Chris Berman

Chris Berman
Born May 10, 1955 (1955-05-10) (age 56)
Education Brown University, '77
B.A. History
Title NFL Studio Host, SportsCenter Anchor, Baseball Commentator
Spouse(s) Kathy
Children Meredith and Doug

Christopher James "Chris" Berman, also known by the nickname Boomer, (born May 10, 1955 in Greenwich, Connecticut) is an American sportscaster. He anchors SportsCenter, Monday Night Countdown, Sunday NFL Countdown, U.S. Open golf, the Stanley Cup Finals, and other programming on ESPN and ABC Sports.

Contents

Biography

Early life and education

Berman is Jewish,[1] and was raised in Irvington, New York. During his childhood he went to Camp Winnebago in Fayette, Maine. In 1970, he attended the Hackley School and Brown University from which he graduated in 1977 with a degree in history.[2]

Career

Berman sings "Walking on a Thin Line" with Huey Lewis and the News on stage.

Berman moved to WNVR in Waterbury, Connecticut. He was eventually hired at Hartford's WVIT-TV to do weekend sports at $23 per shift. He joined ESPN in 1979 a month after its founding and has been with the network since. Along with Bob Ley, he is one of ESPN's longest-tenured employees. Berman, who is generally known to be heavy-set, often jokes that he now uses his original ESPN jacket from 1979 when he was much skinnier. He is the host of Monday Night Countdown, replacing previous host Stuart Scott. In 1988 and 1989, he hosted ESPN's first game show, Boardwalk and Baseball's Super Bowl of Sports Trivia which was taped at the now-defunct Boardwalk and Baseball amusement park in Orlando, Florida.

He is well known for his various catch-phrases and player nicknames. His rendition of, "He could...go...all...the...way!" is adopted from Howard Cosell who would say "He's going to go all the way," while another of his famous calls, "Back-back-back-back" comes from Red Barber. This strategic and often complicated call is usually screamed by Berman when a baseball is hit a very long way, and is followed by "Gone!" when the ball leaves the field of play. Another catch-phrase: "Whoop!" during highlights when a player makes a quick move or causes someone to miss or make a mistake. He is most known for the use of puns to make nicknames for certain players, e.g. calling former Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Bert Blyleven Bert "Be Home" Blyleven (a pun on the phrase "be home by eleven"). A fan of the Canadian Football League, Berman watched their games growing up in Connecticut. He has talked to many people such as former coach Marv Levy, Joe Theismann, Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia, Joe Horn, and Trent Green about their participation in that 'other' football league and often shows CFL highlights and does Grey Cup picks every year as well.

Berman also goes by his alter ego, "The Swami," when making predictions on Sunday NFL Countdown. Renowned for his gravelly voice and imperious on-air presence, Berman's reputation for penny-ante tyranny was bolstered by the release of an outtake from a broadcast of Monday Night Football in 2000 where Berman is seen furiously berating his staff for distracting him with their off-camera movements[3] .

In December 2008, the Associated Press ran a long retrospective on Berman's 30 year career with ESPN.[4] "He is our most important person," said Norby Williamson, ESPN's vice president of production. "He is the face of ESPN," he added. Berman noted that his contract with ESPN expires on his 55th birthday, and that he does 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.[5]

Despite being born in Connecticut, Berman has become a strong backer of the Buffalo Bills in recent years.[6] This sentiment is echoed in Berman's on-air phrase, "No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills."

In September 1999, Berman was honored by his boyhood team, the San Francisco Giants, with the privilege of throwing out the first pitch at one of the final games ever at historic Candlestick Park. He is proud to say that he’s the only guy east of the Rockies to have a patch of outfield grass from both Candlestick Park and AT&T Park growing in his backyard. [7]

In other media

  • Berman lent his voice to the videogame ESPN NFL 2K5 and hosts the pregame show. As a hidden feature, Berman appears as a free agent quarterback in season mode, and also has his own team in the game, the Bristol Swamis, named after Bristol, Connecticut, where ESPN headquarters are located and his nickname, "the Swami."
  • Berman appeared in Adam Sandler's 1998 goofball comedy The Waterboy as well as Sandler's The Longest Yard in 2005 where he played himself as the play-by-play announcer of the prison football game. Berman also appeared as himself in Necessary Roughness in 1991, Little Big League in 1994, and Eddie and Kingpin in 1996, as well as the 1995 Hootie and the Blowfish video for the single, "Only Wanna Be With You."
  • Berman has cameoed on various episodes of Even Stevens as a SportsCenter anchor.
  • Berman appeared in the ESPN Baseball Tonight computer game and videogame.
  • During a segment of the "Chase the Cheese" event on an episode of Sesame Street, Berman voiced the sports announcer.
  • Berman had a cameo appearance in the MTV animated series Clone High. He, along with Dan Patrick provided commentary for the school's basketball game until he was eaten at the end of the episode by the rival school's mascot.
  • Berman appears in Nutrisystem commercials with Don Shula, Dan Marino and Mike Golic, using some of his trademark phrases and nicknames who show how much weight they lost.

Honors

Career timeline

Personal

Berman and his wife, Kathy, live in Cheshire, Connecticut. In 2007, Berman built a house in Olowalu, Hawaii on the island of Maui. He has vacationed on the island for the past 30 years.

See also

Notes

External links


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