Chris Berman, who joined ESPN a month after its launch in 1979 and has been the face of its NFL coverage for decades, has re-upped with the sports giant in a multiyear deal. But there’s a catch: He won’t be hosting any NFL shows after this season.
The man who made sports nicknames fun again — who can forget Oddibe “Young Again” McDowell? — is taking on a new role at ESPN: The Worldwide Leader sad today that he “will make appearances on-air and will also serve in public-facing roles on behalf of the company.” He also will do play-by-play for ESPN Radio during the MLB Divisional Playoffs and participate in ESPN’s annual ESPY Awards.
“The whole experience here has been a dream come true,” said Berman, a six-time National Sportscaster of the Year who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “When we started in 1979, I was just 24. Nobody knew if ESPN would make it, or, for that matter, if cable TV would make it. I certainly wasn’t sure I would make it, but I really didn’t care. We were too busy having a blast. … I’ve been lucky enough to spend almost two-thirds of my life at ESPN, and I am honored to have lent a small hand in laying the cornerstone for what has truly become a beacon in sports.”
ESPN will air an hour-long show documenting Berman’s career and impact – titled “He Did Go All the Way,” a riff on his famous Howard Cosell “Halftime Highlights” impression – at 10:30 PM February 2.