In last night’s NFL Network match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons, the announcing team went through an interesting shuffle. Chris Collinsworth, who normally serves as the analyst alongside color commentator Bryant Gumbel, was away getting ready for an NBC game. Dick Vermeil started off the game as his substitute but had obvious laryngitis from the start of the game.
In the second half, they brought up Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk from the pregame show crew to help out. Prime did an outstanding job in his debut as an announcer. He was articulate, knowledgeable, funny, and polished.
On a crucial play fourth quarter play where Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler was wide open on the right side of the field but Michael Vick never looked his direction, Gumbel was very critical. Sanders gently but firmly explained that, no, in a situation when a quarterback is being blitzed, he doesn’t have time to move to a fourth or fifth read on the other side of the field. Yet, when Vick took himself out of the game trailing ten points with less than two minutes to go, walking off on his own with a groin injury, Sanders was harsh. Playmakers, let alone quarterbacks, simply do not leave their teammates in a situation like that unless they are carried off.
Back downstairs with the postgame crew, Sanders said calling a game was a dream come true. Some network needs to give him a shot at doing it on a regular basis. Indeed, there’s no reason he couldn’t join Gumbel and Collinsworth and do a three man crew. It worked well for Howard Cosell and company.
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