Commentator evaluation: Jim Nantz

Rate Jim Nantz as a play-by-play commentator (NFL, college basketball, golf, etc.):

  • 5 stars - the best (or jointly the best) in the business at what he does

    Votes: 7 6.5%
  • 4.5 stars

    Votes: 11 10.3%
  • 4 stars - very good at what he does, but a notch below the very best

    Votes: 23 21.5%
  • 3.5 stars

    Votes: 22 20.6%
  • 3 stars - about average; competent, but not much more than that

    Votes: 9 8.4%
  • 2.5 stars

    Votes: 10 9.3%
  • 2 stars - substandard; lucky to still be making a living at this

    Votes: 10 9.3%
  • 1.5 stars

    Votes: 4 3.7%
  • 1 star - should be fired tomorrow for gross incompetence

    Votes: 11 10.3%
  • No opinion (don't know him or his work)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    107
I'm slightly nervous about opening this thread in the middle of a Patriots game on which Nantz is at the helm - and a game which isn't going very well for the Patriots at halftime at that. But at least everyone's thoughts about Nantz should be fresh by the time you get over here...and someone did request that we do Nantz soon, so his wish is my command.

Anyway, Jim Nantz is very close to having my dream resume, as far as currently active commentators are concerned. I'll suggest that we lump in his college basketball and golf work into a single thread, as I think his style is pretty similar across sports - and that style is definitely distinctive, for better and/or worse. I'll leave it there for the moment...what do you think about Nantz as a commentator? And for those of you who are so inclined, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts regarding how close to (or far from) his peak Nantz is now, a subject on which quite a few people made interesting comments in the Cris Collinsworth thread
 

glennhoffmania

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He needs to stick to golf. Anything faster moving than that and he seems to get confused.
 

luckiestman

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4 could be 4.5. Can’t grade him against an ideal, have to grade him against the competition and there just are not many better guys.
 

johnmd20

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I am happy to see Nantz has over 25% with 1 star. SoSH has never been more impressive.
 

Catcher Block

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I have him at a solid 4. I don't have a huge issue with him, particularly calling Pats games. I don't hear the same bias that others post about--I don't think he's excited if they lose or miserable if they win. I think he appreciates the novelty that a New England loss is still a rare thing and tries to convey that to the national audience.
 

glennhoffmania

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4 could be 4.5. Can’t grade him against an ideal, have to grade him against the competition and there just are not many better guys.
Why? Why should we give him a higher grade just because his current competition sucks? He's either good or he's not. And he's not.
 

luckiestman

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Why? Why should we give him a higher grade just because his current competition sucks? He's either good or he's not. And he's not.
I read the grading criteria the OP set. I only have Michaels as better for NFL. I do not like Buck.
 

Harry Hooper

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I have him at a solid 4. I don't have a huge issue with him, particularly calling Pats games. I don't hear the same bias that others post about--I don't think he's excited if they lose or miserable if they win. I think he appreciates the novelty that a New England loss is still a rare thing and tries to convey that to the national audience.
He's really not biased against the Pats, he was just over the Moon for Peyton in any game he was playing in. So, if Peyton playing, Nance was a 1.5. Otherwise, he's a solid 3.5.
 

Marciano490

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I hate Nantz. I get it in golf, but why would a football announcer be so smug? Buck at least has become somewhat self-effacing. Like shouldn’t these be guys you actually want to watch a game with? I wouldn’t want any of them at a bar with me.
 

luckiestman

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I hate Nantz. I get it in golf, but why would a football announcer be so smug? Buck at least has become somewhat self-effacing. Like shouldn’t these be guys you actually want to watch a game with? I wouldn’t want any of them at a bar with me.
Buck is worse to me. The way he flipped out about Moss in GB is exhibit A of why I don’t like his act.
 

Marciano490

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Buck is worse to me. The way he flipped out about Moss in GB is exhibit A of why I don’t like his act.
Yeah I used to hate Buck more, but I feel like he’s mellowed a bit and learned to make fun of himself a little. He still seems a little creepy, but he’s background noise. Nantz actively annoys me.
 

