Best, and worst, announcers of all time

Today, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback announced that he would be taking his talents to CBS, and follow the path of many former athletes and take his best shot at the broadcasting world. When the announcement was made, the social media world erupted. One of the best tweets of the day, “Tony Romo’s new broadcasting contract will only be for regular season games.” While we’ll have to wait to see how Romo will do in front of the tv, lets look back at some of the best, and worst broadcasters in recent memory.

 

WORST:

5.Dan Fouts:

Fouts was a standout quarterback with the San Diego Chargers, and brought that franchise to national attention. In the broadcasting booth, Fouts likes to remind of that fact. Its always a plus to have a former player in the booth, but when you start bringing up throws you made to Kellen Winslow in 1981, the attention of the viewers goes South.

 

4.Joe Buck:

Being a Cowboys fan, I can almost guarantee that Buck will be calling the Dallas game every week on Fox. His lack of enthusiasm sucks the blood out of you, and makes you miss him when he calls baseball. However, in the last few years, Buck has made a comeback, and you can expect him to be on the best list in a short while.

 

3: Reggie Miller:

Reggie is a guy who I hated when he was playing, and can’t stand on television either. Miller should be thanking the heavens he got to work with one of the greatest ever to do it, Marv Albert. For being one of the great players of all time, Miller seems to lack a knowledge of basketball statistics, and should just stick to his trash talking on the court.

 

2: Gus Johnson:

Am I listening to a teenager, or a professional broadcaster? Though Gus is amusing, its all for the wrong reasons. He’s the only person who can make those calls about college basketball players, except for the college students themselves.

 

1:Bill Walton:

The worst, by far. This dude is off his rocker. The former UCLA all-American and NBA legend, should have stayed away from the tv set. Walton is famous for his random lectures, taking his shirt off during a live game, and using way too large of words. Old Bill will take half of the game talking about the glory of the 60’s, and how the Grateful Dead is one of the best bands of all time.

 

BEST:

  1. Kirk Herbstreit:

Any kid from my age, who played NCAA football the video game, either loves this man, or he’s liar. Yeah he’s a Buckeye, but we won’t hold that against him. In a relatively short time, he’s become the best college football color analyst, whether its on College Gameday, or up in the booth next to Chris Fowler.

4: Verne Lundquist:

This man is the voice of the CBS. I can just hear him saying, “McCarron finds Cooper in the endzone, touchdown Alabama!’ Though he calls college basketball and golf as well, I’ll always think of Lundquist as the man greeting me through a television from somewhere in the South.

 

3: Al Michaels

Again, its my childhood playing Madden that I fell in love with his voice. The video game, and Monday Night Football is what we think of, when I think of this legend, until ESPN played the villain and started broadcasting Monday night games. Him and Madden next to each other in the booth, it just doesn’t get better than that. His call of Antonio Freeman’s circus catch to beat the Vikings is his most classic moment, “HE DID WHAT?”

 

2.Brad Nessler:

If there was a big time game in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, Nessler was the man calling the game. He was the voice behind the Wide Left Miami-FSU game in 2002, and his voice is iconic. He proves the excitement when a play gets going, and knows when to tone it down. He also will be taking over CBS college football, so we got that going for us.

 

1: Brent Musburger:

You are looking live….at the best sports announcer ever. His voice has stood the test of time, he’s sounded the same whether Vinny Testeverde, Matt Leinart, or Jameis Winston is the quarterback. He’s called some of the greatest moments in college football history, as well as other sports too. Along with Nessler, if there was a primetime football game, you can expect Musburger to be on the other side of that television.

Take Note, Jazz fans best in the NBA

Marshall Snow Thomas

 

 

For those outside of the state of Utah, Salt Lake City may not come to mind for sports fans. It will definitely not come to mind, when you think of die hard fanatics and fans who will stand by their time. Nevertheless, the Utah Jazz, in my opinion, have the most loyal fans in the entire NBA.

 

In the winter time, there isn’t much to do in Utah, except ski, and of course, cheer for the Jazz. From the pick and roll days of John Stockton and Karl Malone, to the dynamic duo of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, the Jazz faithful have continued to pack the Delta Center (or whatever they call it).

