2021 NFL the season is over with Los Angeles Rams taking home the Lombardi Trophy, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in the LVI Super Cup. It was a great year of football, and another best year in the world of football broadcasting. Broadcast quality has never been superior in the NFL, and every network boasts a tent that combines with a large bench of talented secondary teams.
Before we look forward to big changes on the horizon in sports media (from Elle Michaels to Amazon?), Let’s take a look at the 2021 season and identify the seven best broadcast booths for the NFL season.
Johnson and the Taliban debuted in 2021 in a pair of speakers, and they were an absolute blast. Johnson’s simple presence causes chaos on the field, and listening to him call each shot is a bit of an emotion, no matter how important. Akib Talib, winner of The Big Lead 2021 Sports Media Newcomer Award, brought a new voice to the broadcast of the game, which we rarely hear, and FOX has benefited greatly. Combining him with Johnson proved to be a brilliant step; every game with these two on the bell was filled with creative angles and random ridiculous moments that elicit laughter.
The Johnson-Taliban booth is optional for everyone. The emotional highs and lows that Johnson has gone through in 60 minutes, combined with the Taliban’s time-ridiculous comments, create a different viewing experience unique to the broadcasting industry. We believe this is ahead of most of their colleagues. It’s just a pity we didn’t listen to them anymore; Johnson and the Talib have named just a few games for FOX in 2021. Hopefully this will change in 2022.
For the second year of their partnership, the trio of Levi, Rydzik and Griz have united into a complete and high-quality broadcast booth for the four-liter network. As Levy described The Big Lead during the season, chemistry, built in 2020, has helped everyone sound much smoother and more natural in 2021, which is necessary for a three-voice stand. In the end it was more important than anyone expected as this year’s plan Football on Monday night the games ended up taking crazy turns at every opportunity. This booth has coped with its task.
There is still room for improvement. Riddick and Grizzly can still step on each other’s fingers from time to time, and in general the broadcast tends to try to involve complex information between games (satisfying the football inattentive, confusing everyone else). But even with all the talk of ManningCast, the vast majority of viewers watched Levi, Riddick and Grizzly every Monday night. ESPN has found a good formula for its broadcast.
Kevin Harlan is one of the best players in the business, and his combination with Trent Green got even better in the second season. The fact that CBS is supposedly the third team is much better than this rating. The combination has already become a favorite thanks to their growing chemistry.
Now Green has become a veteran of broadcasting after he began working as a color analyst in 2009, and his development over the years has been particularly evident this season. With Harlan’s always phenomenal work and Green’s analysis, it’s a great combination that continues to improve.
Nantes and Roma were the standard for all NFL broadcast teams just two seasons ago, but this season the duo broke away a bit. It wasn’t Nanz’s fault, whose game after game was as smooth as ever. No, it was Roma who seemed to be less prepared this season, and for most of the games he seemed to inspire him, drawing on his deep knowledge of the game – rather than training – to carry it.
Undoubtedly, Roma have talent, but the novelty of his predictions of games on the field has disappeared. One of the most notable characteristics of Roma is how exciting he is in the booth. While it can be attractive, it can also be worn on broadcasts at important moments. He also shone on social media during the AFC Championship game his mistake is “let them kill”.. All in all, it wasn’t the best year for Roma to restrain this duo.
Nantes and Roma may be the face of NFL CBS coverage, but this year Eagle and Davis were the best pair as a team № 2. As mentioned above, when Roma and Nantes are in their game, no other broadcast booth can compete. But when they are disconnected – and this year they are disconnected quite regularly – the quality of the call drops rapidly. Eagle and Davis may not be able to reach the peaks of their counterparts in this regard, but they are not able to reach the same lows, so they are above number 1 in their own network in this ranking.
Eagle and Davis are consistent. They hit their targets. They provide information accurately when relevant, accurate and concise. They have enough company to have fun when the game is slow, and enough chemistry to make it feel natural. Eagle invariably approaches the event at key moments, while Davis does the same to create great challenges. If Nanz and Roma are a pair of “gain or fall”, then Eagle and Davis – a stable couple that moves steadily at a high level of performance. Consistency is important in this industry, and in 2021 Eagle and Davis are to be commended for it.
As we noted at our Sports Media Awards 2021, Joe Buck is the gold standard for gaming work. He gets huge assignments, but is still severely underestimated. Some viewers can’t stand it, but we don’t know why. He is as good as they are. His dry sense of humor permeates every broadcast and perhaps most importantly, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Troy Aikman is a regular analyst who plays well with Buck. For a long time the paired duo held together perfectly, and this season shone again.
What made this duo especially hilarious this year is that Aikman for some reason took off his gloves closer to the end of the season. He half-jokingly complained that he had to call the Bucs-Eagles explosion instead of the Cowboys-Niners on Wild Card Weekend. He may have had the best challenge in the playoffs when at the end of the NFCCG he said, “I’m afraid it must be Jimmy Garapalo who will do it.” A year passed, and Aikman’s criticism suddenly became much sharper and, above all, more accurate. We don’t know why, but we’re excited about it. In 2021, the Bak-Aikman booth reached another level.
Probably in the last year of their life together, Michaels and Collinsworth ruled. Although the Super Bowl LVI was not their best performance at the booth, the full season of work gave us the best of the two and reminded everyone why they have long been considered the best in business. Michaels showed that he has not lost a step, despite the fact that he was approaching 80 years old, while Collinsworth was inclined to what made him a great color commentator and a target that can be mocked on social networks. Like Eagle and Davis, it’s an extremely consistent booth that brings great comments to the table every week – but Michaels and Collinsworth, with all their industry experience and sitting with each other, are just better.
There is something to be said for consistency and familiarity. Michaels and Collinsworth have been together for ten years, and it shows. They know each other so well, and it’s noticeable on the broadcasts. They rarely step on each other and play as an experienced couple. Because they are. Michaels and Collinsworth are the standard for the broadcast booth in terms of sustainability and stability, a platonic ideal for the long-term partnership that all networks want to have.
Ranking of the seven best NBL broadcast booths of the 2021 season
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