With the amount of sports that J and I watch, we aren’t always blessed with the cream-of-the-crop announcers – especially if your team is struggling at the time. There is nothing worse than B-list announcers in a game you perceive as being important. You want to keep the volume up to absorb the atmosphere. The sounds of the game, the reactions of the fans, and the pristine breakdown of the action by a top-notch announcing crew. Unfortunately, with the vast amount of networks covering all of the sporting events these days, we get guys like Bryant Gumbel calling games. Frankly people, we’re sick of it. We’re even sick of the unworthy guys sitting in the studio that have no business analyzing games (Eric Young, Stephen A. Smith, and Skip Bayless – we’re talking about you!). So we decided to have a draft with every sports TV announcer and analyst available. The goal: Nothing but A-list talent, baby! Our teams consist of 24 ‘players’ a piece with a snake draft. The rosters consist of a three person announcing crew for the NBA, NFL, and MLB, along with a two man announcing crew for the PGA TOUR. Also, a three person in-studio host crew will be employed for both basketball and football, with a two man in-studio team for baseball. And to make our network just that much more interesting, we each need a sideline reporter, college prospect/announcer (it’s a keeper league – gotta have some talent in the wings), a fantasy expert along with a tandem of guys working in the studio as our “Sportsnight” anchors. So call the commissioner and moose Mel Kiper Jr’s hair, because we got work to do people.
To decide who gets the first overall pick – we flipped a quarter, with Justin calling tails and the quarter dropping on tails. He gets the first pick in our “Create Your Own Sports Network Draft.”
We welcome NBA commissioner David Stern to the podium – since there is nobody better at butchering names on a national stage.
And here comes Stern to the podium to announce the first pick. What Chad doesn’t know is that I had David Stern slip Chad a coin that was Tails on both sides. This isn’t be the first time David Stern has fixed a draft, and it won’t be the last. Anywho… here’s Stern with the choice in hand.
David Stern: With the first pick of the “Create Your Own Sports Newtork” draft, RSAR (Red Shirt Aaron Rogers) selects Erin Andrews out of the ESPN Network.
Justin’s Analysis: My reasoning for taking Erin with the first pick was simple, as with all fantasy leagues, you want you’re number on pick to be a five tool player. Much in the way that Hanley Ramirez, LeBron James and LT all dominate in their respective leagues because of their versatility, Erin Andrews is second-to-none when it comes to being personable, intelligent, and extremely HOT! You throw in the fact that Andrews is capable of covering multiple sports, and it was really a no-brainer decision to take her with the first pick, Admit it Chad, you wish you had Ms. Andrews on your sidelines.
Chad’s Analysis: I can’t deny it – I dreamed about getting the No. 1 overall pick and taking EA – and sleeping soundly knowing she’d guarantee me a 10 rating for every game she covered. I’ve already initiated plan-B though. I might’ve lost out on a 5-tool player that is already in her prime that will last 10-15 more years – but I didn’t come without a plan! Commish – announce my pick!
David Stern: With the second overall pick in the “Create Your Own Sports Network” draft RHHA (Rich Harden’s Healthy Arm) selects Charles Barkley’s gambling debt out of the TNT network.
Chad’s analysis: Damnit Stern! Read what’s on the card! Admit it Justin, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Grizzlies/Hawks game, you’ll tune in to TNT’s coverage of it just to hear Charles get off topic, call people knuckleheads, and find out who’s in his 5 that night. His gambling inproprieties worry me a bit, but you can’t deny his upside.
Justin’s Analysis: I’ll admit that Charles Barkley is a strong number two pick with a ton of upside (insert fat joke here), but the Round Mound of Rebound has been having a tough year. I mean the press won’t even let him gable anymore, and since this is a heated election year, who knows what will happen the first time he makes a politically incorrect joke about McCain’s: age, health, race, etc.
David Stern: With the first pick in the second round, and third overall pick in the draft – RHHA selects Ron Jaworski from the ESPN network.
Mel Kiper: I’m simply amazed that a talent like Jaworski slipped to the second round. He’s been flying up my Big Board ever since he began on Monday Night Football last year and hasn’t stopped rising since. He’s the Peyton Manning of the booth. He can see the field in a way that few people on the planet can, and he can communicate what he sees to a lamen of football.
