The best and worst commentary crews

There are two things everyone believes they can do better than the present incumbent. Manage the England football team and present a TV show. Roy Hodgson has the first one lined up and the level of expertise and skill needed for the latter is way beyond most people's true comprehension.

But in spite of being the best at their profession, this does not mean NFL TV crews are immune from criticism. There are good ones and there are bad ones. And the good ones will have their detractors and the bad ones will have their fans. Just in David Diehl's case, not very many of them.

The 2014 Buccaneers saw eight different commentary crews during the regular season, 13 of the games covered by Fox and three by CBS. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are amongst the best in the business and did the Thursday night shellacking the Bucs took in Atlanta, whilst the two inter-conference games in Tampa were presented by Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots who had their moments as well.

Unfortunately last year's Bucs were pretty awful on the field and hence usually got the bottom end of the coverage crews allocated to their games. Four doses of Thom Brennaman and David Diehl were four too many as Brennaman's play-by-play skills have eroded in recent years and Diehl's analysis was consistently wrong, misguided and badly timed. The one game he did with Justin Kutcher was a true lowpoint.

We also had three Dick Stocton/Kirk Morrison combinations and the latter, a former Raider linebacker, was a real find as an analyst, proving to be everything Diehl was not. And when he teamed up with the veteran Sam Rosen for the season finale, Morrison was on the ball once more.

Stockton did a pair of games with former Browns' QB Brady Quinn who also showed a lot more aptitude for the commentary booth than he did the playing field. And we also had two games from the new Tampa-based pairing of Chris Myers and Ronde Barber, the latter proving to be much improved over his rookie season.

So who are the best in the business? You cannot look much further than Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to be honest although Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden push them close on Monday Nights. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have worked together long enough to be regarded as Fox Sports' No.1 pair but any crew that features Tony Siragusa falls into the Diehl category.

All-time Buccaneer commentaries
One of the results of having such a massive game DVD collection is being able to recognise particular crews through the years. And with only a handful of games missing from my collection now, we can make a mock league table of all-time Buc game calls. Then again, with some of the poor seasons in franchise history, this may not be a listing you would want to be top of.

Dick Stockton leads the way with 75 games followed by Kenny Albert at 41. Tim Ryan seemingly called every game in the 1980s for CBS and stands at 40 with Sam Rosen just behind at 37. Of the other memorables, the late Pat Summerall did 23, Joe Buck 25, Al Michaels 15 and even three for Bob Costas before his hair retired to a studio.

Of the analysts, Hank Stram is out front with 39, ten ahead of the legendary John Madden. There have been several with Buccaneer connections who have appeared including Beasley Reece, John Lynch, Jon Gruden, Jason Garrett, Ronde Barber and Sam Wyche. And how about that the immortal Howard Cosell's final Monday Night Football game came in the 1983 Bucs v Packers game at the Old Sombrero?