Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Announcer Milestones, Post-Veterans Day Edition

The list continues.

Earlier this week, I observed that it was high time to update our list of announcer milestones, and thus came to be the list of about 80 such landmarks occurring from mid-May to mid-November. That leaves us with a more manageable chunk of about seven weeks, running from Monday, Nov. 14 through the end of 2022, which we will cover here.

Our data comes from a series of collections that started on the forums at the 506 Sports website, which you probably know as the place that makes those color-coded maps of which NFL game is being broadcast in which markets every Sunday afternoon. Those forums kicked the bucket in May, moving over to the 506 Sports Discord and an archive wiki, which precipitated a bit of a hiatus here as we figured out how to get stuff updated after the change. Then Newton’s First Law of Motion kicked in, and a body at rest tended to stay at rest, and all of a sudden here we are at the end of December.

As always, the data wouldn’t be here without the work of people like John Moynahan, Tim Brulia, Jeff Haggar, Jimmy Delach and J.P. Kirby. They did a lot of digging to come up with lists that I herded into spreadsheets, and spreadsheets begat numbers to make posts like this possible.

We keep the leaders page updated, allegedly weekly, at the link in this sentence. That’s where our overall leaders image (pictured in the header) comes from.

By way of reminder, we track announcers in three categories, which I will probably refer to as “flavors” sometime in this post. You can be a play-by-play announcer, a color commentator, or a sideline reporter (also called a field, courtside or rinkside reporter). Following the established precedent in the listings community, an analyst who works from field level (popularized by Fox’s use of Tony Siragusa on the NFL) is credited as an analyst rather than a reporter.

We have five main listings — one for each of the four major pro sports (MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL) in the United States, plus a separate listing for the NHL in Canada. While I do track some collegiate announcers in terms of including them in the daily schedules, there isn’t a tabulator for them. All of these listings track only national network telecasts, not including teams’ local broadcasts, although there is occasionally some crossover when a local NHL feed is picked up in Canada.

On top of those listings, there are three sets of totals, which come from arithmetic sums of the previous five categories. These are a cumulative NHL total, a cumulative total across the four American lists, and a cumulative total across all four sports including Canada. The NHL totals don’t double-count a game shown on both sides of the 49th parallel – if your Canadian telecast is shown in America or vice versa, you get credit in each individual listing but only one game in the cumulative totals.

t this time, I don’t track studio personnel, although there is some blurring of the line between hosts and rinkside reporters in our old hockey data. The primary person affected by this is longtime CBC host Ron MacLean, who is credited with 545 host appearances through 1998 and has probably added another 1,000 over the last quarter-century.

Right now, soccer is in an in-between stage: its listings are almost complete over the last decade or so, but there’s enough fuzziness in prior years that I don’t feel good about adding the futbol to the football and other sports yet.

(Because this list is longer than I’d like, checking in at 29 blurbs and 2,500 words in total, the Find feature is probably your friend if you’re looking for a specific announcer.)

We start with an item that actually belongs in the previous post but didn’t make it. On Sunday, Nov. 13, the Canucks-Bruins game on Sportsnet in Canada marks the 55,000th game in our Big Five listings (NFL, NBA, MLB, American NHL and Canadian NHL). The Canucks local crew of John Shorthouse, John Garrett and Dan Murphy has the call.

Tuesday, Nov. 15 – ESPN NHL analyst Brian Boucher breaks a tie with Steve Levy for the 11th-most national telecasts of that league in the U.S. when he calls his 373rd game, Flyers-Blue Jackets with Bob Wischusen. Levy had pulled level on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters handles her 450th NBA telecast, a Celtics-Hawks showdown in Atlanta with Mark Jones and Doris Burke. Salters is the 15th NBA commentator to reach 450 games – in fact, she ties Bob Neal for 14th the same day – and the second courtside reporter, trailing Craig Sager. With her NBA opportunities somewhat limited in the fall because of Monday Night Football, Salters passes Neal on a Celtics-Warriors game on Saturday, Dec. 10 alongside Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – TNT’s principal NHL booth analyst, Ed Olczyk, handles his 850th U.S. national NHL telecast as the Kings square off with the Oilers north of the border. Olczyk, who is joined by usual partners Kenny Albert and Keith Jones, becomes the fourth person to reach 850 on the NHL, trailing Bill Clement, Mike Emrick and Pierre McGuire. He is the 15th person to reach 850 games in the four major American pro sports.

Friday, Nov. 18 – The Bucks-76ers telecast on ESPN, helmed by Marc Kestecher, Doris Burke and Cassidy Hubbarth, marks the 9,000th NBA telecast in our database. That’s almost 110 regulation 82-game seasons.