Justin’s Analysis: I have to agree with Ch… er… Kiper on this one. I was really hoping that I could grab Jaws in the second round, but alas I ended up going with…
David Stern: With the fourth overall pick – RSAR selects Buster Olney from the ESPN network.
Justin’s Analysis: Now Chad I know you were a little shocked with this pick, but no one has as much access as Buster Olney when it comes to getting baseball news, and with baseball being the most news-heavy sports, I had to get Olney before you did.
Chad’s Analysis: Buster is a great talent, but is he truly a second round pick? In terms of value, I believe you could’ve gotten him in at least the 6th round. But who am I to argue….you have the next pick…what’s it going to be?
David Stern: With the fifth overall pick – RSAR selects Marv Albert from the TNT network.
Justin’s Analysis: Marv Albert is (biting incidents asside) without a doubt my favorite announcer regardless of the sport. No one captures the moment quite as well as Marv, and I was more than happy to have him anchor my NBA announcing team.
Chad’s Analysis: YESS!!!! Marv is my favorite NBA announcer too. But his age was a concern of mine. That biting could turn into biting AND clawing, and then we’d have ourselves a real mess. Might want to keep him away from EA – I’m just sayin’…
David Stern: With the sixth pick, RHHA selects (EJ) Ernie Johnson from the TNT network. HELL YEA, GO NBA!
Mel Kiper: The NBA is on the rise again, and it looks like RHHA is trying to get a step ahead of the rest of the teams. If it’s a great game, everyone’s going to be watching anyway – the key is to keep them watching when the game isn’t going on. Ernie is not only insightful and can lead an in-studio crew with the best of them, but he can interpret whatever Charles says on the fly without a hitch.
Justin’s Analysis: To be honest I was a little surprised Ernie went so high in this draft. He is great at setting up the Charles, but you could put Bryant Gumbel in the news room with Charles and it would be entertaining.
Kiper’s Big Board:
David Stern: With the seventh pick, RHHA selects Jim Nantz from the CBS network.
Chad’s Analysis: With Tiger Woods in his prime for another ten years I have to have the perfect guy to take us through the final round, and to say only what is necessary after TW sinks the putt on 18.
Justin’s Analysis: I can’t believe you went with a golf guy in the lottery of this draft! As much as I love Tiger, I wouldn’t have selected Jim Nantz in the first 20 rounds.
David Stern (who is starting to look a bit sleepy): With the eighth pick – RSAR selects Rich Eisen from the NFL Network.
Justin’s Analysis: I’m a huge fan of Rich Eisen, and I’m sticking him as one of my anchors to my Sportscenter clone. The thing I like most about Eisen is that he doesn’t feel the need to try to be funny while giving us the highlights. There’s nothing worse than having to watch Stuart Scott doing his, black guy imitating a white guy, imitating a black guy, bit. Not too mention that guy’s crazy glass eye.
David Stern: With the ninth pick – RSAR select Chris Collinsworth from the NFL Network.
Justin’s Analysis: That’s right I’m going back to back with the NFL network guys, and I’d probably take Chris over anybody except Jaws when it comes to color commentators in the NFL. Collinsworth does a great job of explaining the X’s and O’s of the NFL and is a joy to listen to, even if he has been held back a bit by his former teamates. Now that he is spearheading my NFL booth, he will truly have a chance to shine.
Chad’s Analysis: I believe ya. I haven’t heard his stuff in the last two years because I loathed his partner to a point that I swore off the entire network. I didn’t send any of my scouts to see him either because I didn’t want them exposed to that kind of bad…
David Stern (who is enraged that he has to stay through the first five rounds – unlike his one and done deal with the NBA draft): With the tenth pick in the draft, RHHA takes – Hubie Brown from the ESPN network.
Chad’s Analysis: Despite being the third ranked sport right now, I’ve got my NBA coverage on lock. Hubie Brown is one of the few analysts that still watches game tape, and could step out on the court and be a Top-10 coach right now.
Justin’s Analysis: I still have Marv Albert…. haha.
