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L E’s Stories – From Boomer To The Swami “He Might Go All The Way” – Salute To Sportscaster Chris Berman

There are more than a couple of things that grew up with Bone Daddy’s sports bar, Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place, at 302 E. 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas….such as the age of the satellite dish age….the age of the internet…..email….mobile phones….the Rubik’s cube….the floppy disc….Intel …. the Sony Betamax video recorder….Intel….Apple….and ESPN, just to name a few…..cuz there were so many more….as the satellite dish, Betamax recorder and ESPN became an integral part of BD’s sports bar…. which evolved into the 2300 hours of recorded video that is currently in process of being posted here at ImaSportsphile.  The truth be known, ImaSportsphile could never have become a reality without the advancements of technology of the satellite dish, the Betamax recorder and ESPN (which opened the doors to the proliferation of sports on TV….while providing BD with a wide array of televised sports on television…..and what would ESPN be without two of its original cast members, Chris Berman and Bob Ley….who both maintained a presence at the sports network through the years up to 2019.  So, today’s story is a tribute to one of those two original sportscasters behind the SportsCenter desk at ESPN….who is affectionately known here at ImaSportsphile as Boomer and The Swami, Chris Berman.                                    

Sportscasters – 2017 – The Dan Patrick – Special Interview With Chris Berman – “What Happened When Dan Patrick and Chris Berman Got in Trouble at ESPN”                                                                                                

Chris Berman is an American sportscaster….who has been an anchor for SportsCenter on ESPN since 1979….while joining a month after its initial launch….and hosted the network’s Sunday NFL Countdown  program from 1985 to 2016….as he has also anchored Monday Night Countdown, U.S. Open golf, the  Stanley Cup Finals and many other programming on ESPN and ABC Sports.  Berman calls play-by-play of select Major League Baseball games for ESPN….which included the Home Run Derby until 2016.  A six-time honoree of the National Sports Media Association’s “National Sportscaster of the Year” award, Berman was instrumental in establishing ESPN’s lasting popularity during the network’s formative years….as he is well known for his various catchphrases and quirky demeanor.                                                           

Sportscasters – 1999 – Special – ESPN’s Chris Berman’s Top Ten Plays

Berman was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, the son of Peggy Shevell….who worked as a reporter-researcher for Time magazine….and James Keliner Berman, a corporate executive vice president.  Berman grew up in Irvington, New York…..and was raised Jewish . During his childhood, he went to Camp Winnebago in Fayette, Maine….and he enrolled at the Hackley School in 1970….then graduated from Brown University in 1977 with a degree in history….where he was the sports director of the school’s radio station, WBRU.

 

NFL – 2019 – NFL Countdown With Host Chris Berman – Featuring Comedian Frank Caliendo Sharing His Best NFL Impressions Of Boomer + Jon Gruden + Bill Parcells + Herm Edwards Et Al

Berman’s sportscasting career began at Hartford’s WVIT-TV as a weekend sports anchor….then he joined ESPN in 1979, a month after its founding…..and has been with the network ever since.  Along with Bob Ley, he is one of ESPN’s longest-tenured employees….as both Berman and Ley are the only remaining SportsCenter anchors from 1979.  He spent 31 years as the host of both Sunday NFL Countdown….along with a ten year stingt hosting Monday Night Countdown, prior to ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast.  In addition, during the NFL season, he hosts the evening SportsCenter (airing generally at either 7:30 pm Eastern Time and/or 11 pm Eastern Time) along with Herm Edwards….who replaced Tom Jackson for the 2016 season.  Berman often appears on Sportscenter at night (midnight to 1 a.m.) hosting brief segments called “Chris Berman’s two-minute drill”. From 1988-1989, he hosted ESPN’s first game show, Boardwalk and Baseball’s Super Bowl of Sports Trivia.                                                     

NFL – 1998 – Week 13 Highlights – Featuring ESPN’s Chris Berman And His Top 10 Plays

