Marv Albert Could Replace Gus Johnson at CBS on March Madness, NFL Games

Sure we’ve taken our jabs at Marv Albert over time, but that’s all in fun. The reality is we love when Marv Albert calls games. It doesn’t get much better than his signature “yes!” calls on NBA games, and as SI’s Jimmy Traina frequently notes, Marv means big games.

Though many sports fans were saddened to learn that Gus Johnson was leaving CBS for FOX, the folks at the Eye may be making it up to us.

Bob Raissman at the NY Daily News reports that Marv could be hired by CBS to replace Gus. Raissman writes “Industry sources say Albert, TNT’s voice of the NBA, is talking to CBS about joining the network to work both NFL football and college basketball.”

Doing March Madness games for CBS is natural synergy for Marv because CBS and Turner (which owns TNT) are part of the same family of networks. As for calling football games, you’ve probably heard Marv doing Monday Night Football for Westwood One. He’s one of those guys like Al Michaels who has a golden voice that fits on any sport. I would love to hear Marv calling more games, so make it happen CBS.

Gus Johnson Out at CBS, Could Head to FOX for College Football (UPDATE)

It’s rare that an announcer not reaching a deal with his employer becomes major news, but that just shows the massive appeal of Gus Johnson. SI’s Richard Deitsch reported that Gus is out at CBS after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract. Not only is Gus out at CBS, but he also did not get the NFL Network play-by-play job many people expected him to land. Instead, that job went to Brad Nessler.

Deitsch reported that “industry sources said Johnson has spoken with Fox Sports about a role in its college football coverage,” so you may be able to hear him calling Pac-12 games in the future. The bad news for many fans is that we won’t be hearing Johnson during March Madness any longer. It was during the NCAA Tournament that Gus developed his following amongst viewers due to his enthusiastic announcing style.

I know this is going to sound sacrilege to my fellow bloggers and readers, but I’ve never been a big Gus Johnson fan. Part of the reason is because I felt people went way too overboard with their praise of him, but another bigger reason is because I felt like some of it was an act and not genuine. I used to hear Gus call Knicks games on the radio and he had very little enthusiasm and excitement during those games. For someone who was used to his energy, that was highly disappointing. So when I hear him losing his head on CBS doing football and March Madness, it seems to me like he’s just playing up for his national audience. Still, I’d much rather hear Gus do games than many other boring announcers. I’ll take that any day, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land another gig quite soon.

UPDATE: The New York Daily News reports that Gus may not be out at CBS.

“According to an industry source Johnson, whose CBS contract expired after the Final Four, received a written offer from Fox earlier this week. The offer includes both NFL and Pac-12 football play-by-play roles. However Johnson’s reps have not presented the offer to CBS execs. When they do, probably next week, CBS will have one week to match or say adios to Johnson.”

Sounds like Gus’ agent/rep may have leaked the story to Deitsch at SI with the hope that there would be public outcry putting pressure on CBS to keep Gus. The good news for Johnson fans is this may not be a done deal.

Gus Johnson on Chris Johnson: He Has ‘Getting Away from the Cops Speed’

Gus Johnson is known for some of his outstanding calls on CBS broadcasts, particularly his enthusiastic work during March Madness. In fact, it was only back in week one that he absolutely nailed the call of the Broncos last second miracle play by Brandon Stokley to beat the Bengals. While Gus is at his best reacting to the unpredictable action in front of him, he had a lapse in judgment when he used what seemed like was a “scripted” line while describing the first of Titans running back Chris Johnson’s touchdown runs on Sunday. When Chris broke away for the score, Gus’ description was “He’s got getting away from the cops speed!” Wait for the second run by Chris in this video to hear it.

Putting aside that the league is so image conscious that Roger Goodell enforces strict penalties for players who get into trouble with the law, this is just a stupid thing to say all the way around. I’m guessing that the last thing Chris Johnson, who to the best of my knowledge has never had any legal issues, wanted was to have the announcers compare his football run to that of someone escaping the police. Gus owes Chris an apology and should know better than that. Furthermore, the argument that it’s OK because it’s a black announcer saying it about another black person is ludicrous; such an analogy should never be invoked if it has no factual basis, which in Chris’ case, it doesn’t. If that was meant to be funny, I don’t see the humor in it.

Video courtesy of Awful Announcing, of course