Next five picks:
11. RHHA – Kenny Mayne – ESPN
12. RSAR – Jeff Van Gundy – ESPN
13. RSAR – Chip Caray – TBS
14. RHHA – Dan Schulman – ESPN
15. RHHA – Orel Hershiser – ESPN
Justin’s Analysis: To anyone who thinks that I was drinking when I took Chip Caray with the 13th overall pick, just like the killer says in the movie Seven, you haven’t seen the whole picture yet. And speaking of people who could go from being an analyst to a top ten coach in the NBA (in my best Good Ole JR voice) Wait… it can’t be… that’s… that’s Van Gundy’s music! My Gawd!
Chad’s Anaylsis: Kenny was a steal at 11 for me, and I knocked out two of my three baseball announcers with back-to-back picks after that. And the best part is – if we include poker later on, Hershiser can pull some double duty after his finish in the Heads Up Poker Championships a few months ago!
Next five picks:
16. RSAR – James Brown – CBS
17. RSAR – Mike Tirico – ESPN
18. RHHA – Greg Gumbel – CBS
19. RHHA – Mike Breen – ESPN
20. RSAR – Daryl Johnston – FOX
Chad’s Analysis: This was a painful section for me here. I needed to get my play-by-play guys, and got two of the best in Breen and Greg Gumbel (how the hell is it possible that brothers rank as one of the best and worst PBP announcers in the world? It’s like if MJ had a brother that also played in the NBA). Breen screaming “BANG” whenever someone hits a three is a dang close second to “YES” from Marv. Plus, I don’t have to worry about him getting his hands on Erin. But Brown is a tough guy to see go, Tirico has versatility, and Johnston would’ve been the perfect yang to Jaworski’s yin in my football booth.
Justin’s Analysis: Just twist the knife Chad, man you are cold blooded. I think I hit my stride here with JB, Tirico and Johnston. I grabbed the best football studio guys and two damn solid announcers in Tirico and Jonston, you team him up with Collinsworth and you’ve got yourself one hell of a team.
Next five picks:
21. RSAR – Bob Costas – NBC
22. RHHA – Bill Cowher – CBS
23. RHHA – Ric Bucher – ESPN
24. RSAR – Gus Johnson – CBS
25. RSAR – Tom Jackson – ESPN
Justin’s Analysis: Bill Cowher Chad, really? I mean, was Neon Deion not available or something? Having a guy like Gus Johnson is like drafting Evan Longoria in a keeper league, you think you are just getting potential numbers, but the guy ends up going all, “I’m an all-star this year fool,” on you. I’m not even going to gloat over the value I got out of Bob Costas at #21, because I know Chad is a sensitive guy, and I don’t want to have to watch him cry.
Chad’s Analysis: Five years ago, Costas would’ve been in my Top-5 for being a studio host either on our Sportscenter mock-up or for the NFL – but he’s fallen into obscurity and has lost a step or two. Hell, it took me five minutes to remember who he worked for! With Cowher, I get the intelligent, well-spoken coach to anchor my football team in-studio despite him possibly going to the coaching ranks. I was suprised that you jumped for Gus this early, but you were aware of Marv’s age and got his replacement holding the clipboard and taking notes for a couple years – good move, my friend.
Next five picks:
26. RHHA – Scott Van Pelt- ESPN
27. RHHA – Merril Hoge – ESPN
28. RSAR – Michael Wilbon – ESPN
29. RSAR – Jon Miller – ESPN
30. RHHA – Rick Sutcliffe – ESPN
Chad’s Analysis: Scott Van Pelt and Kenny Mayne in my studio – you aren’t gonna beat that unless Erin becomes a guest everyday – but you can’t risk overworking her! Plus, I get the underrated Hoge who was high on my list, and I expect a full cancer recovery for Sutcliffe to complete my untouchable baseball announcers. Have fun with Jon Miller forgetting where he’s at half the time, and putting the stress on the wrong syllable of every Latin American player’s last name! Haha, sucker!
Justin’s Analysis: Oh Chad, we are only one person away from resolving the, “what the f*** is Justin doing with his baseball announcing team?” mystery. Anyways, I ended up going with Wilbon at 28 because he brings a straight-forward approach to an NBA show, although he did lose some points with me when he talked about his disapproval for internet sports blogs and they can be childish. I mean there’s nothing childish about what we are doing here, I mean just look at my number one pick. Really, look at the picture, that is the total package, and a whole lot of talent!