By 1993, Berman was described as the leader of the ESPN team….and one of the most recognizable sportscasters in the business. “The true test is when Chris is on, turn down your TV and open your window. You will hear him. The microphone is nothing but a prop,” said fellow ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann   In December 2008, the Associated Press ran a long retrospective on Berman’s 30-year career with ESPN.  “He is our most important person,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s vice president of production. “He is the face of ESPN,” he added.  At the time, Berman noted that his contract with ESPN would expire on his 55th birthday, and that he did not see himself broadcasting into his 60s. In April 2010, however, ESPN extended Berman’s contract for an undisclosed period of time, only noting that it was a multi-year deal. The contract was eventually revealed to expire at the end of 2016.  Between 1995-2006, Berman hosted Monday Night Football as well as live coverage of three Super Bowls for ABC Sports. He continued to host MNF when ESPN got the rights in 2006.                                                                                        

Sportscaster – 2013 – 60 Minutes Sports Special – Lara Logan Gets A Cook’s Tour Of ESPN With Chris Berman Including Original SportsCenter Studio

Berman was a season ticket holder for the Hartford Whalers….and was a strong supporter of the team’s staying in Connecticut….as he occasionally makes reference to the team….while sometimes even by humming the team’s theme song, Brass Bonanza.  Berman has also become a strong backer of the Buffalo Bills in recent years…..when In an interview with Buffalo Bills reporter and play-by-play voice John Murphy on July 26, 2012….as Berman acknowledged that you could call him a “Bills Booster”….whereas this sentiment is also echoed in Berman’s on-air phrase, “No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills!”….which has resulted by his being involved with several events relating to the Bills, such as team founder Ralph Wilson’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Bruce Smith’s Bills Hall of Fame induction in September 2016.  Berman signed a new contract in January 2017 for a reduced schedule, but remains at ESPN.                                                                                                                   


Sportscasters – 2019 – The Dan Patrick Radio Show – Interview ESPN’s Chris Berman on NFL’s Greatest Plays + Sportscenter Et Al

On October 29, 2018, Berman served as the on-field emcee for Thurman Thomas’s number retirement ceremony. In May 2019, Berman called a three-game series for the Boston Red Sox Radio Network alongside longtime Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione.  In 2019, Berman and Tom Jackson re-united for a revival of NFL Primetime….which was streamed exclusively on ESPN+.  In addition, they have also hosted the “fastest three minutes” segments on the Monday Night Football halftime show.                                             

Sportscasters – 2004 – ESPN’s Week 9 Fastest 3 Minute Halftime Show – With Chris Berman

 

Sportscasters – 2003 – ESPN’s Week 3 Fastest 3 Minute Halftime Show – With Chris Berman

Sportscasters – 2008 – ESPN’s Week 11 Fastest 3 Minute Halftime Show – With Chris Berman

Sportscasters – 2019 – ESPN’s Week 16 Fastest 3 Minute Halftime Show – With Chris Berman & Tom Jackson

The Swami is well known for his various catchphrases and player nicknames….such as his mid-play prediction of a touchdown run as “He could…go…all…the…way!” is perhaps his most famous phrase…. and one of the first he adopted….which was featured on the Jock Rock, Volume 2 compilation album….his home run calls of “Back, back, back, back…Gone!”….which he implements most commonly during the MLB Home Run Derby….as these comments are drawn from sports casting legend Red Barber ….then there is a “Whoop!”….which is uttered during highlights when a player makes a quick move or causes someone to miss or make a mistake…..plus, “Tick, tick, tick, tick tick tick tick…” during a post-game recap….for a play or moment in which the clock is a factor.  When a large player such as a lineman runs with the football, Berman describes him as “rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin'”.                                

Sportscasters – 1999 -Special – ESPN’s 20th Anniversary Show – Featuring Chris Berman + Bob Ley = Stuart Scott + Dan Patrick + Rich Eisen Et Al

