Jim Nantz by set of The NFL Today (2001)
James William Nantz III
May 17, 1959
|Sports commentary career|
James William Nantz III (born May 17, 1959) is an American sportscaster who has worked on telecasts of the National Football League (NFL), NCAA Division I men's basketball, the NBA, and the PGA Tour for CBS Sports since the 1980s. He has anchored CBS' coverage of the Masters Tournament since 1989 and been the play-by-play announcer on CBS' top NFL game since 2004.
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nantz grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana,Colts Neck Township, New Jersey, and Marlboro Township, New Jersey, where he attended Marlboro High School. In high school, he was co-captain of the basketball team and co-captain and number one player on the golf team. He was a member of Bamm Hollow Country Club.
Nantz then went to the University of Houston in Texas, where he majored in broadcasting and played on the Houston Cougars men's golf team, rooming with future professional golfers Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister. It was during this time that Nantz got his first experience in sports broadcasting with the CBS Radio Network, transmitting taped interviews to Win Elliot for the latter's Sports Central USA weekend reports.
Nantz started as an anchor and sportscaster for KHOU Houston in the early 80s and then became a weekend sports anchor on KSL-TV in Salt Lake City (1982-1985) where he called BYU football games and Utah Jazz games along with Hot Rod Hundley.
Nantz joined CBS Sports in 1985, initially working as a studio host for the network's college football and basketball coverage, and as an on-course reporter for PGA Tour golf, as well as calling NFL games on Westwood One (from 1988 to 1990, when he was moved to television, Nantz called Sunday Night Football games for what was then called CBS Radio Sports). Nantz has anchored CBS' coverage of the Masters Tournament since 1989. He teamed with Billy Packer to call the NCAA Final Four men's basketball finals from 1991 until 2008. From 2008 to 2013, Clark Kellogg had been his analyst. From 2010 to 2013, Nantz and Kellogg were joined during the Final Four by Steve Kerr of Turner Sports. From 2013 to 2014, Greg Anthony partnered with Nantz. Following Anthony's suspension, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill were selected to replace him and are Nantz's new partners 
After hosting CBS's pre-game program The NFL Today from 1998 to 2003, he became The NFL on CBS top play-by-play announcer in 2004. That move sent Greg Gumbel to the studio, and Nantz to the stadium booth with Phil Simms. In 1991 & 1992, Nantz, like Tim Brant, was paired with analyst Hank Stram on NFL broadcasts. In 1993, he had previously filled-in for his predecessor, Greg Gumbel as NFL Today host while Gumbel was away covering the American League Championship Series for CBS. Verne Lundquist and Dan Fouts were the #2 team for much of the 1993 season. However, Nantz and Randy Cross would call the second round playoff game for CBS (Dallas vs. Green Bay) not called by Pat Summerall and John Madden. Meanwhile, Tim Ryan and Matt Millen were the #3 team for much of the 1993 season.
On February 4, 2007, Nantz called the play-by-play of Super Bowl XLI. He joins Curt Gowdy, Kevin Harlan, and Dick Enberg as the only play-by-play announcers to ever call both a Super Bowl and an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Game. (Greg Gumbel called CBS's previous Super Bowls, Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XXXVIII.) Nantz is also one of two men to host a Super Bowl, announce an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game, and host coverage of The Masters from Butler Cabin with Brent Musburger being the other. Musburger also accomplished all three feats with CBS. During Super Bowl XLVII, Joe Flacco unknowingly hit Nantz with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during the presentation, but Nantz simply brushed it off.
In 2014, Nantz and broadcast partner Phil Simms called Thursday Night Football games in a deal with CBS and the NFL Network. Tracy Wolfson was the sideline reporter for the Thursday games along with the Sunday games on CBS. In 2017, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo replaced Phil Simms as Nantz's color commentator for CBS' NFL telecasts.
Nantz has appeared on episodes of The Price Is Right to present a Showcase prize that involves CBS Sports properties, one to attend the 2009 Final Four in Detroit and another in 2010 for Super Bowl XLIV (with Phil Simms), as part of changes to the long-time game show to use product placement models and CBS crossovers, including sports packages. Nantz appeared as himself in the 1996 film Tin Cup and has appeared in episodes of several television series including Arliss, Yes, Dear, Criminal Minds, and How I Met Your Mother (season 5, episode 14 + 15 and season 9, episode 24). He portrayed the announcer for the fictional baseball team in the short-lived series Clubhouse, and his voice can be heard in the 1998 film Scrapple.
Nantz teamed with Gary McCord to provide extensive commentary in the 1999 PC golf game Jack Nicklaus 6: Golden Bear Challenge, and his commentary is featured in the Golden Tee Golf arcade game series. From 2012 until 2016 (when they were replaced with Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis), Nantz, along with Phil Simms, provided commentary for the Madden NFL series. In 2013, Nantz appeared in a Papa John's Pizza ad with Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, and founder John Schnatter. In 2005, Nantz provided commentary on the games in short-lived British wrestling based-game show Celebrity Wrestling.
