The editors at Deadspin, the other site I write for on occasion (they let me swear!), were recently invited to Bristol, Conn., to take a tour of ESPN and rub elbows with some of the WWL’s most notable stars. You can read all about their exploits here, but one facet of the trip caught my attention.
I hate Chris Berman. And if you’re any kind of decent football fan, you do too. The old schtick. The blatant favoritism. The painful self-reverence. Berman is the perfect sports anchor for people who wear company logo polo shirts on casual Friday and lack a solid grasp of what constitutes good comedy. He’s awful. And worse yet, his awfulness is so institutionalized that people have just come to accept it. Well, I don’t accept it. If I see Berman in that stupid Swami getup one more time, I’ll set fire to the continent.
Every year, Berman presides over the NFL Draft. Actually, I should amend that statement. Berman presides over the beginning of the Draft, hogs the spotlight when the ratings are highest, and then jets off after a few hours to play golf. You might think he does this because he just feels compelled to be anywhere where there will be lots of eyeballs watching him. Turns out, you would be correct. Because Chris Berman, unofficial mascot for the NFL, actually hates the entire event. Here’s the quote from Deadspin.
Chris Berman hates the idea of a televised three-day NFL Draft. "Why put the NFL Draft on TV?" he grouched. "That's like reading the Manhattan phonebook. NFL Draft, three nights — J---s, I wanna sign off."
I find this quote more annoying than the time Tony Kornheiser (as part of the MNF booth) confessed he wasn’t all that interested in the NFL. At least with Kornheiser, I knew going in he wasn’t all that jazzed about football. He wore his heart on his sleeve. But Berman is supposed to be Mr. I Love Football. He’s the Dickie V of the sport. So when he demands to host an event that’s very important to many NFL fans, but secretly can’t stand it, I get a little angry. Chris Berman is a phony. A big fat, disgusting phony. And this confirms it. Well, this and that time he was caught yelling at the help. This man is a menace and must be stopped. I suggest lowing the Jerrytron onto his body.
CORRECTION: Bill Hofheimer of ESPN's Communications Dep't writes in: "Read your Chris Berman post on Blue Star blog. That Deadspin story you linked to about him hating the draft was totally wrong. When Berman addressed media and bloggers last week here in Bristol he was discussing Pete Rozelle's reaction to then-ESPN president Chet Simmons in 1979-80 when the idea of televising the Draft was first proposed. Berman doesn't hate the Draft. He admits it's the hardest thing he does all year and that the new format over multiple nights will be an adjustment but he doesn't hate it -- not even close. If he did, he wouldn't work it every year for 30 years. Just thought you should have the proper context here."