The NFL offseason has delivered tons of talking points as star players have moved teams in a dramatic player acquisition phase. The NFL broadcasting world has experienced its fair share of unpredictable moves ahead of the 2022 season.
Commentators are the soundtrack of NFL seasons. Whether it was ABC’s Monday Night Football trio of Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, and Don Meredith or the iconic duo of Pat Summerall and John Madden, the great moments of an NFL season are chronicled by the great broadcasters.
With four broadcast companies televising games in 2022, there are plenty of commentary crews to call the best. Here is a breakdown of the big-name broadcasters ahead of the 2022 season.
Thursday Night Football – Al Michaels & Kirk Herbstreit
Veteran broadcaster Al Michaels ended his time at NBC after Super Bowl 56. Michaels is the NFL’s most experienced play-by-play man, and now he is with his third company. Michaels was the voice of Monday Night Football for nearly two decades before voicing Sunday Night Football with John Madden and Chris Collinsworth.
The 11-time Super Bowl veteran Michaels’ experience adds plenty of gravitas to the TNF booth. Joining Michaels in the booth is ESPN stalwart Kirk Herbstreit. Herbstreit is the leading analyst on ESPN’s college football coverage. While his NFL broadcasting experience isn’t extensive, Herbstreit is an experienced broadcaster.
It is a new experience for both of these commentators. Both must get used to working with a new partner after many years of working with the same person. Nonetheless, Michaels and Herbstreit are an elite duo.
Sunday Night Football – Mike Tirico & Chris Collinsworth
TV’s number one program now has a new voice leading proceedings. Mike Tirico replaces Al Michaels to team up with Chris Collinsworth. Tirico is a safe pair of hands. He is a superb broadcaster; whether anchoring coverage of the Indy 500 and FIFA World Cup or doing play-by-play on Monday Night Football for ten years, Tirico is the commensurate pro.
Collinsworth is just as experienced in the booth, and the duo should gel well. Tirico and Collinsworth called five games last season, and all eyes will once again be on them every Sunday night.
Monday Night Football – Joe Buck & Troy Aikman
The big blockbuster move concerned the NFL’s longest-tenured broadcast team. FOX’s number one team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left to join ESPN. Aikman’s contract expired, and FOX never offered a new deal, much to his chagrin. Aikman explored other opportunities, and ESPN handed him a lucrative deal that will reportedly make him the highest-earning color analyst.
Like most kids of my generation, I grew up watching MNF w Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell & my mom’s favorite Don Meredith so you can only imagine my excitement to be part of the legacy of MNF & continue working w Joe Buck, my broadcast partner for the last 20 years!#MNFonESPN🏈 pic.twitter.com/MKPeqncs0l — Troy Aikman (@TroyAikman) March 16, 2022
Buck had one year left with FOX before ESPN chose to trade a BIG 10 game for his services. The Emmy Award-winning play-by-play man was the leading broadcaster at FOX as he called over 20 World Series and six Super Bowls. Buck has teamed with Aikman for 20 years, and the duo will tie the legendary Pat Summerall and John Madden for the length of service. The NFL’s longest-running primetime game now has the best primetime booth.
The FOX & CBS Teams
With Buck and Aikman leaving FOX, former car salesman Kevin Burkhardt now assumes the number one role. While FOX hasn’t announced who will join Burkhardt, former Chicago Bear Greg Olsen is the favorite. Burkhardt and Olsen formed a fruitful partnership in 2021, as they called the second games on the FOX slate.
Moreover, Buck’s departure may please fans of the BIG 10 as Gus Johnson could see more action alongside newcomer Aqib Talib.
The headline act is Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the CBS side. Nantz’s calm, laconic demeanor meshes with Romo’s insightful, enthusiastic style. The AFC is the stronger conference, and Nantz and Romo will get their share of big games to call.
Which Duo is The Best?
It is tough to ignore Buck and Aikman. Buck’s voice lends itself to big games, while Aikman’s knowledge is up there with the best. Last year several big-time games headlined MNF as the Rams/49ers, Titans/Bills, Patriots/Bills, and Cowboys/Eagles featured on the slate. With the likelihood of more marquee matchups, Buck and Aikman should cement themselves as the premier commentary combination.