Nantz won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play in both 2008 and 2009. He has been honored with the NSSA's National Sportscaster of the Year award five times (1998, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009). In 2011, Nantz was named as a recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also is one of the youngest recipients of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy award for broadcasting.
Nantz received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Houston in 2001. He was awarded the Ambassador Award of Excellence by the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission in 2012 for his involvement in the community. Nantz received the Ambassador of Golf in 2018.
Hello, friends! (Nantz's usual opening line on broadcasts)
The Bear...has come out of hibernation. (final round of 1986 Masters, referring to Jack Nicklaus)
There was a wizard in the stands and some magic on the floor (After UCLA won the 1995 National title in basketball. He was referring to John Wooden, the legendary coach of UCLA.). As Jim Harrick and UCLA now can hang a banner in Westwood. (referring to UCLA's tradition of hanging only national championship banners at Pauley Pavilion).
There it is, a win for the ages! (1997 Masters, referring to Tiger Woods, the first person of color to win)
I don't want to hear about bumpy greens, I don't want to hear about six-hour rounds. This is the showpiece for the PGA Tour. Get out here and play. (prior to the final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, talking about the Tiger Woods no-show)
Just when everybody says you can't, you can, and U-CONN has won the national championship! (1999 NCAA Basketball Championship Game, Connecticut vs. Duke)
And you can leave it to Cleaves! He has reinstated the Magic at Michigan State! (2000 NCAA National Championship Game)
Yes you May. (2000 PGA Championship)
There it is -- as grand as it gets! (2001 Masters)
That's it. Duke has the Championship! And Coach K is the proud father of three in more ways than one. (2001 NCAA National Championship)
Hinrich puts up the shot, it's too long, and Syracuse is your National Champion! (2003 NCAA National Championship)
Is it his time?...Yes!..At long last! (2004 Masters, as Phil Mickelson made the tournament-winning shot for his first major)
Watch his life change right here. (2004 Masters, while watching Mickelson's reaction to his winning putt on videotape)
The March to the Arch belongs to Michigan State in double overtime! (2005 NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Austin Regional Final)
There's a new Dean in college basketball! (2005 NCAA Tournament, referring to Roy Williams leading North Carolina to the 2005 NCAA Championship)
I'm blessed to have great friends, and there's a lot of men in my life who've been more than just friends, particularly in the last 10 years with my dad battling Alzheimer's.(Golf Digest, April 2005)
Florida takes its place in history, back-to-back and unforgettable! (2007 NCAA Tournament), the Gators played the Ohio State Buckeyes, who they defeated in the BCS National Championship game in football 3 months prior.
A tradition unlike any other, The Masters on CBS. (Used annually during promos for and coverage of the tournament, although not always by Nantz)
...and now Luke Donald trying to solve this piece of geometry." (Donald reading a putt at The 2007 PGA)
And, talk about David and Goliath! I submit to you Davidson College, to the Sweet 16!" -- Nantz, as the clock hit 00.0 in Davidson's thrilling upset in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament over Georgetown.
A performance from the start that could not have been any finer, North Carolina is the 2009 National Champion! (2009 NCAA Tournament)
Y.E. YES... Y.E. Yang has won the PGA Championship!" -- Nantz as Y.E. Yang hits his birdie putt to defeat Tiger Woods and win the 2009 PGA Championship. Yang is also the only player born in Asia to win a Major
Picked off. Look out! Gets past Manning. And it's Tracy Porter taking it all the way! Touchdown New Orleans!" (Nantz calling Tracy Porter's fourth quarter 74-yard interception return for a touchdown as the New Orleans Saints upset the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl XLIV.)
That's a win for the family. (As Phil Mickelson seals the 2010 Masters with a birdie on the 18th hole)
Everyone talked about the dog fight coming in, right? Huskies and Bulldogs. But one thing was very clear tonight, here in Houston. Connecticut wins best in show! (UConn clinching the 2011 NCAA Tournament)
Got him at the 30! It's (Demaryius Thomas) at the 50! Stiff arm got him free to the 30. To the 20, Thomas to the 10...Denver's going on to New England! They win it on the first play of overtime! (Denver Broncos with Tim Tebow at quarterback defeating the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011-12 NFL Playoffs)
Here comes Billy Cundiff to tie this game and in all likelihood send it to overtime. The last two years, 16 of 16 in the 4th quarter on field goals. 32 yards to tie it. And the kick... Lookout! Lookout! It's no good! It's no good! (Baltimore Ravens losing the 2011 AFC Championship Game to New England Patriots after a missed field goal with 11 seconds left of the 4th quarter)
Well, this is it, isn't it? This is the putt...every boy who ever grew up playing the game who made it as a pro, over and over again dreamt of one putt to win the Masters. (In anticipation of Bubba Watson's putt on the first hole of a sudden death playoff at the 2012 Masters Tournament)
And he (Sam Koch) booms this one. That takes the fair catch, free kick out of play. And its (Ted Ginn, Jr.)...Ginn to the 40. Still on his feet at the 50...and the Ravens have won it 34-31. The Super Bowl belongs to Baltimore! (The final four seconds of Super Bowl XLVII as Ted Ginn, Jr. is tackled by Josh Bynes after a safety kick by Sam Koch to clinch the Baltimore Ravens's victory. It was the Ravens' second Super Bowl win.)
