A few groundrules:
- As in the earlier post, I am using a guideline that if a duo worked together for at least one regular season or playoff game during a season, then that season counts toward the streak.
- I am only considering cases where exactly two announcers worked together in the TV booth. So I am not counting a pair of announcers who were part of a 3-man crew unless I found evidence that the pair worked as a duo for at least one qualifying game that season. (For completeness, I am planning a future post to cover such streaks by announcer trios.)
- This post covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, college football, and college basketball on national TV networks. For each sport, I listed the longest 10 or so streaks.
Here is the breakdown by sport:
* denotes active streak
# denotes active streak but which is not expected to continue
21: Pat Summerall, John Madden (1981-2001)
12: Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen (1977-1988)
11: Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann (1988-1998)
11: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston (2003-2013) *
10: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms (2004-2013) *
9: Charlie Jones, George Ratterman (1964-1972)
9: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman (2005-2013) *
8: Ian Eagle, Solomon Wilcots (2001-2008)
8: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf (2006-2013) #
7: Dick Stockton, Matt Millen (1994-2000)
Summerall and Madden have the longest NFL streak (a run that spanned a move from CBS to Fox). The tandem of Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen holds second place for now. Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston have the longest active streak. (Note: Since I am only counting only booth announcers, I am treating this team as a duo rather than a trio because Tony Siragusa serves as a sideline analyst.) Charlie Jones and George Ratterman started their streak on the AFL.
18: Jim Nantz, Billy Packer (1990-91 to 2007-08)
16: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel (1997-98 to 2012-13) *
15: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery (1998-99 to 2012-13) *
13: Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale (2001-02 to 2013-14) *
11: Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale (1991-92 to 2001-02)
11: Brent Musburger, Dick Vitale (1993-94 to 2003-04)
11: Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes (2004-05 to 2013-14) *
10: Verne Lundquist, Billy Packer (1998-99 to 2007-08)
9: Marv Albert, Bucky Waters (1980-81 to 1988-89)
9: Dick Enberg, Al McGuire (1981-82 to 1989-90)
9: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski (2004-05 to 2012-13) #
College basketball tends to have the longest streaks. Patrick and Vitale teamed up for many ACC games on ESPN over their 23-season run. Jim Nantz and Billy Packer check in at 18 seasons, all of which concluded with the Final Four. Longtime NCAA Tournament partners Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel have the longest active streak with the team of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery right behind. Vitale has worked regularly with several play-by-play announcers over the years and appears four times on this list. With Nantz working a limited regular season schedule for many years, CBS often paired Lundquist with Packer and that duo cracks this list with 10 straight seasons.
14: Ron Franklin, Mike Gottfried (1991-04)
13: Keith Jackson, Bob Griese (1987-99)
10: Tom Hammond, Pat Haden (2000-09)
9: Keith Jackson, Frank Broyles (1977-85)
8: Keith Jackson, Ara Parseghian (1974-81)
8: Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson (2006-13) *
8: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit (2006-13) #
7: Chris Schenkel, Bud Wilkinson (1966-72)
7: Brent Musburger, Dick Vermeil (1990-96)
7: Brad Nessler, Bob Griese (1999-05)
6: Brent Musburger, Gary Danielson (1999-05)
Ron Franklin and Mike Gottfried were fixtures in the ESPN Saturday night TV booth for 14 straight seasons. They top the tandem of Keith Jackson and Bob Griese by a single season. If we have indeed seen the last of the Brent Musburger pairing with Kirk Herbstreit, then the team of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson should take sole possession of the longest active streak when the upcoming season starts. Jackson and Musburger each appear three times on this list.
18: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver (1996-13) #
17: Jon Miller, Joe Morgan (1990-06)
9: Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek (1974-82)
9: Dave O'Brien, Rick Sutcliffe (2002-10)
9: Dave O'Brien, Rick Sutcliffe (2002-10)
8: Bob Costas, Tony Kubek (1982-89)
7: Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek (1969-75)
7: Chris Berman, Buck Martinez (1993-99)
7: Chris Berman, Rick Sutcliffe (1999-05)
7: Kenny Albert, Eric Karros (2007-13) *
6: Vin Scully, Joe Garagiola (1983-88)
7: Dick Stockton, Hubie Brown (1995-96 to 2001-02)
7: Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins (2003-04 to 2009-10)
6: Bob Neal, Hubie Brown (1990-91 to 1995-96)
6: Bob Neal, Doug Collins (1990-91 to 1995-96)
6: Ron Thulin, Doug Collins (1990-91 to 1995-96)
6: Pete Van Wieren, Doug Collins (1990-91 to 1995-96)
5: Chris Schenkel, Jack Twyman (1966-67 to 1970-71)
5: Marv Albert, Mike Fratello (1999-00 to 2003-04)
The NBA produces much shorter streaks than the other sports as many analysts bounce back and forth between the TV booth and coaching jobs. Despite never being the #1 team on ABC/ESPN, Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown hold the NBA record at 8 seasons which is also the longest active mark. Turner Sports mixed and matched Brown and Doug Collins with several play-by-play announcers in the early 1990s which explains the overlapping streaks featuring those analysts. Overall, Collins appears four times on this list and Brown shows up three times.
A few final notes:
- This is not the easiest topic to research, but I did my best to identify the longest such streaks. If I missed any announcer team that belongs on one of these lists, please let me know.
- The historical sports TV research at 506sports served as a key resource for this post.