It would be somewhat easy to argue that the history of the NFL’s long and profitable relationship with television could not be told without some sort of nod to ESPN’s Chris Berman.
A notable ESPN personality and mainstay in their NFL coverage for almost three decades, Berman will reportedly retire from ESPN after the 2016 NFL season.
While Berman’s agent dispelled the rumor that he planned to hang them up, just in case let’s tip our cap to the man.
Look, say what you will about Berman (and people have said a lot of negative things since the news trickled out) but he has done yeoman’s work for The Shield.
Berman was the central figure in ESPN’s weekly football highlight show – NFL Primetime – which started in 1987.
From ’87 to 2005, NFL Primetime WAS the show of record on Sundays to catch up with what happened during the day in the league.
The rollicking music, highlights, and chemistry between Berman and longtime cohort Tom Jackson made it the most entertaining NFL program in the P.B.M. (post Brent Musburger & The NFL Today).
Basically, it was the NFL equivalent to what we see now with TNT’s post-game show tour de force Inside the NBA.
However, the ride for the Berman-led NFL Primetime came to a halt shortly before the 2006 season after the league inked a new television deal that featured NBC seizing control of Sunday nights.
NBC’s Football Night in America took the championship belt of highlight shows away from NFL Primetime. While the show still lives on, it’s nowhere the eye-catcher it was with Berman during the program’s heyday.
Of course, Berman’s other notable league-related program was NFL Gameday – ESPN’s Sunday pregame show. While the program became a caricature of itself over the last decade, it helped set the tone for the day’s events.
Just ask Donovan McNabb & Rush Limbaugh.
His act of using classic rock lyrics and nicknames aged significantly over time but one thing did not. Berman was a huge part of the NFL’s television identity for nearly 30 years.
Thanks for the memories, Boom.
Categories: NFL News & Notes