Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer - Fall Edition


Last year I wrote about the junk drawer of the sports mind.  The junk drawer is that drawer somewhere in your house that you stash random items like scotch tape, glue, rubbers bands and scissors.  The sports mind also has a junk drawer, those random thoughts we have when watching the games and teams we love.  It may not relate to any one player, or team, or sport.  It could be something that bugs you, or something about which you feel strongly.

Like the junk drawer in your house, every now and then the sports mind's junk drawer needs to be cleaned out to make room for more stuff.  With summer over and fall upon us, it’s time once again to clean out my sports mind’s junk drawer. 

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Ranking NFL Network Broadcast teams

The NFL is different from the other three major sports in that there is no local television broadcast team that broadcasts their games.  The Patriots do not have the equivalent of a Dave O’Brien and Jerry Remy that bring the games into our homes on a regular basis.  This is because the NFL is a weekly event, and all games are broadcast on network TV.

With all games on network TV, the announcers rotate in based on the network who is covering the game, and the overall importance of the game.  Networks have their top announcing teams usually reserved for the big games or those games targeted for a national audience, while their lower tiered talent handle games involving lower tiered teams that will only be seen in those team’s regions.

Patriot fans have been fortunate that the team’s dominance over the last few decades have, more often than not, meant that their games get the #1 team from whichever network is carrying their game that week.  Here are my rankings of each networks #1 broadcast teams.

1.      Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth – NBC

Al Michaels may be a little past his prime, but he is still one of the best play-by-play men around.  He’s called Super Bowls, World Series, and Olympic events, most notably the 1980 USA Hockey “Miracle on Ice”.  He’s also been around long enough that he has no problem voicing his opinion on topics and doesn’t care if it doesn’t paint the league in the best light.

A lot of people don’t like Collinsworth.  He can get goofy at times and does have a tendency to gush over whatever star player he is covering that week.  But he also has the ability to quickly break down a play and identify why it worked or why it didn’t work.  While most analysts simply restate what you just saw, Collinsworth tells you why you saw it.

2.     Joe Buck and Troy Aikman – Fox

This tandem finishes a very close second to Michaels and Collinsworth.  Like Collinsworth, a lot of people don’t like Buck.  He can be sarcastic at times, but he has the ability to convey the magnitude of a moment solely through the modulation of his voice like no other in this group.

Aikman is a rare quality: a humble hall of famer.  For all the Dallas Cowboy games he has called in his career, if you didn’t already know that he quarterbacked the team to three Super Bowl wins you would never get that impression from him.  He also has the ability to quickly break down a play and inform the viewers of what’s going on inside the lines.

3.     Jim Nantz and Tony Romo– CBS

Poor Jim Nantz.  He is the most polished play-by-play man in the business, but he keeps getting paired with analysts who aren’t at his same level.  First it was Phil Simms, and now it is Tony Romo.  Nantz deserves better.

Romo is in only his third year as the lead color analyst for CBS, having gone directly from his playing career to broadcasting.  When players transition to broadcasting they usually spend some time on lower tiered teams or in the studio, but Romo somehow landed on the #1 CBS team.  He still tries to think ahead like a player on what moves might be coming in a game, and he frequently gets it wrong.  He also questions players on their decisions, which is ironic because he was known for more than his share of bonehead plays during his playing career. 

4.     Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland– ESPN

This season is really the first pairing for this duo.  Last season Tessitore succeeded Sean McDonough (one of the all-time greatest) as the Monday Night Football play-by-play man, and he was joined in the booth by Jason Witten (another Cowboy who went straight from the field to #1 broadcaster). 

McFarland also had a curious ascension to his spot.  He was part of the team with Tessitore and Witten, but was relegated to a perch on a moving crane which rode along the sideline.  When Witten returned to the Cowboys after one season, McFarland was brought in from the cold.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched a lot of MNF lately.  It simply isn’t the event it once was.  What I have heard from Tessitore and McFarland has not intrigues me, and they haven’t held my attention on those occasions when I have tuned in to check on the game.  And for that reason alone, they end up in the #4 slot.
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City or State Name on Home Uniforms

Baseball and basketball uniforms traditional have script lettering on the front of their uniforms, as opposed to numbers on football uniforms and logos on the front of hockey sweaters.  It’s also a tradition that these scripts depict the nickname of a team on their home uniform and their location (the city, region or state they represent) on their away jersey.

Some teams, however, choose to put their location on their home jersey.  A couple of examples of this are the Texas Rangers in the MLB, who have “TEXAS” on their home jerseys, and the Brooklyn Nets, who have “BROOKLYN” on theirs.

This just doesn’t look right to me.  Why display your home location on your home jersey?  Don’t your fans know who you represent?

And don't get me started on some of the NBA teams that have "ATL", "PHILA", or "NOLA" on their jerseys.  Those sound more like abbreviations for postal codes.

XFL Nicknames

The XFL recently announced team names for its inaugural season in 2020.  If you haven’t already done so, check out our Brand Manager James’ speculation on what they might have been.  Some of his guesses were better than the actual names announced.

In that spirit, here are a few ideas for future expansion teams.

Baltimore Krabby Pattys – Baltimore is known for crabs, and think of the possibility for SpongeBob crossover promotions.

Chicago Enforcers – Chicago is known for its organized crime, so what better than to honor that heritage with a mob-related moniker?

Colorado Stoners – A nod to the majestic Rocky Mountains, and the fact that Colorado was one of the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Las Vegas Swingers – It fits the “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” theme.  And the team could have Vince Vaughn as a mascot saying “Vegas, Baby!”

New Orleans Voodoo – If you’ve seen the James Bond Movie Live and Let Die you should get the reference.  And think of the cool skull and snake logo on the helmet!

San Diego Bolts - A double meaning referring to the logo of the former San Diego NFL franchise, and what they did when they left town to go to LA.

San Francisco Golden Gaters – No, there are no alligators in the Bay Area.  Check the spelling of “Gaters” again.

Boston Syndicate – A shout out to Whitey Bulger and your favorite sports podcast and website.

Do you have ideas for your own franchise names? Send them to us @BostonSportsSyn

Follow Bill on Twitter @BTravers_SYN

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer - Fall Edition
Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer - Fall Edition
Boston Sports Syndicate
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