Saturday Morning Flashback: Play-By-Play Announcer Jim Gordon

Long before the sports media crush of the new millennium lowered the bar on class and loosened its belt on professionalism, there were real journalists and talented announcers covering sports who told it like it was.

Jim Gordon was one of those people.  Not that his successor, Bob Papa, isn’t a class act also (the Giants always have top-notch people in their throes) but Gordon was in the seat at perhaps the most exciting time in Giants’ history – the Bill Parcells era.

Known mainly for his work as the voice of the New York Rangers’ TV broadcasts, Gordon took over the Giants’ radio play-by-play responsibilities in 1977 from another legend, Marty Glickman.  Glickman was a true giant in the field of radio broadcasting, spinning off proteges such as Marv Albert, Johnny Most, Spencer Ross and Bob Papa. Gordon had some big shoes to fill.

Teamed with ex-Giant defensive back Dick Lynch, the duo became a must-listen on game days.  The Giants of the late -70’s were most times too painful to watch, and fans found solace on the radio as Gordon and Lynch’s commentary helped marginalize the losses. (Gordon and Lynch were notorious “homers”, but hey, somebody had to advocate for this team!).  Giants fans became attached to them, embracing their empathetic tone and candor.

As the Giants’ fortunes began to rise, Gordon was there to document it all, with flair and substance.  His deep, baritone voice would soar rapidly up the scale to match the action he witnessed in front of him.

“Simms…….Bavarooo……(dead silence for 2-3 seconds, then a roar from the crowd)….COMPLETE!”

Gordon was at the helm for two Super Bowls and his call of the Scott Norwood missed FG in Super Bowl XXV is still played frequently.

“Snap, spot, in the air, it’s got the distance, it is….NO GOOD!”

NFL Films consistently chose Gordon’s call over the television commentators’ in their Giant segments (see below).  Why not?  Most times his call was better….

Perhaps Gordon’s best work came as the television voice of the New York Rangers. Paired with former NHL referee Bill Chadwick, the duo provided many a classic moment for New York Hockey fans.

His signature call: “Shot…MAYBE…..SAVE!!”

Gordon was replaced by Sam Rosen in 1984 on Ranger telecasts and by Bob Papa in the Giants booth in 1995 after an 18-year stint.  He passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2003 at age 76. To read more about Jim Gordon click HERE. 

 

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