 

Even today, with players not well known to fans around the league, Utah fans bring the noise every home game. For years now, Salt Lake City has been a daunting place to play for opposing players. One of the most memorable fan moments in recent memory, came in the 2007 western conference semi-finals against the Golden State Warriors. In game two, the jam-packed arena witnessed the return of Derek Fisher, the same day his daughter had surgery. Fisher arrived in the building in the second half, entering the game to a deafening roar. Fisher hit a key three, to help the Jazz win that game, and later win the series.

 

Since those days in 2007, the team has slipped off as championship contenders. The fans watched as legendary coach Jerry Sloan resigned, and the team lost players like Williams and Boozer. Even with the losing seasons, the team still had top-ten attendance figures each year.  The fans even stuck with Gordon Hayward, even when he had his hideous haircut early in his career.  These are fans who love their players, that teenagers will play with the 1997-1998 Jazz team on NBA 2K instead of Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Also, if you want to stay friends with Utah fans, don’t ever bring up the Jordan shot. Utah fans are the kind of fans, who named their child Stockton, after John Stockton hit the game winning three point shot to put the Jazz in the finals for the first time in 1997. Several years ago, Alex Kennedy wrote an article about Jazz fans, calling them the most disgusting fans in the NBA. No Alex, they’re not the most disgusting, but they do expect you to work. Yes, there are classless fans for Utah, just like there are in every sport, in every team, and even I’ve been described as a classless fan. That being said, the Jazz and Salt Lake City will be rowdy and in your face all night long.

 

Although they will jump out to anyone outside of the Beehive state, the Utah Jazz and their fans will always be a staple of the NBA, and in a league that is constantly changing to the new way of basketball, the Jazz are penciled in and based on tradition.

 

 

Carolina Claims Sixth Title

Marshall Snow Thomas

 

 

It was a game filled with fouls and lead changes, but at the end of the historic night, the glass slipper fit North Carolina best, and they were crowned National Champions.

 

The Tar Heels came into the game, after a win on Saturday against Oregon, a game in which they missed four free throws in the last ten seconds and still pulled off a one point win, due to their offensive rebounding. Gonzaga had a similar situation in their previous game, escaping the grasp of South Carolina by four points.

 

It was Gonzaga’s first trip to the title game, and their first appearance in the Final Four. For North Carolina, they are no stranger to the biggest stage in college basketball, being one of the nation’s most storied programs. Carolina fell victim to one of the greatest moments in Final Four history, as Villanova shocked the Tar Heels with a game winning shot at the buzzer to be crowned national champions.

 

Coming off their best regular season in school history, the Bulldogs were the number one ranked team coming into the NCAA tournament, and even with some close victories, managed to find their way to the title game. In the first half on Monday night, it was Gonzaga who had the hot hand, who took the lead in the first half.

 

The game was almost overshadowed by poor referring calls, that halted the game several times. There were 44 fouls and 52 free throws between the Bulldogs and the Tar Heels. Gonzaga, who had lost just one game all year prior to title game, committed 14 turnovers. Their powerful Polish powerhouse Przemek Karnowski finished just 1-for-8 from the field, including several big missed in the final few minutes. “It was an ugly game, “said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams in an interview with USA Today.  However, even though they know how bad their team played, the fans in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, could care less about the sloppiness.

 

Led by 22 points from point guard Joel Berry, and suffocating defense, the Tar Heels found themselves going back and forth in the second half with the scrappy Bulldogs. Clinging to a one point lead with under 30 seconds to play, Isaiah Hicks drilled a jumped to increase the Tar Heel lead to three. On Gonzaga’s next possession, the Bulldogs’ Nigel-Williams-Goss drove the lane looking for a lay-up, but was denied by North Carolina Kennedy Meeks, which led to a championship clinching slam dunk by Justin Jackson, in front of 76,168 fans in the massive Phoenix University Stadium.

 

What was an ugly national championship game, turned into a beautiful moment for North Carolina, as they were able to claim their sixth title. UNC finished the game on an 8-0 run, avenging their loss to Villanova in 2016. In 2017, the confetti came down on the Tar Heels.

