St. Petersburg Times staff writer Tom Jones breaks down the television and radio broadcasts of Sunday's Bucs-Browns game.
The best and worst of Deckerhoff
. Gene Deckerhoff has been calling Bucs games on radio since 1989, but this year, Tampa Bay football fans will be listening to him more than they have in a decade. That's because potential home blackouts will have most fans reaching for their radios instead of their remotes to follow the Bucs.
Criticizing Deckerhoff almost seems rude. The 65-year-old Jacksonville native and University of Florida grad has been a staple on local radio for years. Not only has he called the Bucs for 22 seasons, but he has been calling Florida State football games since 1979 and FSU basketball since 1974. He is the voice of the Bucs with his signature calls of "Fire the cannons!'' and "3-2-1, touchdown!'' Plus, he's a heck of a nice guy.
Listening to Deckerhoff can be an exercise in frustration because he gets too far ahead of himself. He consistently calls plays before everything has developed and he can see what really happened. In his hurried state, there are far too many moments of "Here's the pass … caught! … No, dropped. Incomplete.''
There are also far too many times when an over-excited Deckerhoff furiously describes the action then recaps the play just as furiously without telling listeners, who cannot see for themselves, just what the result of the play was. Sometimes you're momentarily left to wonder whether it was a gain of 5 or a loss of 3. It happened often again Sunday, as did the usual array of wrong names and wrong stats.
The thing is, this is nothing new. Deckerhoff has been calling games like this since, well, always. It's too much to expect him at this point of his career to slow down and wait for the whole play to develop before making a call that can temporarily steer the listeners in the wrong direction. But it would be nice if he did.
Deckerhoff has enough homer in his voice to please Bucs fans without being blindly biased. His calls on big Bucs plays can get any fan pumped and, if you can forgive the hair-trigger calls that he must correct, you probably enjoy listening to him. He might not be the best announcer, but he's your announcer. For many others, the experience is not quite so enjoyable.
Give me Moore
. Dave Moore is the best radio analyst the Bucs have ever had. Remember, this is a franchise that once employed Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the color guy. That said, Moore is a solid analyst because he follows the first rule of announcing: He tells it like it is — good, bad or indifferent. On Sunday, he praised the Bucs when warranted and criticized when necessary. He goes beyond explaining what happened on a particular play by explaining why it happened.
The only nit was when Bucs defensive back Elbert Mack was shaken up in the first quarter when he was slammed by teammate Sean Jones and Moore referred to it as "friendly fire.'' Moore likely meant no harm, but using a war term like that these days comes off as a bit disrespectful and probably should be avoided.
The television broadcast
. Too bad the Bucs game was blacked out locally because the CBS broadcast was excellent, mostly because of broadcasters Spero Dedes, top left, and Rich Gannon, who has quickly developed into one of the better NFL analysts. Most impressive was Gannon telling viewers to keep an eye on Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers only seconds before Biggers intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.
Meantime, Gannon had high praise for Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, saying, "He's got a wealth of talent. He benefitted from playing last year. I think he's going to be an outstanding quarterback.''