Saturday, Nov. 19 Louie DeBrusk of Rogers’ NHL coverage calls his 323rd NHL game, breaking a tie with Gary Dornhoefer for 19th among analysts between the U.S. and Canada as the Oilers host the Golden Knights. Harnarayan Singh calls play-by-play and Scott Oake reports rinkside. DeBrusk had created this tie on Nov. 12, which was in the previous post.

Sunday, Nov. 20 – A season-long game of leapfrog continues as Kenny Albert calls the Buccaneers-Browns game for Fox alongside Jonathan Vilma and Shannon Spake. The Sunday afternoon game is his 470th, tying Troy Aikman for #13 on the total NFL list. On Monday night, Aikman breaks the tie as he calls the 49ers-Cardinals game on ESPN with Joe Buck and Salters. The tie-untie proceeds to happen every week through Jan. 1-2 with Albert leveling the score on Sunday and Aikman pulling back ahead on Monday. I’m not going to note it every time.

Thursday, Nov. 24 – The early game of the NFL’s Thanksgiving tripleheader marks a round number for Jim Nantz, who calls his 450th game in that league as the Lions host the Bills. Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson round out the crew. Nantz is the 15th NFL commentator and ninth play-by-play announcer to reach the 450 mark.

Sunday, Nov. 27 – On the next CBS crew down the ladder, Evan Washburn ties Armen Keteyian for eighth place on the list of NFL sideline reporters with his 163rd game, Bengals-Titans. Ian Eagle and Charles Davis man the booth, as they do a week later when Washburn completes the pass of Keteyian with a Jets-Vikings tilt.

Monday, Nov. 28 – Edmonton-based rinkside reporter Gene Principe appears on his 200th national NHL telecast, a Panthers-Oilers tilt on Sportsnet and SN1 alongside Jack Michaels and DeBrusk. He’s the 13th reporter to the 200 mark in Canada and the 15th including American NHL telecasts, although as noted in the MacLean exception above, our data sources are kind of fuzzy in their delineation of “hosting” and “reporting.”

Wednesday, Nov. 30 – The dean of American NHL goaltender analysts, Darren Pang, moves up the list of color commentators when he works his 685th game on color duty, tying Doug Collins for 14th on our Big Five listings. His tie comes in Detroit as the Sabres visit the Red Wings alongside play-by-play man Brendan Burke and reporter Jackie Redmond, who are also with Pang a week later for Sabres-Blue Jackets when he completes the pass.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 Ed Olczyk meets a slightly more specific milestone, calling his 850th American national NHL telecast as the color commentator. Only Clement and McGuire have done more of that in the U.S. and only Hubie Brown and Joe Morgan have reached that mark in other American sports. The difference between this milestone and the one he reached on Nov. 16 is a pair of rinkside appearances for ESPN in 2002 and 2003. Albert and Jones also join him for this game, which also involves the Oilers – visiting the Blackhawks.

Friday, Dec. 2 – Speaking of the Blackhawks, former Chicago color commentator Dale Tallon gets caught on the list of U.S. national NHL color commentators as A.J. Mleczko makes her 112th appearance, joining Mike Monaco on Predators-Islanders to tie for 14th on that list. Mleczko finishes the pass four weeks later on the penultimate day of 2022 as Buccigross and Dominic Moore join her for Panthers-Hurricanes.

Monday, Dec. 5 – Two of the Monday Night Football trio show up on this list for different reasons as the Buccaneers host the Saints. Joe Buck calls his 450th NFL game (trailing Jim Nantz to that mark by 11 days), becoming the 16th announcer and 10th play-by-play man to reach that point. Analyst Troy Aikman ties Phil Simms with his 472nd telecast and the two men share 12th place overall and fourth among NFL color commentators along with 20th place among all U.S. color commentators. Lisa Salters handles the sidelines. Aikman completes the pass of Simms a week later when the same crew calls Patriots-Cardinals.

Sunday, Dec. 11 – Versatile Fox commentator Kenny Albert calls his 472nd NFL telecast, creating a three-way tie at 12th overall on that sport with Aikman and Simms. Sideline reporter Shannon Spake also pulls into a tie with Lynn Swann for 15th on the NFL sideline reporter list with her 87th game. While Aikman pulls ahead of Simms one night later with his Monday night game (see Nov. 20), Albert goes on to complete the pass of Simms and Spake finishes passing Swann on Dec. 18 with Patriots-Raiders. Jonathan Vilma is the analyst on both games.

Sunday, Dec. 11 – Former ESPN commentator and current Boston Bruins voice Jack Edwards appears on a national NHL telecast in Canada for the 196th time, tying Jim Robson for 13th among play-by-play announcers, when Sportsnet lifts the NESN feed of Bruins-Golden Knights that has Edwards alongside Andy Brickley and Sophia Jurksztowicz. He passes Robson two days later on an Islanders-Bruins game with similar circumstances.