Next five picks:
31. RHHA – Kenny Smith- TNT
32. RSAR – Greg Anthony – ESPN
33. RSAR – Mike Fratello – ESPN
34. RHHA – Bonnie Bernstein – ESPN
35. RHHA – Harold Reynolds – ESPN
Justin’s Analysis: That’s right Chad, you may have taken Bonnie Bernstein at 34, but Erin Andrews will always be number one in your heart. I decided to roll with Greg Anthony and Mike Fratello to bulk up on my NBA crew. At this point in the draft I was really wishing that I could have had Charles, perhaps a trade may have to be in order.
Chad’s Analysis: Let’s be honest, Erin is No. 1 in the heart of every straight man in America (and maybe even an 1/8 of the ones that swing the other way), but have you seen Bonnie Bernstein lately?!?! I saw her on Mike and Mike a few weeks ago and fell in love with her all over again. Anthony and Fratello are solid – but with Kenny Smith, I’ve completed the TNT crew for my NBA in-studio hosts. Amazing! I don’t care if you have Marv, I’ll dominate NBA coverage! Harold Reynolds is a huge sleeper, and I’m so glad he emerged on the set of TBS so I could pick him for this wonderous occasion.
Next five picks:
36. RSAR – Boomer Esiason- CBS
37. RSAR – Mike Greenberg- ESPN
38. RHHA – Peter Gammons – ESPN
39. RHHA – Gary McCord – CBS
40. RSAR – Nick Faldo- CBS
Chad’s Analysis: Greenberg is funny, but he needs a jock to play off of to get the comedy. Eisen and Greenburg in your studio is going to produce a Vegas over/under of .5 laughs per show. I enjoy laughing at some of things anchors cook up (all though I can’t stand Stu Scott, just like you). Gammons is a baseball legend – and he looks like it too. McCord will keep the mood light in the golf booth, just in case Tiger breaks a leg and happens to be out of contention. Oh wait, he stays in contention despite that!
Justin’s Analysis: I’ll have to admit that Greeny and Eisen probably aren’t the most interesting studion duo out there, but I have plans for that, don’t worry. And as far as Nick Faldo goes, I had to ask Chad who he was, because I couldn’t remember his name. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, you should really keep Reynolds away from Bonnie, I hear he doesn’t always play nice with the ladies. I like Gammons but he’s had a stroke and he’s a Red Sox guy, which pretty much makes him untouchable in my book.
Final eight picks:
41. RSAR – Karl Ravech – ESPN
42. RHHA – John Madden – NBC
43. RHHA – Howie Schwab – ESPN
44. RSAR – Ken “Hawk” Harrelson – CSN/WGN
45. RSAR – Eric Karabell – ESPN
46. RHHA – Kirk Herbstreit – ESPN
47. RHHA – Chris Berman – CBS
48. RSAR – Jamal Mashburn – ESPN
Justin’s Analysis: And finally I can unveil the conerstone of my network: Happy Hour Fun Time with Hawk, Chip and Miller! Since I never listen to baseball commentary anyways I thought I’d have some fun with my booth and put a couple of known drinkers together with a guy who pronounces names like he’s drunk. Just imagine the endorsement opportunities. The only downside I see here is Hawk jumping out of the booth in a drunken rage to hunt down a ump who missed a call. But that’s when I unleash my secret weapon… we cut to Erin Andrews doing an interview with a group of sorority girls at the game. Finally my plan lives… it’s ALIVE!
Chad’s Analysis: Wow! Three play-by-play guys in one booth, one of which is permanently wasted, another has alcoholism in his family and the last talks like he’s drunk. Erin is going to barely keep your baseball crew afloat – and I can’t even imagine the lines they’ll use to hit on her! Some may question my Madden selection, but love him or hate him, you always watch him. Schwaby and Karabell will anchor our fantasy coverage, which probably pisses Matt Berry off since he’s the one that has the Emmy. Berman was not at all happy about falling this late, and his reaction shows…