Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday 'tube: 'Bama's greatest calls

Call me a sentimental fool: this post from Joe Posnanski, detailing some of the greatest calls in sports history, inspired me. So, realizing, of course, how subjective the topic is, I decided to cull through my own memory and find some of my favorite Alabama-related calls over the years.
Before we go on, let's establish what I consider the criteria to evaluate a great announcer call:
• Great announcers typically have a distinctive voice, so that listeners know exactly what they're hearing when his voice comes over the air. This may be the most important criteria of all — for example, no one would ever mistake Larry Munson for a good technical announcer, but everyone knew it was UGA football time when they hear his voice.
• Great announcers are homers, but not so much that it turns off their listening audience. Rod Bramblett, for example, is a decent announcer, technically speaking, but he and Stan White are such Auburn homers no one but Auburn fans would ever want to listen to them (and they probably like it that way).
• Great announcers aren't so in love with the sound of their own voice that they talk over the moment. There's a beautiful moment in the broadcast of Alabama's 2005 win over Florida, right after Brodie Croyle finds Tyrone Prothro for an 80-yard touchdown on Alabama's first play from scrimmage. Verne Lundquist, calling the game for CBS, calls the play "Prothro's down there ... HE'S GOT IT ... and HE'S ... GONE ... NO FLAGS!" ... and then he says nothing, allowing the crowd to cheer and cheer, and he's silent some more ... finally, the kicking unit comes on, and Verne says, matter-of-factly, "And just like that."
This, to me, is Brent Musberger's biggest deficiency as an announcer: he tends to shout over everything. The best of the best recognize the moment, and let the moment speak for itself.

Anyway, here are some of my favorites, in no particular order (except for the final one, as you'll see). Note that this features local broadcasters like Chris Stewart, Paul Kennedy and Eli Gold, as well as national broadcasts that were particularly poignant (Verne and Keith Jackson both show up). Note also that a number of these seem to come against Tennessee. Go figure. And one other note: not all of these videos are the "greatest calls" in their entirety; the famous call is contained either in the middle or somewhere towards the end. Feel free to add your own thoughts here or by finding me on Twitter.

And, my personal No. 1: a tie — or, better explained, two calls of the same play.

Fun, but not quite as good as this one.

Magical. See you tomorrow. Roll Tide.

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