Dollar

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For me, he's well below the other premier announcers (Michaels and Buck), and trails Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan in my personal rankings. I think my biggest issue with him is the way he drags out words in the middle of big plays in a very annoying way, like "Mahomes throws it deep, to KelceeeeeAAAYYYYEEE, touchdown!" I only started noticing it this season, and now it annoys me more than any announcer other than Tessitore. I just went back and watched some highlights from 10-15 years ago and I didn't mind him aside from the general smugness.
 

am_dial

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Jim Nantz is like the living embodiment of a Norman Rockwell painting: insipid, safe, faux-folksy, and way too self-assured of his bland, traditional worldview. I don’t think he has an anti-Patriots bias (though he definitely had a pro-Peyton Manning bias). I just find him utterly insufferable. I hate his smug face and I hate the timbre of his voice. And I agree that he’s a beat or two slow in calling the action.
 

luckiestman

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Jim Nantz is like the living embodiment of a Norman Rockwell painting: insipid, safe, faux-folksy, and way too self-assured of his bland, traditional worldview. I don’t think he has an anti-Patriots bias (though he definitely had a pro-Peyton Manning bias). I just find him utterly insufferable. I hate his smug face and I hate the timbre of his voice. And I agree that he’s a beat or two slow in calling the action.
Now I want to change my 4 to a 5
 

Kliq

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His ball washing of Peyton annoyed the crap out of me; but overall I think he is very solid. He is kind of smug, but I think Romo has actually helped him a lot and drawn more personality out of Nantz with his enthusiasm for the game.
 

Spacemans Bong

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He's fine, certainly far better in enthusiasm and delivery than Buck, who has the pipes of a twice-divorced public high school English teacher and openly doesn't give a shit about sports anymore. I agree that Romo has helped him come out of his shell a bit.
 

cornwalls@6

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I don't really mind him on football/Pats games. I don't think he has anti-Pats bias, but he definitely was a Peyton worshiper. I think Romo has made a big difference in the broadcast, and Nantz seems to defer to him and set him up better than he did with Simms. It's golf where I find him insufferable. I can't stand his cloying, sentimental, ball-washing of the Masters and Augusta. Lilting strings and piano combined with his reverent tones starting every broadcast there is beyond a tired cliche at this point. And his Michelson worship is grating as well. I don't follow college BB nearly like I once did, so I can't say how he's progressed, or not, in that arena. When I was watching it more closely, I thought he was fine and competent on those broadcasts.
 

Dick Pole Upside

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3.5.

Downgraded half a point for his stupefying tradition of giving away his own necktie to the Final Four's most inspirational (to him) player. I can't find the right word to describe just how negatively this impacts me. Barf.
 
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Nator

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I'll give him a 3.5 . I think Al Michaels is the 5 star football announcer even at his advancing age, but Jim is good. The heavily mentioned Manning worship cost him a half point (I think they have the same agent, which may account for his tongue bathing of Peyton).

He is excellent at letting the NFL broadcast speak for itself when it needs to, and he dials up his volume judiciously when the action calls for it, unlike Joe Tessitore who is always in high gear.

I'll also add that when he was the CBS NFL studio host he was great. I wished he stayed in the studio.

"Hello Friends" and his all out smarmy delivery about Augusta and the hillbillies that run that course is nauseating. That cost him another half point, which is too bad, because when there's actual golf happening he is terrific.



Lastly, my final half point deduction stems from his one shying moment during college hoops. I know when you're in the booth it is really bad form to ever openly disagree with your partner, he really should've confronted Billy Packer on the obvious flagrant foul Gerald Henderson committed on Tyler Hansbrough in the waning moments of a UNC win over Duke in 2007.

https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/packer-foul-intentional-article-1.214025

From the Article:

In case you missed it, here's what happened: With 17.5 seconds left in the game, and Carolina up by 12, 84-72, Hansbrough missed two foul shots. He grabbed his second miss in the lane and went up for a shot. Duke's Steve Johnson knocked the ball away from him. Henderson went airborne toward Hansbrough. With Henderson clearly out of control, his arm came down hard, smashing Hansbrough across the bridge of his nose and knocking the big man to the floor.
When Hansbrough got up, blood was pouring from his broken nose.
On the TV side, Packer had another shade of blue in mind. It only took him one replay to clear Henderson, saying the foul was not "nasty." Then, twisting logic, Packer actually blamed the victim. He questioned Carolina coach Roy Williams' motives.
"There are 14.5 seconds to go and North Carolina is 12 up. What's Hansbrough (doing) on the floor?" Packer asked indignantly.
By the third replay, Packer had stepped up his defense of Henderson. "That was not a dirty foul at all," Packer said.
As the replays continued - CBS aired nine - Packer continued, saying Henderson had done no wrong because he was simply "going for the ball." For that reason, Packer said the officials (Karl Hess, Les Jones, Jamie Luckie) should not have called a flagrant foul on the Duke freshman.
"I don't think it (the foul) was intentional at all," Packer said.
For balance sake, Jim Nantz, Packer's play-by-play partner, should have chimed in. Did he agree with Packer? Did he have a different take? Nantz offered no opinion. He went in the tank for his partner, allowing him to offer a dubious soliloquy.
Naturally, when the officials ejected Henderson for a flagrant foul, based on what they called "combative and confrontational" action, Packer scapegoated them.
"This," Packer said, "is a poor piece of officiating."
 

