"Larger Than Life."
"One of the Best-Known Sportscasters of All-Time."
"…the Face of ESPN."
'… most famous for changing the way sports fans get their news."
"A master of delivery"
"… highlight king"
Those are some of the words used by CBS News reporter Lara Logan to describe Chris Berman in this month's edition of "60 Minutes Sports" that premiered this week on Showtime. When you hear those words, you know that this is not going to be the typical hard-hitting 60 Minutes profile of the polarizing sportscaster, but more of a glowing puff piece. In fact, there were times when Logan, a dedicated war zone correspondent for the regular 60 Minutes, appeared to be charmed by Berman.
Throughout the profile, Logan called Berman by his nickname, "Boomer" and didn't ask any him hard-hitting questions. The profile gave credit to Berman for helping in the growth of ESPN (can't argue this point, he was there from the beginning). But she seemed to give Berman credit for establishing coverage of some of the big events at the network dating back to the 1982 NFC Championship between Dallas and San Francisco from where Berman reported.
Now back in October before I joined Awful Announcing, your humble author wrote a piece supporting Berman's enshrinement on this site's Mount Rushmore and while I still believe in this, there's no doubting that he has his share of fans. However, 60 Minutes Sports made it appear that Berman could hardly do anything wrong. There were allusions to his critics to which there are many. And there was a brief glimpse of the infamous YouTube video of Berman yelling at staffers at the ESPNZone in Baltimore. But there was not any reaction from Berman to how the video was posted or his behavior on the set that night.
Berman seemed to get too much credit for his 23 minute silence during Cal Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game breaking Lou Gehrig's record.
There were glaring omissions. No one else at ESPN was interviewed to discuss Berman, no producers, executives or other on-air talent to discuss their experiences with him. And there were no interviews with critics. The report was mostly one-on-one interviews.
There was one amusing moment when Logan delved into Berman's bulging wallet which is used to store business cards.
The most controversial moments came from Logan asking Berman about performance enhancing drugs and NFL concussions. Berman did lobby for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for the Baseball Hall of Fame and said there wasn't much that could be done to reduce the amount of concussions.
But overall, there wasn't much from Berman that we did not already know and we really didn't learn anything new. For 60 Minutes, it wasn't its strongest report, but maybe we'll get some harder hitting pieces on ESPN down the road.