Oh, Lord. (Nantz reacting to a replay of Kevin Ware of the Louisville Cardinals suffering a compound fracture of his right leg while attempting to block a shot attempt during the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament)
Rodgers, in trouble... (Phil Simms: It's gonna get there.) He turned 32 yesterday, does he have a vintage moment in him? In the end zone... IT IS CAUGHT, FOR THE WIN! Richard Rodgers with a walk-off touchdown! A game-ender for the Packers! (Calling the Miracle in Motown when Aaron Rodgers completed a Hail Mary pass to Richard Rodgers with no time left on the clock)
Villanova trying to go the length of the court, with Arcidiacono. Three seconds at midcourt! (Grant Hill: Watch Jenkins) Gives it to Jenkins! [Jenkins shoots, time expires] For the championship... YES! (Bill Raftery [overlapping Nantz, voice breaking] OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!) Villanova! Phenomenal! [fireworks] The national champions, with Jenkins hitting the winner at the buzzer! (Nantz calling Kris Jenkins' famous buzzer-beater point to win the 2016 NCAA Tournament for the Villanova Wildcats)
Mathews, off the mark, and this year the confetti is gonna fall for North Carolina, they're not gonna be denied this time! (Nantz calling UNC's triumph in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, a year after the aformentioned loss to the Villanova Wildcats in the 2016 National Championship game.)
Superlatives you can't come up with enough. Absolute, incredible performance. [time expires] Shock and awe in college basketball! UMBC makes history in Charlotte! (Nantz at the end of the game as University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers became the first (and as of 2020, still the only) #16 seed to defeat a #1 and advance to the second round, as they defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54 in the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history. Top seeded teams were previously 135-0 against #16.)
And Virginia, with the all-time turnaround title! (Nantz calling the end of the 2019 National Championship game, with the redemption-seeking Virginia Cavaliers cutting the nets. It was Virginia's first national championship in program history, and it capped off what is considered one of the greatest redemption stories in sports history, taking place a year after the aformentioned loss to the 16th-seeded UMBC Retrievers.)
Waited for years, many doubted we'd ever see it, but here it is.. [Tiger Woods sinks the Masters-winning putt in the 18th hole, crowd roars] the return to glory! (Nantz calling golf legend Tiger Woods' 15th majors win at the 2019 Masters Tournament, his first majors win since the 2008 U.S. Open, and first green jacket since 2005, and fifth Masters win overall.)
Nantz's first book, Always By My Side - A Father's Grace and a Sports Journey Unlike Any Other, was released in May 2008. Nantz tells personal stories from football, basketball, and golf, and how he has met people along the way who remind him of the virtues his father instilled in him. The foreword to the book was written by one of his father figures, friend and frequent golf partner, former President George H.W. Bush. Nantz's father, Jim Nantz Jr., died in 2008 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease; he was treated at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. In January 2011, Jim Nantz and The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, launched the Nantz National Alzheimer Center. The mission of the Center is to improve care and treatment for patients with Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research and the investigation of its causes, including the role of concussions and other past neurological trauma.
Nantz was married to Ann-Lorraine "Lorrie" Carlsen Nantz for 26 years before divorcing in 2009. The couple lived in Westport, Connecticut, and had one child, daughter Caroline. In November 2009, Jim Nantz was ordered to pay his ex-wife $916,000 a year in child support and alimony. Nantz acknowledged dating a 29-year-old woman before the divorce was final, although the judge concluded the marriage deteriorated years earlier and "this remote event in no way contributed to the breakdown of the marriage." Nantz was said to earn $7 million in 2009.
On June 9, 2012, Nantz married Courtney Richards in a ceremony at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. Nantz and his wife have a daughter born in 2014 and a son born in 2016.
In 2009, Nantz partnered with wine producer Peter Deutsch to launch a private wine label The Calling with its first vintage released in 2012. The wine's name is in reference to Nantz's calling of the Masters Tournament.
Out of college I worked at KSL in Salt Lake City, one of my assignments was BYU football play-by-play, back in the time when BYU was winning the national championship. I did those games with Steve Young in the booth.
From 1982 to 1985, he was the weekend sports anchor at Ch. 5; he did BYU football play-by-play alongside Steve Young; he did Jazz commentary alongside Hot Rod Hundley.
| Studio Host, College Basketball on CBS
| Play-by-play announcer, NCAA Men's Final Four
| American television prime time anchor, Winter Olympic Games
| The NFL Today host
| Lead play-by-play announcer, The NFL on CBS
| Super Bowl television play-by-play announcer (AFC package carrier)
| Thursday Night Football Lead Play-by-Play
2014-2017 shared with Al Michaels (2016) and Mike Tirico (2017)