Bread of Yaz

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Jim Nantz is like the living embodiment of a Norman Rockwell painting: insipid, safe, faux-folksy, and way too self-assured of his bland, traditional worldview. I don’t think he has an anti-Patriots bias (though he definitely had a pro-Peyton Manning bias). I just find him utterly insufferable. I hate his smug face and I hate the timbre of his voice. And I agree that he’s a beat or two slow in calling the action.
This. You helped convince me to go 1.5 from 2.5. Perfect encapsulation.
 

johnmd20

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Jim Nantz is like the living embodiment of a Norman Rockwell painting: insipid, safe, faux-folksy, and way too self-assured of his bland, traditional worldview. I don’t think he has an anti-Patriots bias (though he definitely had a pro-Peyton Manning bias). I just find him utterly insufferable. I hate his smug face and I hate the timbre of his voice. And I agree that he’s a beat or two slow in calling the action.
This is art. This is poetry. This is the greatest thing ever written in the history of words. I give you call the awards, sir.
 

Kliq

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He gets a bonus point from me for his heroic performance following the Ravens vs 49ers SB when he had to interview Ray Lewis and gamely held onto the microphone as Lewis attempted to pull it out of his hands so he could go on some sort of endless tirade about god and football and obstruction of justice pleas to avoid murder convictions. It took a real man to hold onto that microphone.
 

mauf

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Jim Nantz is like the living embodiment of a Norman Rockwell painting: insipid, safe, faux-folksy, and way too self-assured of his bland, traditional worldview. I don’t think he has an anti-Patriots bias (though he definitely had a pro-Peyton Manning bias). I just find him utterly insufferable. I hate his smug face and I hate the timbre of his voice. And I agree that he’s a beat or two slow in calling the action.
As @johnmd20 said, this eloquently sums up what’s wrong with Jim Nantz. There are good people who like Jim Nantz, just as there are good people who decorate their homes at Christmas with those insipid carolers. I am just not one of them.

This would have been a 1-star review a couple years ago, but I’ve come to realize that some of what I loathed about Nantz was actually Phil Simms. Nantz has let Romo blossom into the game’s best color commentator; he gets a second star for that.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Outside of the issue of that he brings a laminated picture of burnt toast to restaurants for breakfast to show the cook how he likes his toast I am fine with Nantz. He’s a solid national guy. He’s way better without Simms and you can generally ignore him if you want.
 

Dotrat

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Golf is the only sport he seems to enjoy. I find him beyond boring doing the NFL. Although Romo has helped to loosen him up a bit, he still sounds to me like someone who simply doesn't enjoy the game.
 

Average Reds

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Golf is the only sport he seems to enjoy. I find him beyond boring doing the NFL. Although Romo has helped to loosen him up a bit, he still sounds to me like someone who simply doesn't enjoy the game.
It’s far worse than you might think.

He has said many times that his favorite moment as a broadcaster was when he got to call the 1992 Masters. (Fred Couples was his college roommate.)

Of course, he’s so infatuated with Augusta and so arrogant about “his role in the game” that he's come to believe that it is appropriate for him to insert himself into the action.

Most shamefully, he tried to get Tiger Woods kicked out of the Masters one year by contacting the rules officials after the third round and claiming that Woods took an improper drop. (Mind you, the rules issue in question had already been reviewed/approved by the officials.)

He was successful in getting the rules officials to penalize Woods after the fact, but because Nantz didn’t understand a change in how rules were applied, he and Faldo spent an hour or so claiming (falsely) that Woods was getting favorable treatment and that the only honorable outcome would be for Woods to withdraw, etc. When he later learned that his interpretation of how the rules should be applied was incorrect, he acted like someone had run over his dog. (The game thread that year was epic.)