Raiders Move to Vegas

Marshall Snow Thomas

 

The Oakland Raiders are officially moving out of Oakland. On Monday, it was announced that the historic NFL franchise will be relocating to Las Vegas. The Raiders received 31 of 32 votes to approve the move to Vegas, with the Miami Dolphins being the only team to vote against the move.

 

The Raiders will appear in Las Vegas no later than 2020, with a new stadium to be built. It was announced that a 65,000 seat domed stadium, that will cost around$1.9 billion will house the silver and black. The site of the stadium has not been announced yet, but the leading location looks to be across from the Mandalay Bay hotel.  It’s a possibility that the Raiders may play preseason games at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium in 2018 and 2019, giving fans in Vegas a taste of the future of pro football.

 

It will be third time the Raiders will move. In 1982 the team relocated to Los Angeles, before returning to Oakland in 1995.   The Raiders will join the NHL’s Golden Knights, an expansion franchise that will begin play in Las Vegas starting in 2017-2018.

 

“My father always said, the greatness of the Raiders is in its future, and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness,” said team owner Mark Davis in an interview to NFL.Com.  Davis is the son of longtime owner Al Davis, who passed away several years ago.

 

This move is the third time in the last 14 months that an iconic NFL franchise has relocated. The Rams moved back to Los Angeles last year, and the Chargers also announced they’d be leaving San Diego, and would be heading to L.A. as well.

 

The move comes at an already exciting time for the Raiders. The team went 12-4 in 2016, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.  The Raiders have won three Super Bowls and an AFL title in its rich 57 year history.

 

The Shot that cursed the Jazz

Marshall Snow Thomas

 

Every story needs a hero and a villain. For sports, every team and fan base have their own individual villain, whether it’s a team, player owner. For the Red Sox, the Yankees are that evil villain. For old time Colts fans, Tom Brady is that villain. Also, for the Auburn Tigers, Nick Saban falls into the villain category.

 

For the Utah Jazz and their fans, one player comes to mind, and its someone who has haunted the organization and the entire state for almost twenty years. For most Jazz fans, they hate the Lakers, and especially Kobe Bryant. For the last fifteen years, it has been the Lakers that have bounced the Jazz from the playoffs. However, you have to reach a few years back, when the Jazz were actually beating L.A. in the postseason, to find the real villain. The answer is simple, Michael Jordan, and the shot.

 

Its an image that every sports fan has seen. The framed image of Jordan, watching his last shot as  a Chicago Bull go in, while thousands of horrified Jazz fans stare back at him. It was at that moment, before the shot went in, the last time Utah led in an NBA Finals game.  Since that day in 1998, the Jazz have never made it back to the finals. Today, we’re going to look at that shot, and its affected the Utah Jazz, and the entire state of Utah.

 

In restaurants in Salt Lake City, there are certain things you don’t bring up, or else you’ll have a debate that’ll last all night. For instance, don’t bring up Max Hall and BYU football, or Urban Meyer leaving the Utes in 2005. Most of all, you don’t bring up that Jordan shot, or you’re in for a long night. Most Jazz fans remember the day they were married, their first child being born, and the day Jordan hit the shot. That Utah team, is sacred in the Wasatch Front. Jerry Sloan is mentioned, and it’s like the Pope is being discussed. I still remember the day Sloan retired, people in the high school hallway looked like their puppy had just died. John Stockton and Karl Malone are larger than life, and fans will tell you that they’re the greatest to ever play the game. Even when you mention Jeff Hornacek you’ll see smiles from the Jazz faithful.

 

In the 97 finals, people expected Chicago to win the championship. They had home court advantage, and it was anticipated that the Bulls would bring home the trophy, which they did in six games. The next year, 98, was supposed to be different. The Jazz were coming off a four game sweep of the Lakers in the conference finals, and the Bulls just barely got by the Pacers in a seven game thriller. That year in the regular season, the Jazz swept the Bulls, and with home court advantage, it looked as if the trophy could actually come home to Salt Lake City.  However, the Bulls shocked Utah in game two with a close win, and then two more wins back in Chicago to take a 3-1 lead. Fully expecting to clinch the title at home, the Bulls fell to Utah, thanks to heroic performance by Karl Malone, sending the series back to Salt Lake. With the rest of the series to be played on their home court, Jazz fans seemed confident that they could force a game seven, but first they had to win game 6.

