Football announcing is an art form in itself, as the commentators have the power to make or break the game for the viewers. Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments in football announcing history, from the best and most exhilarating calls to the worst and most cringe-worthy mistakes.
One of the best calls in football announcing history has to be Joe Starkey’s iconic “The band is on the field!” call during the 1982 game between the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. With four seconds remaining in the game, Cal pulled off a miracle play that saw the ball being lateraled multiple times before Kevin Moen crashed into the end zone, taking down a trombone player in the process. Starkey’s enthusiastic and incredulous call perfectly captured the sheer chaos and excitement of the moment, making it one of the most memorable calls in football history.
Another great moment in football announcing occurred during Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, when Larry Fitzgerald scored a touchdown for the Arizona Cardinals with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Al Michaels delivered a perfectly timed and impassioned call, exclaiming “Fitzgerald is gonna take it, all the way! Touchdown! Unbelievable!” His words perfectly encapsulated the gravity of the moment and the awe-inspiring athleticism of Fitzgerald’s play, making it a standout moment in football announcing history.
On the other end of the spectrum, there have been some cringe-worthy and unforgettable mistakes from football announcers. One of the most infamous blunders occurred during the 2012 AFC Wild Card game, when announcer James Brown declared that the Houston Texans had won the game, despite the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals still had one play left. Brown’s premature declaration left viewers and fellow announcers in disbelief, and serves as a reminder of the consequences of jumping the gun in football announcing.
Similarly, during a Monday Night Football game in 2008, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser made a particularly cringe-worthy statement by saying that the Green Bay Packers’ players “should wear burglar masks” because of their dark eye black. The comment was widely criticized and drew backlash from viewers, as it was seen as insensitive and inappropriate.
While football announcing has seen its fair share of incredible calls and blunders, it remains a crucial element of the game that adds to the overall experience for viewers. Whether it’s an iconic play that is perfectly captured by a commentator’s impassioned call, or a regrettable blunder that leaves fans scratching their heads, the art of football announcing will continue to be part of the game’s rich history for years to come.