Berman is known for integrating puns into player nicknames….like when he dubbed former MLB and NFL players such as Bert Blyleven Bert “Be Home” Blyleven…..David Supreme Court” Justice…..Jeff “Pin The Tail On The” Bronkey…..Harold Growing” Baines….Jay “Ferris” Buhner…..Jose “Can You See” Canseco…..Dave “No Man Is An” Eiland….Greg Mathe” Maddux…..Scott Supercalifragilisticexpiala” Brosius…..Albert “Winnie the” Puljos….Carlos daylight come and Delgado go home….Darryl Strawberry Shortcake….Mike    “Pepperoni” Piazza….Jeff “Philadelphia” Feagles….  Moises “Skip to My” Alou….Joseph “Live and Let” Addai….Rollie “Chicken” Fingers….Chuck “New Kids on The” Knoblauch….  Matt “Stump the” Schaub…. Jake “Daylight Come and You Gotta” Delhomme….Sammy “Say It Ain’t” Sosa  ….Todd “Highway To” Helton….Miguel “Tejada They Come, Tejada They Fall”….Ahmad “A Christmas” Carroll….Jeff “Brown Paper” Bagwell….“The Well Dressed” Amani Toomer…..Mike “You’re In Good Hands With” Alstott….so, can you tell how much we love Boomer when he is reporting highlights or game action!?!                                                                                                                                                                         

Sportscasters – 1993 – ESPN Special – The Chris Berman Nickname Christmas Show

Sportscasters – 2017 – The Rich Eisen Show – With Legendary ESPN Broadcaster Chris Berman On Which Nicknames Of Players He is Most Proud Of

Berman adopts the persona of his alter ego, “The Swami” to make predictions on Sunday NFL Countdown….and for seven consecutive years “The Swami” predicted a Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills….with one or the other but never both making it during that span.  In January 2017, ESPN announced that Berman would be stepping down from several NFL-related roles at the network, but would remain at the company.

 

Sportscasters – 2017 – ESPN Super Bowl LI Special – Chris Berman’s Tribute To Opening Night At The Super Bowl

Berman appeared in Adam Sandler’s 1998 comedy The Waterboy as well as Sandler’s The Longest Yard in 2005, playing himself as the play-by-play announcer of the prison football game. Berman also appeared as himself in Necessary Roughness in 1991, The Program in 1993 (though was a little out of place doing college football), Little Big League in 1994, as well as Eddie and Kingpin in 1996. He made a cameo appearance in the 1995 Hootie and the Blowfish video for the single “Only Wanna Be With You.” Berman made a cameo in the 2013 comedy Grown Ups 2. Berman appears in Nutrisystem commercials with Don Shula, Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw, and Mike Golic, using some of his trademark phrases and nicknames to show how much weight they lost.

 

Sportscasters – 2000 – Rare ESPN Footage Of Chris Berman’s Rant Before NFL Countdown Show

 

Sportscasters – 2001 – ESPN’s NFL Countdown Pre-Show – With Chris Berman Making Fun Of Al Michaels                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         As I think about the closing of this video tribute to an absolutely masterful legend of a sportscaster….as evidenced by the video provided…..cuz Boomer brough an wonderful exuberance of joy to anything that he covered…..with a discourse unlike any other…..whether he was live….behind the SportsCenter bench…or calling the home run derby….for he made you a part of whatever he was calling….as his love for the game and his enthusiasm for calling the event….just simply brought you into the fray….no matter when or where.  Resulting from posting this story…..it has become even more obvious to me just how connected the “life paths” of ESPN, Madison Square Garden (Bone Daddy’s sports bar) and ImaSportsphile truly have been….as ESPN and MSG ran parallel paths….when they both started in early 1977….while MSG started taping on Sony BetaMax video cassettes in early 1978, just when ESPN was coming on the air…..which meant that live sporting events on TV literally tripled….and since BD would tape every meaningful sports event’s live telecast….and show them over and over again during the weeks to follow at MSG.  Back then, there wasn’t even a thought about a “vintage video museum” like we have here….plus, Bone Daddy never figured that after 15 years of continuous recording that he would have 2300 hours of video in his MSG video library when he closed down his legendary Austin sports bar….but the fact remains that there was an abundance of ESPN programs all throughout the library over the 15 years of doing so…..and Chris Berman was the man who carried the ball 35 times a game for 34 years at ESPN….which equates to the outstanding collection of Boomer and The Swami content that we are “tickled pink” to have…..cuz Chris Berman is a truly an iconic sportscasting legend worthy of his tribute here at ImaSportsphile.  

 

Sportscasters – 2008 – ESPN Special – Chris Berman On Smuggling Drugs From Canada

 

Sportscasters – 2001 – ESPN’s Chris Berman Off Air – Showing His Potty Mouth

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