The sensation of goosebumps football fans experience as NFL-themed music blares out of their TV speakers for the first time in months is unlike any other. For what it's worth, the "NFL on Fox" theme is superior to all the others, but I'm getting goosebumps no matter which one I hear. Listen to this and tell me you don't want to sprint through a wall. Your team could be headed for a 17-0 season or an 0-17 season, and it just doesn't matter. You're pumped.
And just like the signature theme music, networks also rely on their broadcast teams to make the NFL experience as enjoyable and pulse-pounding as possible for the massive audience that tunes in each week. Of course, fans are a little bit less agreeable as to which announcers they favor in comparison to which theme songs they like — how can you not like all of those anthems? — but they're in important part of the game-watching environment, and there's no arguing that. Unless, of course, you'd prefer to mute your TV or are looking forward to the reported potential "announcer-less" option from Amazon in future seasons.
If you fit into that last group, or if you like to sync your broadcast up to your local announcers on the radio — and we're definitely not opposed to that! — then this article doesn't apply to you. But for everyone else who will be turning their TV speakers up to 100 and letting the broadcast flow throughout your home, here's the rundown of each major network's broadcasting teams ahead of the 2021 NFL season. New additions to broadcast teams will be bolded. Their Week 1 assignments will be italicized next to the broadcast team listings.
Can you believe that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have now been calling games together on Fox for two full decades? As they get prepared to call their 20th season together, they lead the way for Fox's broadcasting teams, with a few new faces in the mix as well:
— Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (game analyst), Erin Andrews (reporter), Tom Rinaldi (reporter on "Game of the Week" editions), Kristina Pink (reporter on "Thursday Night Football" editions), Mike Pereira (rules analyst) | GB @ NO
— Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play), Greg Olsen (game analyst), Pam Oliver (reporter) | PHI @ ATL
— Adam Amin (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (game analyst), Shannon Spake (reporter) | DEN @ NYG
— Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Jonathan Vilma (game analyst), Sara Walsh and Lindsay Czarniak (reporter) | SEA @ IND
— Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (game analyst), Jennifer Hale (reporter) | MIN @ CIN
— Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Mark Sanchez (game analyst), Laura Okmin (reporter) | SF @ DET
— Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Aqib Talib (game analyst), Megan Olivi (reporter)
Dean Blandino will also join various broadcast teams throughout the season as a rules analyst, while Joe Davis will fill in as a play-by-play commentator as well.
— Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (game analyst), Tracy Wolfson (reporter) | CLE @ KC
— Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Charles Davis (game analyst), Evan Washburn (reporter) | PIT @ BUF
— Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Trent Green (game analyst), Melanie Collins (reporter) | MIA @ NE
— Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (game analyst), AJ Ross (reporter) | JAX @ HOU
— Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), James Lofton (game analyst) | NYJ @ CAR
— New pairing: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Jay Feely (game analyst) | LAC @ WAS
— New pairing: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Tiki Barber (game analyst) | ARI @ TEN
In addition to the seven broadcast teams above, play-by-play announcer Beth Mowens will call select games, and reporters Sherree Burruss and Amanda Balionis will contribute throughout the year.
Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth return as the play-by-play announcer and game analyst, respectively, for "Sunday Night Football" broadcasts, in addition to the opening game of the season on Thursday night between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Michele Tafoya will be the sideline reporter, while John Parry will be the rules analyst.
Steve Levy (play-by-play), Brian Griese and Louis Riddick (game analysts) will return to the "Monday Night Football" booth this season, with Lisa Salters as the sideline reporter. The first game they'll call will be between the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.
In addition, Peyton and Eli Manning will run the "Monday Night Football MegaCast" on ESPN2 for 10 games this season, including the first three contests on the schedule. For more information, read below.