ESPN personality Chris Berman is a lot of things. He’s a six-time National Sportscaster of the Year, he emcees the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies, host of Sunday Night Countdown and he’s even a Hall of Famer himself.
But he’s never called an NFL game. Now he’s getting that chance. Yahoo Sports football blog Shutdown Corner reports that Chris Berman has been pegged, along with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, to call the second half of the Monday Night Football doubleheader between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders on Sept. 10. The game will follow the the Cincinnati Bengals-Baltimore Ravens opener, which is scheduled to be called by the regular MNF team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden.
“I was a little surprised,” Chris Berman said in a press release. “Our president, John Skipper, and our VP of programming were together. And in the middle of an interesting evening, they turned to me and said, ‘We’d like you to call the second “Monday Night Football” game.’ I said, ‘Wow — there’s something I never really thought about.'”
Despite 32 years with ESPN, not everyone is a Berman fan. Deadspin‘s Drew Margary writes “Berman is intolerable even as studio host, even when he’s on the mere fringes of a sporting event. Every time Tirico throws to Berman for a halftime preview during MNF, I tear both labrums reaching for the mute button.”
Shutdown Corner’s Doug Farar adds, “I get the outrage over Berman calling a game of this importance given his limited experience in an NFL football booth, but this won’t be anywhere near the train wreck the NFL Network had on its hands when it decided to think “outside the box” with the horrific Bryant Gumbel experiment a few years back.”
For his part at least, Dilfer is pleased to be calling the game with Berman.
“I have worked with Boom for four years now and I’ve never been around someone who loves the NFL more than him,” Dilfer told Shutdown Corner. “I firmly believe that his passion and mine for the game of football will translate to the audience.”
Fans of Chris Berman will no doubt be happy to see their favorite sportscaster throw out his catchphrases in a new setting, while everyone else will just grin and bear it — even if it means hitting the mute button.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)