Most believe that last night’s MNF doubleheader was Chris Berman’s last, with his contract winding down at ESPN and the network’s preference to reduce his presence to a more limited emeritus role. Berman calling the second part of the MNF doubleheader has become somewhat of a institution on this site. One follower even said it was our Christmas.
Chris Berman calling the Niners-Rams tonight isn't about merit or you the viewer. It's an example of institutional hubris.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 13, 2016
With that in mind, we have mixed emotions, as this could be our last time watching a guy (who is most certainly NOT one of ESPN’s top 10 football announcers) call a high profile NFL game. To some degree, I was content maybe focusing more on other aspects of tonight’s MNF debut, like Sean McDonough and the new on field team, but Berman was in rare form.
Leading off was a punt description that lit up our mentions.
"That's a long – short punt." – Chris Berman@awfulannouncing
— Matthew J Flint (@matthewjflint) September 13, 2016
— CaptainTouchback (@CaptTouchback) September 13, 2016
— Andy Pollard (@APinKC) September 13, 2016
Yes, that’s not the end of the world, but when you’re Berman and it’s MNF, it’s going to stick out a bit more than normal.
Things didn’t get any better, as a few minutes later, a commercial break ended with Berman than saying on air “Oh, I read this?!?!!”, as he wasn’t clear who was supposed to read the sponsored messages.
"Oh, I read this?" Great way to come back from a break. CC: @awfulannouncing
— Sam Rumpza (@samrumpza) September 13, 2016
Berman had a pretty rough time going in and out of commercial breaks all night, although some of that may have been on the production truck. A few times, they went to commercial before the officials gave an explanation, which didn’t go unnoticed.
#Berman. Someone tell Berman his mike is hot coming back from the break. Hell, tell him he's live 10 seconds before coming back.
— Sean Hennessy (@Hennessy21) September 13, 2016
This game is about as bad as it gets, but I'm sticking with it just to hear the shit Chris Berman says be4 he knows they are back from break
— Dixon Butts (@tenaciousOCD) September 13, 2016
Chris Berman realizes 30 seconds after commercial break that timeout was called #MNF
— Mike Shemesh (@MikeShemesh) September 13, 2016
— AndrewColemanFrancis (@AndrewCFrancis) September 13, 2016
Yet again, Chris Berman talking to the truck, or no one in particular, when coming back from break. @fangsbites
— Brandon Rush (@BrandonRush) September 13, 2016
How many times has Berman still been talking to the trailer as they've come back from commercial?
— Mike Nixon (@MNixon25) September 13, 2016
I actually took the video of the more egregious one of these coming back from break and sadly, for the first time I can recall, our clip making software failed. Without any intended embellishment, after a commercial there was about 3-5 seconds of black screen followed by a wide shot of the field for about 5-15 seconds. During this time, nobody said anything and then Berman broke the silence by saying “Do you understand what’s going on here?” It was a really poor 20 seconds and my heart aches that I don’t have the clip to share with you.
The "Do you understand what's going on here?" slip by Chris Berman while he thought the mic was off sums up this train wreck of an NFL game.
— Will Leverett (@312Will) September 13, 2016
And then there was this where Berman addressed the national anthem controversy but said it was Blaine Gabbert who kneeled for the anthem. Yikes.
It’s not all bad though. There were some fun moments along the way, but being honest, the game was such a stinker and Berman had so many flubs, it would be hard to find many folks who thought he did a good job.
While Berman didn’t go over well (again), there is some hope that Berman utilized in a more limited role would remove the assignments which he’s struggled the most with (golf and MNF in particular) and perhaps allow him shine in areas where his unique style seems to have a broader appeal.
Who would call this game next year if Berman does indeed wind down. Chris Fowler? Brent Musburger? Joe Tessitore? Listing off those names makes you realize how ridiculous it is that Berman and ESPN go through this exercise annually.