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posted: 7/22/2014 5:18 AM

ESPN's Tirico at the top of his game

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  • ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico is well versed in a variety of sports as he anchors coverage for the NFL, World Cup soccer, and golf.

    ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico is well versed in a variety of sports as he anchors coverage for the NFL, World Cup soccer, and golf.
    Associated Press


I don't know ESPN announcer Mike Tirico, but if I ever spoke with him I believe he would tell me he is one of the most fortunate guys around.

He's surely one of the most talented.

I don't need to do research to discuss great announcers or pertinent voices of major sporting events from the last 75 years. We are talking legendary guys such baseball's Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Red Barber, Jack Brickhouse, Mel Allen and Jack Buck. In college football, there were people such as Lindsey Nelson, who also announced for the New York Mets, the great Keith Jackson or the terrific Green Bay Packer announcer Ray Scott.

Every sport can boast some giants in broadcasting, but the greatest I ever heard on TV was the verbose Howard Cosell, a true icon but not necessarily a lead broadcaster.

The all-around performers were guys such as Curt Gowdy and Pat Summerall, and ones still around today such as Al Michaels, Marv Albert, Bob Costas and Dick Enberg. You can disagree and email me your support for anyone I might have forgotten at

With all that said, there is a new dog in the hunt, and in 10 years he will be considered one of the best of all time.

As you know, I don't throw around a lot of bouquets when it comes to sports announcers or talkers on TV or radio, but 47-year-old Tirico stands out.

I heard him doing the British Open this past weekend, and he mentioned he had been on the road for 47 straight days starting with the 2014 World Cup and ending at the Open. He made this comment Thursday, so Tirico was on the road for 51 days going into Monday.

At first I thought he was complaining, but then I listened and he wasn't. He was just saying it in conversation.

I watched him for a good segment of his travels this time, and he's been fresh and crisp on the air. His preparation is impeccable, and forget trying to look for mistakes from him -- you won't find any. All of us make mistakes every day and there are numerous on-air errors, but this guy seems be at a different level.

In 2009, a Yahoo poll done by David J. Halberstam named the Top 50 Network TV Announcers of All Time, and Tirico was 17th. In 2014, I think he would be ranked much higher and his cache just continues to grow.

Tirico seems to be more than capable at a variety of sports including college hoops, the NBA, tennis, golf and, of course, the NFL as ESPN's Monday night football play-by-play commentator. I think he is the best out there and I just see his star climbing higher.

I'm writing about him today because many athletes complain about being tired, but there's always the exceptional ones who can perform under any conditions.

Well, the same goes for broadcasting, and Tirico right now is that guy.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and check me out on iHeart radio or

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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