Berman in March 2007
Christopher James Berman|
May 10, 1955
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Brown University, '77|
|Title||NFL studio host, SportsCenter anchor, baseball commentator, football commentator|
|Spouse(s)||Katherine "Kathy" Alexinski (m. 1983)|
|Children||Meredith and Doug|
Christopher James Berman (born May 10, 1955), also known by the nickname Boomer, is an American sportscaster. He has been an anchor for SportsCenter on ESPN since 1979, joining a month after its initial launch, and has hosted the network's Sunday NFL Countdown program since 1985. He has also anchored Monday Night Countdown, U.S. Open golf, the Stanley Cup Finals, and other programming on ESPN and ABC Sports. Berman calls play-by-play of select Major League Baseball games for ESPN, including the Home Run Derby. A six-time honoree of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's "National Sportscaster of the Year" award, Berman was instrumental in establishing ESPN's lasting popularity during the network's formative years. He is well known for his various catchphrases and quirky demeanor. He was awarded the Pete Rozelle Award for excellence in football broadcasting in 2010.
Berman was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, the son of Peggy Shevell (née Tenenbaum), 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. He was raised Jewish. During his childhood, he went to Camp Winnebago in Fayette, Maine. He enrolled at the Hackley School in 1970, and graduated Brown University in 1977 with a degree in history, where he was the sports director of the school's radio station, WBRU.
Berman's sportscasting career began at Hartford's WVIT-TV as a weekend sports anchor. 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. Berman and Ley are the only remaining SportsCenter anchors from 1979. He is currently the host of both Sunday NFL Countdown, and Monday Night Countdown. In addition, during the NFL season, he hosts the evening SportsCenter (airing generally at either 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time or 11 PM Eastern Standard Time) along with Herm Edwards, who replaced Tom Jackson for the 2016 season. From 1988-1989, he hosted ESPN's first game show, Boardwalk and Baseball's Super Bowl of Sports Trivia.
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.
Berman was a season ticket holder for the Hartford Whalers, and was a strong supporter of the team's staying in Connecticut. He occasionally makes reference to the team, 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. In an interview with Buffalo Bills reporter and play-by-play voice John Murphy on July 26, 2012, Berman acknowledged that you could call him a "Bills Booster". This sentiment is also echoed in Berman's on-air phrase, "No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills!" In addition, he has been 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 Wall of Fame induction in September 2016.
Berman is well known for his various catchphrases and player nicknames.
- 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. It 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, are drawn from Red Barber.
- A "Whoop!" is uttered during highlights when a player makes a quick move or causes someone to miss or make a mistake.
- "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'".
- Berman is known for integrating puns into player nicknames, dubbing former Minnesota Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven Bert "Be Home" Blyleven.
Berman adopts the persona of his alter ego, "The Swami," to make predictions on Sunday NFL Countdown. For seven consecutive years "The Swami" predicted a Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills, one or the other – but never both – making it during that span.
In other media
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, 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.
- National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association National Sportscaster of the Year (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001)
- American Sportscasters Association Sportscaster of the Year – Studio Host (1995, 1997, 1998)
- CableACE Award Best Cable Sportscaster 1987, 1988, 1990
- 1997 "TV's Most Fascinating Stars" from People
- 2001 Maxwell Football Club's Reds Bagnell Award
- 2007 honorary degree from Brown University.
- 2009 Presented Ralph C. Wilson Jr. into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 24, 2010
- Received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award on July 12, 2010
- 1979–present: SportsCenter anchor (occasionally since 1990)
- 1985–present: Sunday NFL Countdown host
- 1985–present: NFL Draft host
- 1986–2014: U.S. Open nightly show host
- 1987–2005: NFL Primetime host
- 1987–2005: ESPN Sunday Night Football halftime host
- 1990–present: Baseball Tonight host (occasional)
- 1990–present: MLB on ESPN play-by-play (selected games)
- 1986–present: Home Run Derby play-by-play
- 1996–1999, 2006–present, and during NFL playoff between 1998 and 2005: Monday Night Football halftime host
- 2003–2014: U.S. Open host
- 2003–2004: NHL on ESPN and NHL on ABC studio co-host (Stanley Cup Finals)
- 2006–present: Monday Night Countdown host
- 2012–present: ESPN Monday Night Football No. 2 play-by-play
- Jenks, Jim (December 19, 1993). "At ESPN, it's all play and all work for 'Boomer'". The Daily Gazette. p. D6. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- "Katherine Alexinski Wed to Christopher Berman". NYTimes.com. 1983-07-24. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- Sean Dillon, Staff Writer (April 15, 2010). "CSULB professor explores baseball's impact on Jewish Americans". Daily 49er.
- Arace, Michael (October 14, 1993). "Chris Berman: Regular Guy With a National Following". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- Schwartzapfel, Beth (January 2006). "Radio Heads". brownalumnimagazine.com. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- Goodman, Mark. "Sonic Boomer". People.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- Chris Berman's Father Dies at Age 89, Introduced ESPN Host to Football. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Peggy Berman Obituary – New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Murphy, Brian. "The Super Bowl... of Sports Trivia". ESPN Page2. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- Berman set to embark on 30th year at ESPN Archived September 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "ESPN to extend Chris Berman's contract - NFL - Sporting News". Aol.sportingnews.com. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- McIntyre, Jason (May 26, 2016). "Chris Berman's Contract Won't Be Renewed at ESPN, Who Replaces Him?". USA Today. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- Wilson request stunned Berman Archived July 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Arkush, Arthur (May 27, 2016). "ESPN's Chris Berman reportedly retiring after 2016 NFL season". Pro Football Weekly. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Doyle, Bill (October 14, 2011). "ESPN's Chris Berman is serious about having fun". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Lomartire, Paul (December 13, 1996). "ESPN hits the music charts". Rome News-Tribune. Cox News Service. p. 45. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Cunningham, Dave (September 13, 1998). "Announcers Hit Home Runs With Their Calls Of Long Ball". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Akers, David (2016). Winning in Spite Of: Nine Biblical Principles for Turning Hard Times into Personal Growth, Increased Impact, and Abundant Life. Redemption Press. ISBN 1683141067. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Holmgren, Ryan (September 6, 2013). "Bishop Ryan has hands full with Kindred's Bachmeier". Minot Daily News. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Chase Stuart (7 October 2012). "San Francisco sets record in Chris Berman's mythical Super Bowl". footballperspective.com.
- "ESPN TV Listings - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
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