Tonight is the 34th Annual Sports Emmy awards will be held in New York City. The most glamorous, inside-baseball night of the year is ironically not televised and is primarily an opportunity for sports media big whigs to pat each other on the back and begrudgingly congratulate their competitors.
The NBC Sports Group leads all networks in nominations with 58, with Sunday Night Football and the London Olympics being the main reason behind the dominance this year. ESPN/ABC have 43 and Turner Sports received 27 nominations, while HBO and Fox Sports have 17 each.
I’ll predict the winners from each of the major categories.
OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY — STUDIO HOST
James Brown — CBS/Showtime
Bob Costas — NBC/NBC Sports Network
Rich Eisen — NFL Network
Ernie Johnson — TNT/NBA TV
Dan Patrick — NBC/NBC Sports Network/DirecTV
This award should be named after Bob Costas. He’s won 24 Sports Emmys and will soon have to put a new wing on his house to squeeze all of his trophies. My love for Dan Patrick is not a secret and it would be great if he won. (Dan Patrick went up and accepted this award last year, making his own speech, even though Costas had won.) Rich Eisen is also very deserving, but Bob Costas doesn’t lose in an Olympic year. Or any year, for that matter. Pick: Costas.
OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY — PLAY-BY-PLAY
Mike Breen — ABC
Mike “Doc” Emrick — NBC/NBC Sports Network
Al Michaels — NBC
Jim Nantz — CBS
It’s amazing that Joe Buck didn’t get nominated, but all of these commentators could win. Emrick, Michaels and Nantz have all won in previous years and Breen is a first time nominee. Doc is the best commentator working today, but I think Nantz takes this one. Nantz called the NFL regular season and playoffs, the Masters and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament back-to-back-to-back and was outstanding in each one. Plus, he’ll dedicate the award to Pat Summerall. Pick: Nantz.
OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY — STUDIO ANALYST
Charles Barkley — TNT/NBA TV
Tony Dungy — NBC
Boomer Esiason — CBS
Harold Reynolds — MLB Network
Bill Ripken — MLB Network
Kurt Warner — NFL Network
You mean Skip Bayless isn’t nominated? He was last year. The Emmys have righted themselves after that extreme oversight of nominating the ESPN “analyst” last year. Bill Ripken and Kurt Warner are first time nominees but there is only one analyst that people tune in to watch specifically for his analysis. Pick: Charles Barkley.
OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY — SPORTS EVENT ANALYST
Ato Boldon — NBC
Cris Collinsworth — NBC
Jon Gruden — ESPN
Jim Kaat — MLB Network
Mike Mayock — NFL Network/NBC
As dominant as Costas is in his category, Collinsworth is equally decorated in his. I’m a big Mike Mayock fan, and think his analysis – especially for the NFL Draft – is outstanding. But unless the Academy wants to ruffle everyone’s feathers and go with Gruden, Collinsworth takes it. Pick: Collinsworth.
OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY — SPORTS REPORTER
Andrea Joyce — NBC/NBC Sports Network
Pierre McGuire — NBC/NBC Sports Network
Lisa Salters — ESPN
Michele Tafoya — NBC
Tom Verducci — MLB Network/TBS
People love to hate Pierre but if you want to know where Johnny Galchenyuk (That’s a hockey player) played hockey when he was 8 years old, he’s the man for you. Michele Tafoya deservedly won last year for her work on Sunday Night Football and should be the favorite again. Tom Verducci does great work and has great hair. Pick: Tafoya, repeat.
OUTSTANDING STUDIO SHOW — WEEKLY
College Gameday — ESPN
Football Night in America — NBC
Inside the NBA — TNT
Inside the NFL — Showtime/[CBS Sports/NFL Films]
College Gameday is great every week and it’s amazing that Lee Corso can still speak coherently, but Inside the NBA is the only must watch show on this list. Pick: Inside the NBA.
OUTSTANDING STUDIO SHOW — DAILY
Inside the NBA — TNT
MLB Tonight — MLB Network
NFL Live — ESPN2
NFL Total Access –NFL Network
Pardon the Interruption — ESPN/[Rydholm Projects]
Inside the NBA is in two categories? Because it’s on weekly during the regular season and nightly during the NBA Playoffs. This category is a toss-up for me, but my personal favorite is PTI. Pick: PTI.
OUTSTANDING LIVE SPORTS SERIES
ESPN Monday Night Football — ESPN
NASCAR on FOX — FOX/SPEED
NBA on TNT — TNT
NFL on FOX — FOX
Sunday Night Football — NBC
This category is another toss-up with all very well-produced events, but Sunday Night Football has the best anchor/analyst combination of them all so the 2011 winner should take it again. Pick: SNF.
OUTSTANDING LIVE SPORTS SPECIAL
The 96th Indianapolis 500 — ABC
The 108th World Series — FOX
The Army-Navy Game — CBS
The Masters — CBS
Super Bowl XLVI — NBC
This is probably the most subjective category. What makes a great live sports event? The Super Bowl on NBC went off without a hitch, the World Series was fine as was the Indy 500. But the event that was the most compellingly produced and announced last year was the Masters. CBS perfectly portrayed Bubba Watson’s incredible victory and should win this award. Pick: CBS.