Favorite Color Commentators of All Time
1. Hank Stram - This guy could literally call plays before they happened. I've seen him do it on more than one occasion. "The 49ers may try a reverse to Rice soon to get the Bucs out of this defense." Sure enough, on the very next play, reverse to Rice. Sure, he may have talked to Bill Walsh before the game about the scripted first 15 plays or something, but it really didn't come across this way.
2. Bill Parcells - Parcells is fascinating no matter what role he's in, and this was no exception. He only did it for one year (1992), but he and Marv Albert were absolute heaven as a tandem.
3. Dick Vermeil - You'll notice a trend here...all the best color guys (to me) are former coaches. Vermeil was one of those guys who did his ******* research before games. He had all kinds of information from the coaching staffs of the teams he was covering.
4. John Madden in the 80s - I make this distinction because Madden in the 80s, which a lot of people don't seem to realize, was a different type of color commentator than he became later on. He was a true coach-analyst in those days, passionately discussing player techniques and various play calling strategies. Analytical-Madden eventually gave way to "BOOM, BAM, CIRCLE THE LAYGS OF THAT TURDUCKEN" Madden, which was OK in bits...but I prefer the younger guy who didn't limit his analysis to "X player is BIG and STRONG" and "Yeaaah annnnnd ya know, great players make great plays because they're great. X is a great player, and he just made a great play."