Sports commentators are a funny thing: they can make the game immensely more enjoyable, or they can make you want to mute the TV. There are those who simply call what they see, and those who can be more entertaining than what is actually happening on the field.
Over my many, many years of watching sports, there have been commentators who I will always remember. This is a tribute to those people — a Hall of Fame in honor of the men who bring sports to life every time they pick up a headset.
Note: these are in a particular order.
5. John Gruden
I used to hate Gruden, but somehow he has grown on me over my years of watching Monday Night Football. It's mostly because he absolutely cracks me up. He doesn't take what he does too seriously. In fact, whenever he calls a game, his tone suggests that he just can't believe he's getting paid to do this. John Gruden has always come off to me as a bit of a dork, and I love him for it.
4. Al Michaels
"Do you believe in miracles?"
Michaels is a legendary sports commentator, famous for calling the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" game between the United States and the Soviets.
*Bald eagle flies overhead*
He's still at it, calling the Monday Night Football games on TV, along with Chris Collinsworth. He's known for his ability to stay completely calm, even when there is complete pandemonium on the field. I guess when you've called the greatest game in sports history, nothing really surprises you anymore.
3. Mike Emrick
Mike Emrick is one of my favorite voices in sports, responsible for his colorful NHL hockey commentary for NBC. His iconic rasp and high energy make it impossible to not get excited when watching a game, even if you're not a hockey fan. If the name isn't ringing a bell, well, here you go:
2. Hawk Harrelson
This one is a bit controversial. Harrelson is the voice of Chicago, having called games for the White Sox for the past two and half decades. If you're a Sox fan, you love him; if you're a Cubs fan, he's the equivalent of hot candle wax being poured in your ear. I, for one, grew up with the White Sox, and there's no way I can't include him in this list.
"Stretch! You caaan PUTITONTHEBOOOOOOARD — heeYEEESSS!"
1. John Madden
Madden is the voice of my childhood. I miss him dearly, and I am always hoping that he will come out of retirement for just one more game. He defined football for me when I was a kid, whether I was watching it on TV or playing one of his video games. When a commentator just absolutely loves the game, it shows. With John Madden, you can tell that the man is obsessed with football, and it was contagious.