Top 5 NFL Voices

High Five

by Bob Raissman

The following are the results from a poll taken by Daily News columnist Bob Raissman that appeared in the New York Daily News on September 8, 2002.

Who are the Top 5 All-Time NFL TV Play-by-Play Voices?

Ray Scott 1. Ray Scott - In Curt Smith's "Of Mikes and Men," the author captured the late, great play-by-play man's style, saying: "Ray Scott's voice crossed John Huston and James Earl Jones. When he intoned, 'Starr. Dowler. Touchdown. Green Bay,' 10 million spines would quiver." Scott was the voice of CBS Sports' early coverage NFL coverage. The ASA Hall of Fame Inductee for 1998, Scott's minimalist style was perfect for TV. Scott knew the pictures were the thing. He also knew how to build the drama of a game with just a few words. His style influenced many voices, including the next man on this list.

Pat Summerall 2. Pat Sumerall - A disciple of Scott, Summerall's voice became synonymous with the growth of the NFL. His transition from player to play-by-play man was a great accomplishment in itself. Since 1967, Summerall, the 1999 ASA Hall of Fame Inductee, has delivered big-time, not only defining quality play-by-play, but getting the most out of the analysts he has worked with through the years. The team of Summerall and John Madden became legendary. A lot of that legend was made by Summerall's sense of timing, allowing Madden to do his thing. And Summerall's authoritative calls brought, and still bring, tremendous credibility to the booth.

Al Michaels 3. Al Michaels - Since 1985, he has been the constant in ABC's "Monday Night Football" booth. Michaels, the 1995 ASA Sportscaster of the Year, is one of the few voices who can move into analyst territory. He cam make a simple, but insightful, point, then get out of the way, letting his boothmate develop the angle. A perfectionist, Michaels rarely makes mistakes. This guy is one of the smoothest operators to ever get behind a play-by-play mike. Over the years, he has developed a sense of humor, which has added another element to his vocal game.

Curt Gowdy 4. Curt Gowdy - Joe Namath and the Jets beating the Colts in Super Bowl III. Christmas Day, 1971: The Dolphins defeat the Chiefs, 27-24, in a playoff game lasting six quarters (over 82 minutes). Raiders-Steelers "Immaculate Reception" playoff game. Gowdy was at the mike for all three of these historic contests. In each one he was able to maintain a certain pace that flowed with the circumstances and tension of unforgettable games.

Dick Enberg 5. Dick Enberg - The sound of Enberg's voice gives any match up a big-game quality. He brings a human touch to the mike. Enberg has made it a priority to tell stories about players so fans can relate. He is another guy who brings the best out of his partners. Enberg's NBC alliance with Merlin Olsen resulted in one of the most successful and entertaining teams to ever broadcast NFL football. Now at CBS, Enberg has not lost a step. Working with Dan Deirdorf, Enberg's enthusiasm for the game and his craft is always evident.