Chris Berman will be rumbling, bumbling, and stumbling his way through your television sets for at least the next few years. The NFL host (and moonlighting play by play man) has signed a new contract with ESPN on the 33rd anniversary of the network's launch. I can already hear the dancing in the streets. As is custom with the annoucement of previous re-signings, ESPN has not released any details of the new contract, only labeling it a "multi-year extention." However, ESPN does say the new contract will keep him on Bristol airwaves until near his 40th year with the network. Given that Berman joined ESPN just after its launch in 1979, that means we'll see his Vaudeville circus until well into the 2010s. Here's what ESPN President John Skipper had to say:
“On the day we commemorate our company’s birthday, it’s fitting we extend our relationship with Chris, arguably the most recognizable face and voice in ESPN’s history. Since arriving in Bristol in 1979, Chris’ passion and enthusiasm, and, of course his signature highlights, have long been his trademarks, earning him a special place among fans for more than three decades.”
Clearly, Chris Berman has his fans to this day, but his performance art has certainly grown old with a sizeable swoth of football fans. That's not to mention fans of the Home Run Derby and golf's US Open where Berman's sizeable persona dominates and distracts from the event itself. Perhaps no assigment in sports has been as heavily critiiczed as Chris Berman's work at the US Open, but never fear, ESPN has ensured that will continue for the next several years. Instead of embracing evolution in presenting sports, ESPN will continue to take us back, back, back, back to 1986 year after year after year. I already tried watching Hot Tub Time Machine once and had to turn it off after 25 minutes.
To all you Trey Wingo fans and fans of coherent, cogent television personalities, I'm sorry. At least we know we'll have plenty of material throughout this decade.