 

They had the lead, with just over 40 seconds to go, Utah had the lead. John Stockton had just hit a three to give the Jazz a three point lead, and it seemed possible! A quick Jordan layup cut the lead to one, but the Jazz had the ball, and more importantly, Malone had the ball down low. This was a lock, Malone was going to score, and the Bulls would miss a three, and then its game seven. Unfortunately, the history of the Jazz took a turn at that moment. Instead of hitting a shot, Malone had the ball stolen from him by Jordan, and the 20,000 in the Delta Center were in stunned silence. People forget this moment, they remember the shot, but they don’t quite bring up the steal. For me, I’m a Malone fan, but instead of his 36,928 career points, the thing I remember of him, is how Jordan stole the ball from him, and with it, the reality of game seven almost completely vanished.

 

 

Jordan stealing the ball was like the part in Return of the King, when Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger and steals back the ring. All Sam could do was watch Gollum dance with the ring, and all Jazz fans could do was watch Jordan bring the ball up the court, and they couldn’t do anything. However, in the movie, Frodo saves the day and kills Gollum and destroys the ring. Unfortunately for the Jazz, there was no Frodo. Jordan hit the shot, and just like that, it was over. The score reads, CHICAGO 87, UTAH 86.

 

Since that day, great players have come and gone, a legendary coach retired, and the all-time owner has passed away.  Not even Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer could bring the Jazz back to the finals. All they could manage, was a single conference finals appearance. 2003 marked the end of the Stockton and Malone era, and the excitement that those players brought, hasn’t even come close to being recreated. Could that shot have made such an impact? Has it made such an impact on the organization? Well for starters, they’ve changed uniforms to an ugly Halloween costume, they changed the arena name from Delta Center, and Hot Rod Hundley doesn’t announce the games from the radio anymore.

 

Maybe one day, it could potentially happen. Perhaps the basketball heavens will bless this special organization with a championship. If there is a franchise in the NBA that deserves a title, it’s the Utah Jazz. They cherish their team like no other fan base in sports, and they sell out every single game. However, until the team reaches the promised land, the shot by Jordan shot will not be taken with a smile, and will haunt the entire state of Utah.

 

NFL Busts Since 2000

Marshall Snow Thomas

 

For football fans, the NFL draft is just under five weeks away. For us pigskin fanatics, its that sweet spot of the year where we can see the season off in the distance. For fans, draft night is a big deal. This is where we see the future of our beloved teams fold out, and we see what new players will be putting on the jerseys come September. For the actual players, it’s a different experience. These young men, have worked their entire lives to get to this point. They were the best at what they did in college, and now they wait and see where they get drafted. After the draft, at least for those in the first round, they become instant millionaires, and now they have big expectations to live up to. Some of them do live up to that hype, while others falter. Today, we’re going to look at the biggest NFL drafts since 2000.

 

  1. Vernon Gholston, Defensive End, New York Jets (2008)

“The word physical freak is far too overused for NFL prospects. That being said, Vernon Gholston is a physical freak.” Does anyone else remember this claim that Sporting News magazine said about Gholston in 2008? Indeed, he was a physical freak of nature, and a standout at the Ohio State University, and the Jets got him with the sixth pick in the first round. However, this Buckeye couldn’t quite pan out for the Jets, even with defensive minded head coach Rex Ryan. In three awful seasons in the Big Apple, Gholston didn’t record a single sack, interception, recovered or forced a fumble, making him a case for a modern day Brian Bosworth. Poor Jets, they’ll get it right one of these days.