Saturday, Dec. 17 – Hockey Night In Canada analyst Craig Simpson pulls into a tie with Bill Clement as Simpson works Maple Leafs-Canucks for his 1,007th game of NHL colour commentary between the U.S. and Canada. That figure ties for fourth among NHL analysts, trailing Pierre McGuire, Harry Neale and Dick Irvin, and also ties for fifth among analysts across the board, where Hubie Brown also factors in. Chris Cuthbert and Kyle Bukauskas also appear on the telecast, and they join Simpson when he finishes the pass with a New Year’s Eve visit to Maple Leafs-Avalanche.

Saturday, Dec. 17Laura Okmin works her 240th game as a sideline reporter across our four main American listings, the Dolphins-Bills game on NFL Network with Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez and Peter Schrager. That ties Bob Harwood for the 14th-most appearances by a sideline reporter in that aggregation. She passes Harwood with the Seahawks-Chiefs game on Christmas Eve alongside Kugler and Sanchez.

Sunday, Dec. 18 – One Fox reporter ties another, albeit with the latter having moved to play-by-play, as Kristina Pink ties Chris Myers with her 135th NFL appearance on the sideline at Saints-Falcons. The duo shares 12th place for six days before Pink assumes control outright on Dec. 24 with Giants-Vikings. Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth handle the booth for both games.

Sunday, Dec. 18 – The NFL’s all-time leader in sideline appearances, Pam Oliver, reaches new heights with her 500th broadcast in that capacity, an Eagles-Bears game with Joe Davis and Daryl “Moose” Johnston. Oliver is the ninth NFL broadcaster to reach the big 5-0-0, a list that includes five play-by-play announcers and three analysts (I counted Pat Summerall in the former category and Frank Gifford in the latter). The game is also her 529th in the four major American pro sports, which ties Michele Tafoya for fourth among sideline reporters and eighth among sideline reporters in all five of our main listings. She passes Oliver on the Christmas Day Packers-Dolphins game, which is also with Davis and Johnston.

Tuesday, Dec. 20 – TNT’s Reggie Miller calls his 610th national telecast as a color commentator, a Warriors-Knicks game with Brian Anderson and Jared Greenberg. That ties him with Brian Engblom for the 14th-most by an analyst in our four American listings. 

Wednesday, Dec. 21 John Bartlett also reaches Jim Robson’s milestone of 196 national NHL play-by-play appearances in Canada, which now marks 14th place after Edwards passed a week earlier. Bartlett ties Robson on a Canadiens-Avalanche game alongside Garry Galley and Kyle Bukauskas; he passes the milestone a week later on Canadiens-Lightning with the same crew.

Sunday, Dec. 25 – CBS’s lead NFL sideline reporter, Tracy Wolfson, ties Bob Harwood for the 15th-most sideline reports in the four major American pro sports when she appears on her 240th game, a Broncos-Rams Christmas matinee with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.

Monday, Dec. 26 – Joe Buck calls his 1,090th game across our five main listings, which ties Mike Emrick for 12th-most in that universe. He is joined by Aikman and Salters for a Chargers-Colts contest at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Wednesday, Dec. 28 Garry Galley becomes the 11th NHL colour commentator to handle 600 national games between the U.S. and Canada as he describes a Canadiens-Lightning tilt for Sportsnet with Bartlett and Bukauskas. Galley is also the 16th person to reach 600 analyst games across our five main listings.

Wednesday, Dec. 28 – TNT’s last NHL doubleheader of the calendar year gets Kenny Albert to the plateau of 1,300 national telecasts, making him the fourth U.S. announcer (plus Bob Cole, Jim Hughson, Chris Cuthbert and part of Pierre McGuire in Canada) to reach that mark. Olczyk and Jones join Albert on a Bruins-Devils contest.

Friday, Dec. 30 Ray Ferraro rings out 2022 with his 400th national NHL telecast between the U.S. and Canada, becoming the 15th colour commentator to reach that milestone with an Oilers-Kraken showdown at Climate Pledge Arena alongside Leah Hextall.

Saturday, Dec. 31 Garry Galley reaches 600 national NHL telecasts in Canada alone with his New Year’s Eve call of the Canadiens-Capitals game with John Bartlett and Shawn McKenzie. (The difference between this milestone and the one Galley reached Dec. 28 is a single NBCSN telecast lifted from Sportsnet’s regional network at the end of the 2013 season.) With that figure, he ties Pierre McGuire for the fifth-most Canadian telecasts by an analyst and the 13th-most Canadian telecasts overall.

Saturday, Dec. 31 – The last game entered in our records in 2022 facilitates a tie as Louie DeBrusk matches Joe Micheletti with 339 NHL games called as an analyst. The two men stand tied at 339 games entering 2023. DeBrusk gets there on a Jets-Oilers game alongside Harnarayan Singh and Principe.

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