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Which twosome currently working in sports media has the best chemistry?

By Jimmy Traina
February 14, 2019

1. My colleague, Jacob Feldman, who covers sports media for SI, asked me the other day, in honor of Valentine's Day, for my list of the top duos working in sports media today based on chemistry. 

This assignment was so much harder than I expected. There are many sports broadcast teams on the air today that have excellent chemistry, but most of those involve more than two people. From the Inside the NBA crew on TNT, to Jimmy, Howie and Terry on FOX to the cast of Good Morning Football to the College Gameday team on ESPN, it’s a great time for ensembles. But when it comes to pairs, you have to dig deep.

Here, in no particular order, are the five duos that have the most chemistry and always provide entertainment. One note: I kept the list to people who work nationally and did not consider local pairs:

Bill Raftery and Ian Eagle: They don’t work together often anymore, with Raftery mostly calling CBS’s top college basketball games with Jim Nantz and Grant Hill, but Eagle and Raftery have worked together for years, dating back to 1994 when the duo called New Jersey Nets games. These two pretty much have chemistry with anyone they work with, but the spark between the two is special. There aren't two people in all of sports television who have half the chemistry of Bird and Raf. (Eagle did his Raftery imitation and shared stories about his longtime friend on a recent edition of the SI Media Podcast, and it's well worth your time to check it out.)

Dave Pasch and Bill Walton: It takes a special play-by-play person to be able to handle Walton, and Pasch has been the perfect foil. You never know what to expect when these two do a Pac-12 game for ESPN, but Pasch’s reactions to Walton are just as important as Walton’s antics.

Jim Nantz and Tony Romo: They had chemistry from the very first time they worked together on opening day of the 2017 NFL season and it’s only grown stronger, as evidenced on Super Bowl Sunday this year when the only thing that made the dog of a game entertaining was their commentary.

Scott Van Pelt and Stanford Steve: The single best sports segment on any TV show is SVP’s “Bad Beats” on SportsCenter. Stanford Steve, a producer on the show and longtime friend of Van Pelt’s, always joins him to document the horrible betting losses that took place over a college football weekend and both men do a perfect job.

Big Cat and PFT: Yes, humor is the key with their show, and getting great guests is important, but when you have the biggest and most popular podcast in the sports world, and one of the biggest podcasts in general, it means the chemistry is off the charts.

2. This week's SI Media Podcast features a discussion with Sports Business Journal's John Ourand about all the latest sports media news including, fallout from Bob Costas's controverial exit from NBC and the role the NFL played, the AAF's debut ratings, the NBA's ratings issues, the latest on ESPN firing Adnan Virk, why the NFL is expected to have the Dolphins play the Cowboys in the late afternoon Thanksgiving game, why the Patriots aren't likley to play on opening night, and much more. You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunes.

3. I got tons of feedback on Wednesday's special edition of Traina Thoughts in which readers gave their choices for first-ballot, unanimous inductees for the YouTube Hall of Fame. I'll provide a Part II some time next week with the newest entries. The one glaring omission readers rightfully pointed out was the legendary performance given by Ball State's Brian Collins in 2005.

4. Steve Kerr clipboard spike > Gronk TD spike.

5. There's a terrible joke to be made here about Tom Brady being on the hands team.

6. The worst Joe Flacco trade take on Wednesday came from WFAN's Mike Francesa.

 

7. DUET YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Continuing our theme of featuring great duets this week, it seemed appropriate to go with Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson teaming up for "Ooo Baby Baby" on Valentine's Day.

Catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts here and check out the Sports Illustarted Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina here. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter here.

IN CLOSING: There isn't a bigger waste of money on the face of the earth than flowers, which end up in the garbage three days after you buy them. Happy Valentine's Day!

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