Good Post alagator.
I agree whole-heartedly on Eli. He can describe everything to a "T" I can sit out in the hunting stand on a crisp fall afternoon close my eyes and listen to him and visualize everything he describes. And like you say he knows when to let the color guy take over. I know folks gripe about Eli, but I think he is great.
Only thing I miss is hearing Doug Layton's voice on the sideline.
I can hear that man's voice and I'm 13 years old again in the front yard of my home growing up and I'm listening to the radio while throwing the football with my best friend.
I hope you did not take my comment about Eli being good at painting a pre-game picture of the arena and transfer that to the idea that I think Eli is good at anything else.
Eli, the few times I have actually heard him, is just horrible. As was pointed out above, if pesky little details about score and down-and-distance and how an actual play transpired are important when listening to a game you cannot see, then Eli is 'gold.' But if you are trying to create an image in your mind of what is happening based on Eli's description, then you either have "fool's gold" or scizophrenia (sic?).
As psychojoe said, far too often I have heard "Alabama has the ball 1st-and-10 on its own 20 yard line. Wilson hands the ball off to Coffee and there is a HUGE hole on the left side. Coffee is tackled on the 23. (Banter, banter, banter.) (Ignores the confusion over how a 'HUGE hole' resulted in only a three-yard gain?)
Next play, Eli says, "Alabama now has the ball 2nd-and-8 from its own 22 yard line...
I just usually give up trying to follow a game from his play-by-play call.
Forney on the other hand was a master at describing the entire picture - the pre-game pagentry and emotions (this is the lone area where Gold excels), the actual game action, and how the game action resulted.
Layton was a pompous ass who came across thinking he was just as important as the game he was describing. I NEVER liked him. Layton's effort to step over the top of Kennedy's call of The Kick is a perfect example of how Layton did not know or understand when to just keep quiet and let the play-by-play guy or the game itself be the star.
Now, Jerry Duncan was the one I really miss.