There are a few columns that I eagerly anticipate on a yearly basis and Dr. Z's Ranking of NFL Announcers is one of them. I share his disdain for the trend in announcing to hype the stars as opposed to actually analyzing what goes on on the field. That trend makes the whole enterprise of watching games seem cheap and manipulative, as if the game is being brought to me to convince me to by some hideous wall mural of Ray Lewis as opposed to simply enjoying a football game. On the other hand, Dr. Z bases his rankings in large part on whether announcers make his task of charting games easier and that doesn't really resonate with me since I'm not taking notes after every play. I don't really care whether Michaels and Madden keep calling the plays accurately when the Raves are beating the Packers 34-3 in the fourth quarter because no one in their right mind is watching at that time, except for Ravens fans who are enjoying more points than their team typically scores in a month and Packers fans whose dominatrix dates haven't yet shown up. That said, it does annoy me when announcers get spots or personnel wrong and there's nothing more annoying than finding out after a big play that there was a flag down. I shudder to think what Dr. Z would do with a game called by Keith Jackson.
The only real disappointment from the article is that Dr. Z doesn't annihilate the universally hated ESPN Sunday Night crew as he usually does. Sure, he gave them zero stars as usual, but this was his last chance to stick the knife in and Dr. Z, unlike a lot of writers, can actually turn a phrase well. It's mystifying to me that Theismann is actually being promoted to Monday Night Football next year, since I don't know of a single football fan who doesn't loathe him. Then again, ESPN is making that decision and one of the things we've learned this year, with a high degree of mathematical certainty, is that ESPN has replaced Nazi Germany as the most evil entity in recorded human history. (Where would I be without hyperbole?)