Few people play more pivotal roles in the annual Super Bowl broadcast than the big game’s announcers. Veteran CBS sportscasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are scheduled to respectively serve as the play-by-play announcer and analyst of Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Sunday.
The game between the National Football Conference champion Carolina Panthers and the American Football Conference champion Denver Broncos is expected to be the most-watched television event of the year, according to experts. That ramps up the pressure for Nantz and Simms, said other announcers with experience covering the big game.
“When Phil Simms and I were working together and they would say, ‘Thirty seconds to air,’ and Phil would turn to me and say, ‘Let’s not screw it up’ ... I kind of think that’s probably how you go into it,” veteran CBS Sports announcer Greg Gumbel told WDJT-TV in Milwaukee. “The bigger the audience, the bigger the broadcast, the less you want to screw up,” Gumbel said.
Simms, 61, named most valuable player in Super Bowl XXI during his 15-year National Football League career, joined CBS Sports as an analyst for its NFL coverage in January 1998. He was paired with Gumbel as the network’s lead announcer team. Before this weekend, he had covered multiple Super Bowls.
Nantz, 56, has won three Emmy Awards and five National Sportscaster of the Year awards during his 30-year sportscasting career at CBS. He has been the lead play-by-play announcer for the network’s NFL coverage since 2004. Nantz and Simms have previously hosted the network’s Super Bowl together. This will be Nantz’s fourth time announcing the big game.
The announcers will get some help from their sideline reporters. Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn are set to be their eyes on the field. Wolfson began her sportscasting career in the early 2000s and has been a lead college-football sideline reporter for CBS since 2004. Washburn joined CBS Sports to cover the NFL in 2014 and also serves as a college-basketball reporter for the network.