As mentioned on the blog several months ago, rumors were floating around that Chris Berman – the longtime face of ESPN’s NFL coverage – would be out in some manner after this season’s conclusion.
On Thursday, that news became official.
Following Super Bowl LI, Berman will see a reduced role on the network and will no longer be heading up Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby, the NFL Draft, NFL Countdown, and ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage.
This brings the curtain down on Berman’s incredible run for the network with frontline coverage on The Shield, which dates back to 1987. He started with the network back in its inception in 1979.
Of course, the Citizen Kane of Berman’s career will be his work with NFL Primetime – the league’s signature highlight show on Sunday evenings until the Sunday Night Football/NBC deal effectively killed it.
NFL Primetime was the show of record. Prior to the Goodell regime, it wasn’t a layup for the big 4pm games to be on in major markets. Thus, “Primetime” was an essential watch for fans. Some of the original national hot takes came from that show via analyst Tom Jackson.
As a salute, here are some of my favorite Primetime clips:
The Cowboys upset the previously unbeaten 11-0 Washington Redskins in RFK Stadium
The ’93 season Cowboys/Giants season finale for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs
The Comeback – Oilers vs. Bills in the 1992 playoffs:
Ugh, it was a fun ride Boom. We’ll miss you.
Categories: Chris Berman, News and Notes
Berman’s departure couldn’t happen soon enough. Once he was great, but has spent the last ten years being little more than a parody of himself. He is the embodiment of ESPN’s general decline in quality. To his credit, he is the last of the “old-school” broadcasters who can knock back a fifth of scotch and still nail the show.