise, we continue to be popular in Pennsylvania, the Pacific Northwest, and that area that WGN viewers know so well, "Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana." On second thought, make that all of Indiana.
For the third straight year, the team supported by the fewest FO readers (well, the fewest award-voting FO readers) is Arizona. And hey, Jets fans, wake up and represent. The Giants fans are kicking your ass.
Thanks to everyone for participating in the awards again this year. Each year we get more votes than the year before, a nice sign of our growing readership.