Christopher James Berman is a legend on these here intertubes. The nicknaming wonder boy has taken the word “leather” to new heights, and most recently shown us how to drink on the job (I imagine you need booze to get through the snooze fest that is the ProBowl). Well now we learn about where he comes from and how he got to be the Draft Guru that he is.
Your Tour Guide is one Brian from Talking NFL. Please join him after the jump for the history that is….Berman.
Chris Berman: The Beginning
For the last few years, Hollywood (having run out of original ideas) has been churning out movies that explain the origins to some of our favorite big-screen characters. Batman, Leatherface, Hannibal; there’s even a Star Trek prequel in the works (get those Vulcan ears out of your parent’s closets, Trekkies!)
Well, if it works for movies, why can’t it work for broadcasters?
Take Boomer for example. As stoked as football fans are for the draft this weekend, there’s one aspect to ESPN’s coverage that we all dread: namely, Berman giving away the identity of a pick just before the commissioner announces it. Absolutely everybody hates it when he does this, yet he’ll be playing the spoiler role again this Saturday for a mind-blowing 28th consecutive year. (By comparison, Jason Voorhees has only tormented us in 11 Friday the 13th flicks)
Why, for the love of Blair Thomas, does he keep doing this to us? The secret lies in an incident in his past, and explains everything you ever didn’t want to know about the Cowhide Connoisseur. Presenting, Chris Berman: The Beginning.
Setting: Greenwich, CT, 1970. A birthday party. Young Berman is off in the corner away from the other kids, pouting.
YB: (to himself)
(This sucks. Why isn’t anyone paying attention to me? I should be the Grand Salami of this Shindig, the Presidente of Popularity! But oh, no. Everyone’s hanging with the birthday boy, Mr. Freddy “I Still Wet My” Sheets. He he! That’s a good one, lemme write that down…)
(Oh, great, must be present time. Here comes his mom, Mrs. “I’d-like-to-get-under-her-satin” Sheets. Damn she’s hot. Wonder how she’d look in some chaps on top of a Harley? Boy, I could definitely go ALL – THE – WAY with that!)
Mrs. Sheets: “Okay, kids! Freddy’s going to open his gifts now.”
YB: [dejected, starts pounding birthday cake & Kool-Aid]
Freddy: “Wow! Look at this one mom, it’s huge! Wonder what this is?”
YB: (angrily) “Duh! Anything that big has to be an Apollo Rocket toy!”
Freddy: (opens it) “Uh…yeah, it is.”
(rest of the kids groan)
Kid 1: “Nice job, jerk.”
Kid 2: “Yeah, what’s your problem?”
YB: “Uh, sorry.” (wow, they’re all really mad at me now…but they finally noticed me!)
The light bulb goes on
Mrs. Sheets: “Say, Freddy, what do you think this one is?”
YB (quickly, before Freddy can answer): “Welll…judging by the siiize…ITSAPIECEOFCLOTHING! MORETHANLIKELYASWEATER!”
Freddy: “Gosh, right again Chris!”
YB: “Whoooooop!!” Look’s like it’s 100% polyester! Someone needs to take that thing BACK-BACK-BACK to Sears!”
(more groans, but some of the kids are laughing now. One child of color seems particularly impressed…)
Freddy: “Oh, boy, I bet I know what this one is! It’s-“
(YB blindsides Freddy & opens the gift himself)
YB: “Ach-heeeah! Veeeery intah-resting! Just as I suspected – it’sa FOOTBALL! You can go rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin’ with this pigskin (deepens voice) on the Frozen Tundra of Lammmbooowww Field!”
(more laughs while Freddy cries. His mother takes him inside for medical attention)
YB: (picking up steam) “There’s Bart (sings)‘Twinkle Twinkle Little’ Starr going back to pass, he goes long and deep! But Mel ‘What’s that Apartment’ Renfro? is in perfect position, so what does he do?!”
Nobody answers. Awkward silence. Berman is in danger of losing them. Suddenly, from the back:
Young Tom Jackson: “Knock it down!”
YB: “Knock it down! And he does, and the Dallas Cowboys win Suppahh Bowl 4!”
Kid 1: (laughing) “This kid’s a riot!”
Kid 2: “No he’s not! He’s an ass-clown!”
Kid 1: “You’re an ass-clown!”
A fight breaks out. The party is ruined. Young Berman looks triumphantly on at the chaos he has caused. Young Jackson strolls up to his side.
YJ: “Boy that was really funny! What’s your name?”
YB: “My name is- (stops, pauses, gets weird look on face) they call me…Da Swami!”
YJ: “Cooooo1! My name’s Tom Jackson.”
YB: No…(closes his eyes, pauses dramatically, waves him arms in a huge flourish) your name is now (christening move) Tommy ‘TJ’ Jackson!
YJ: “WOW! Can I be your best friend?”
YB: “Mmmm…no. But you can be my first assistant.”
YJ: “OK, what do I do?”
YB: “Just laugh at my jokes and agree with all my points, regardless of whether I’m right or wrong. Oh, and if someone threatens me, beat the shit out them.”
YB: “TJ, you don’t know how good we are yet. We. Could. Go. All. The. Way!”
YJ: (pause) “Are you retarded?”
YB: “I mean in show biz, you moron!”
YJ: “Oh, right! Sorry…”
And now you know the story.