Sunday, March 28, 2010

MVP of the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament goes to…

Gus Johnson has always had a huge following.  He always gets love from big time sports media personalities like Bill Simmons and Dan Patrick for his over-the-top hysterics when calling games.  For some, though, his screaming during games, like his call during the classic UCLA-Gonzaga game from 2006, is just too much. 

As much as I enjoyed watching him do play-by-play on games and as classic as that UCLA-Gonzaga call is, I always pondered in the back of my mind whether or not his screaming was really necessary and I wondered if he was actually a good announcer or if being loud was just kind of a gimmick that made him stand out amongst a sea of old boring white guys doing play-by-play.

I don’t wonder about that anymore.

His work during this year’s March Madness tournament has been outstanding.  As an announcer, he probably hasn’t changed at all, but I just think he’s been perfect in the games he has called.  Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen matchup between Xavier and Kansas St. was an epic game, the kind of game that reminds me why I bother watching sports in the first place.  And Gus just has a way of rising to the occasion in a way that no other play-by-play man can.

There’s a fine line between a media personality enhancing a sports presentation and making that presentation more about himself than the game that should be the focus.  It’s a line that Gus has always tip-toed along dangerously but somehow he usually ends up on the right side whether it’s college basketball, NFL games or MMA. I think what matters most is that his call made me just a little more invested in the game and the drama than if anyone else had called it.




For good measure, here’s that “OH GOD!” call from Week 2 of this past NFL season when Brandon Stokley of the Broncos reminds everyone why people practice the tip drill. 

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