 

4.Brady Quinn/Matt Leinart, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns/Arizona Cardinals (2006/2007)

These are the quarterbacks that we remember when we were kids. They were the golden boys! One was bringing Notre Dame out of obscurity, while the other was winning national championships at USC.  Leinart was drafted tenth overall in 2006 by the Cardinals, and got extensive playing time for Arizona. However, he was beat out for the starting job by the ageless wonder Kurt Warner, who turned the franchise around, and in 2008 led them to the Super Bowl. For Quinn, he too went in the first round to the Browns. He played only 14 games for Cleveland, and was traded several years later to Denver, where he became a third stringer.

 

3.Joey Harrington,  Quarterback, Detroit Lions (2002)

The early 2000’s until they drafted Calvin Johnson was drafted, the draft wasn’t kind to the Lions. Harrington was one of those mistakes, he was picked third overall. In his defense, the team that he was on, was absolutely awful, with no receivers, a mediocre offensive line, and a circus at running back.  However, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that ole Joey was just plain ole awful, and this was the guy that was supposed to turn the franchise around. The thing about Harrington, was that he threw way too many interceptions, a problem that was never fixed. It was a plan to build a perfect quarterback for the Lions, a plan that didn’t succeed until Matthew Stafford was drafted.

 

2.Charles Rogers, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions (2003)

Another Lions draft pick….surprise! The bad thing is, Rogers was just one year after Harrington, whose the GM to blame for that?  Rogers might have been even worse than Joey, playing in only 15 games during his three year career.  Rogers was out with a collarbone that was broken twice, and missed time for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  He finished with just 36 catches, 440 yards, and four touchdowns.

 

1.Jamarcus Russell, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders (2007)

Russell tops off this list, and towards the end of his career, topped off his belt with weight issues. This LSU Tiger was drafted number one overall, and I must admit, I purchased a jersey once he was drafted. Unfortunately for Russell and myself, I haven’t worn that jersey since Halloween of 2008.  Russell had talent, no question about that. He could reportedly throw a football 60 yards on one knee, and was supposed to turn the Raiders around. After signing a six-year, $68 million deal with the Raiders in training camp—$31 million of that guaranteed—Russell won just seven NFL games. Think about that, $31 million for seven games. He had a .280 winning percentage, and had a 52 percent completion percentage. To put the cherry on top, literally, he reported to 2010 training camp at over 300 pounds, and was released by Oakland.

 

 

Why the Madness?

Marshall Snow Thomas

 

March is here, and for basketball fans, that can mean only thing, its time for March Madness. On Sunday, the brackets for the annual NCAA tournament were released, and sports fans couldn’t be more excited.

 

This year marks the 77th year that the NCAA college basketball tournament will be played, with the first tournament being played in 1939. Last year, Villanova beat North Carolina with a buzzer beater shot in the championship game, capping off one of the greatest games in college basketball history.

 

Its estimated that 70 million people will fill out brackets once they come out, which poses the question, why is American so enthralled with march madness?

 

College basketball, since 1939, has filled the gap between football and baseball, since NBA regular season is also occurring. In 1939, when the tournament first started, the bracket only featured eight teams. Since then, the popularity for the sport has grown, as well as the bracket size. In 2017, 68 teams will participate for the opportunity to win the championship trophy.

 

March Madness, year in and year out, provides with at least one all time classic, including the 1979 national championship. Why was that game so important? First, it matched Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans against Larry Bird’s Indiana State Cyclones. Second, it remains the most watched basketball game ever played. We can thank March Madness for introducing us to what would become one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.

 

The games begin on Thursday, and beginning on that day, office as well as classroom productivity hits a yearly low. Another reason why people are so drawn in, is because the tournament is single elimination, and because America loves excitement, we’re all on the edge of our seats. Besides, who could ever forget when Wisconsin knocked off previously undefeated Kentucky in the 2015 Final Four? Or even last March, when the number two seeded Michigan State were upset in the first round by 15 seed Middle Tennessee State? The Spartans came into the game as 16 point favorites, another reason why we love the madness, the upsets.

 

However, forget about picking a perfect bracket, because its never been done. There is a 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 chance of completing an absolutely perfect bracket. Nevertheless, you’ll see people in the office or students at the library stressing more about who they have going to the Sweet 16, than their final exams.

 

The madness, its one of the things that make this country great. It brings people together, whether its your office, study group or family, it brings us together, and that’s the best part of it all.