I’d like to comment on an article I read on today’s New York Daily News. According to media columnist Bob Raissman, The NFL Network is having incumbant play-by-play voice Bob Papa re-audition for his job. I won’t reiterate Raissman’s arguments, which I agree with, so I will just add this point: Bob Papa is one of the best, if not the best football broadcaster out there right now. He is better than Al Michaels (NBC); better than Jim Nantz (CBS); better than Joe Buck (FOX); and better than Mike Tirico (ESPN). If there is a current announcer better than Papa, please let me know.
Like most people, I do not have access to th NFL Network. So how can I vouch for Papa’s football skills? I mean, just because he can broadcast boxing, that may or may not transfer over to another sport. The answer is that I have listened to his voice on the radio for years, doing play-by-play for the New York Giants. Disclaimer: I am a Jets’ fan, but I would rather listen to the partnership of Papa and analyst Carl Banks, than the Jets radio counterparts, Bob Wischusen and Marty Lyons. Papa and Banks call it down the middle, or as close as you can get. He is perfect for a national audience. I hope that one day Car Banks will get a national network gig.
In all fairness to NFL Network, Papa’s competition is Gus Johnson, who, among other jobs, is the voice of Madden ’11. I enjoy listening to a Gus Johnson play-by-play, whether it is football, college or pro basketball. I have no qualms if Johnson does replace Papa. However, I think the broadcasts will be way too over-the-top if you have a broadcast booth of Johnson and Chris Collinsworth. But wouldn’t it be ironic if NFLN decides it would be best to pair the excitable Johnson with a more calm and serene commentator such as… a Carl Banks.