He’s a pompous ass who reminds me of nothing more than the Robert Duvall character in The Natural - he’s the self-appointed guardian of the game.

Reminding myself of that was enough to get me to lower my vote.
 

moretsyndrome

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1.5. He was once perfectly described by Deadspin as a Country Club toadie. One of the main ingredients in his Peyton Manning love affair is that Manning's the ultimate high-performing legacy. To people like Nantz, that's just what the doctor ordered.


 
Most shamefully, he tried to get Tiger Woods kicked out of the Masters one year by contacting the rules officials after the third round and claiming that Woods took an improper drop. (Mind you, the rules issue in question had already been reviewed/approved by the officials.)

He was successful in getting the rules officials to penalize Woods after the fact, but because Nantz didn’t understand a change in how rules were applied, he and Faldo spent an hour or so claiming (falsely) that Woods was getting favorable treatment and that the only honorable outcome would be for Woods to withdraw, etc. When he later learned that his interpretation of how the rules should be applied was incorrect, he acted like someone had run over his dog. (The game thread that year was epic.)
You're spinning the story about Woods' illegal drop at the 2013 Masters in a way which is pretty much as uncharitable toward Nantz as possible. David Eger first phoned in regarding the potential rules violation, not Nantz; whatever Nantz's role in the situation may have been, to say that he "was successful in getting the rules officials to penalize Woods" suggests both an intent and an agency in Nantz which seem highly doubtful to me. See, for example:
And if Nantz and Faldo were wrong about how the rules had changed, they were wrong with regard how what used to be an automatic disqualification - for signing an incorrect scorecard - could be changed to a two-shot penalty at the committee's discretion, not the penalty itself (which absolutely should have been applied). I don't want to re-litigate the rules discussion again, except to say that a) there were and are multiple arguments about the incident in question which are perfectly legitimate, and b) for all of the many possible crimes against broadcasting one could conceivably charge Nantz with, both generally and specific to golf, to me this is a very weird one upon which to center the prosecution.
 

Average Reds

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You're spinning the story about Woods' illegal drop at the 2013 Masters in a way which is pretty much as uncharitable toward Nantz as possible. David Eger first phoned in regarding the potential rules violation, not Nantz; whatever Nantz's role in the situation may have been, to say that he "was successful in getting the rules officials to penalize Woods" suggests both an intent and an agency in Nantz which seem highly doubtful to me. See, for example:
And if Nantz and Faldo were wrong about how the rules had changed, they were wrong with regard how what used to be an automatic disqualification - for signing an incorrect scorecard - could be changed to a two-shot penalty at the committee's discretion, not the penalty itself (which absolutely should have been applied). I don't want to re-litigate the rules discussion again, except to say that a) there were and are multiple arguments about the incident in question which are perfectly legitimate, and b) for all of the many possible crimes against broadcasting one could conceivably charge Nantz with, both generally and specific to golf, to me this is a very weird one upon which to center the prosecution.
Yeah, I’m going to disagree with you on this.

I know that Nantz was not the one who called it in. But he did reach out personally to the rules officials and discussed it with them that night. The following day, he was openly advocating for Tiger getting disqualified. That feels wildly inappropriate for an announcer.

You can make whatever excuses you want for his on-air performance the following day. To me, if he’s going to insert himself into the story and get on his high horse about how a player should be disqualified, he better damn well know the rule. He did not, and he created a ton of confusion for the viewing public.

You may feel that this is an odd criticism, but it came to me because of a comment in the post I quoted. And it seems almost bizarre to say that in a thread devoted to evaluating Jim Nantz that we shouldn’t discuss shitty things Jim Nantz has done.
 
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Mugsy's Jock

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I'm pretty sure I would hate Nantz personally, but his play-by-play work is really good -- calm, accurate, great pipes, doesn't overdo it. I realize this is sacrelige, but he's got as much Pat Summerall in him as anyone.
 

johnmd20

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I'm pretty sure I would hate Nantz personally, but his play-by-play work is really good -- calm, accurate, great pipes, doesn't overdo it. I realize this is sacrelige, but he's got as much Pat Summerall in him as anyone.
You're history's greatest monster.
 

Marciano490

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The only way Jim Nantz ever had any Pat Summerall in him is if he snorted his ashes.