The Sports Emmy nominations for 2010 were announced last week and included many names familiar to us couch potatoes who spend a lot of our time watching sports. The winners will be announced May 2 in New York. Here's a look at some of the categories, with a few comments and predictions.
-- Best play-by-play personality: Jim Nantz (CBS), Al Michaels (NBC), Joe Buck (Fox), Bob Costas (MLB Network), Mike Emrick (NBC), Verne Lundquist (CBS)
The breakdown: All the usual suspects are here -- Nantz, Michaels, Buck, Costas -- but that's because they are the top play-by-play guys around (though Nantz is a little too vanilla for my taste). It would be nice to someday see on this list Ian Eagle for his NFL work on CBS. He would be a better nominee than Lundquist, a good announcer who did not have his best year in 2010.
Who should/will win: Emrick, who calls NHL games on NBC, is the best in the business, but look for Michaels to take the honor again. It's hard to argue any time Michaels wins an award.
-- Best event analyst: Cris Collinsworth (NBC), Jon Gruden (ESPN), Orel Hershiser (ESPN), Phil Simms (CBS), Jeff Van Gundy (ABC)
The breakdown: This is the strongest category. Think of the deserving people left out: NBC golf analysts Johnny Miller and Dottie Pepper, ABC/ESPN basketball analyst Doris Burke and tennis' John McEnroe. It is nice to see Gruden and Hershiser get nods, but disappointing to see Simms ahead of more deserving, interesting personalities.
Who should/will win: Van Gundy has become an elite announcer, but Collinsworth will win. No one should have an issue with that.
-- Best studio analyst: Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Charles Barkley (TNT), Tom Jackson (ESPN), Howie Long (Fox), Harold Reynolds (MLB Network)
The breakdown: Long is a surprise because he doesn't seem to do anything different from his Fox NFL partners, or, for that matter, the NFL analysts on CBS. NBC's Tony Dungy should be a nominee before Long. And where is Jay Bilas? The ESPN commentator is the Herbstreit of college basketball.
Who should/will win: Barkley is really good, but Herbstreit is smooth and knowledgeable, and always comes through with strong, reasonable analysis. He should and will win.
-- Outstanding studio host: Chris Berman (ESPN), James Brown (CBS/Showtime), Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Ernie Johnson (TNT), Dan Patrick (NBC/DirecTV), Scott Van Pelt (ESPN)
The breakdown: Berman? Really? The guy is a pro, but it seems like he has been doing the same shtick for years with all those dated Howard Cosell imitations. It is a pleasant surprise to see Van Pelt's name, but it was disappointing to see two other ESPN hosts left out: Chris Fowler, the football "College GameDay" host, and Rece Davis, the basketball "College GameDay" host. Fowler not only should have been nominated, he should have been the favorite.
Who should/will win: Johnson, who manages to rein in a rowdy TNT NBA crew, should win. Costas will win.
-- Outstanding live series: ESPN college football, ESPN Monday night football, NASCAR on Fox and Speed, NBC Sunday night football, NFL on Fox
The breakdown: A notable snub is the NHL on NBC, which ranks alongside Fox's NASCAR coverage as tops on TV.
What should/will win: If I had a vote, I'd go with Fox's NASCAR coverage. I don't have a vote, which means NBC's Sunday night football will win.
Outstanding documentary: "June 17th, 1994" (ESPN), "Lombardi" (HBO), "Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals" (ESPN2), "Robben Island: A Greater Goal" (ESPN2), "The Two Escobars" (ESPN Deportes)
The breakdown: Last year might have been the best for sports documentaries because of ESPN's outstanding "30 for 30" series. Just about all the "30 for 30" offerings would be at home on this list.
What should/will win: "The Two Escobars" was far and way the best sports film of 2010.
-- Outstanding weekly studio show: "College GameDay" (ESPN), "Football Night in America" (NBC), "Inside the NBA" (TNT), "Studio 42 With Bob Costas" (MLB Network), "NFL GameDay Morning" (NFL Network)
The breakdown: "NFL GameDay Morning" is a stunning nomination because it usually gets overlooked after all the other NFL pregame shows. "College GameDay" is must-see but seemed stagnant in 2010. I'm just glad the NFL yuckfests on Fox and CBS weren't recognized.
What should/will win: All are worthy, but "Football Night in America" is a near-perfect show because of the personalities: Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Cris Collinsworth.
-- Outstanding daily studio show: "Inside the NBA" (TNT), "MLB Postseason" (TBS), "MLB Tonight" (MLB Network), "Pardon the Interruption" (ESPN/Rydholm Projects), "SportsCenter" (ESPN)
The breakdown: Thank the heavens "Around the Horn," the worst show on television, didn't make the list.
What should/will win: Watch -- and I mean really watch -- "SportsCenter." Think of all the resources and energy that go into just a one-hour show. How can this not be the best sports show on television?