When ESPN announced that Chris Berman will handle the play-by-play duties for the late game of this year’s Week 1 Monday night doubleheader between the Raiders and Chargers, hospitals quickly became crowded with an outbreak of gnawed off hands.
Berman is merely tolerable as a studio personality, but once he’s removed from that environment he becomes a vicious tool of annoyance used to induce headaches to a nation. His schtick was fine a few decades ago when we thought it was hip and rad (did we ever really think this? More importantly, did we ever use the word “rad”?). We’re now perfectly fine with Berman staying anchored in his MLB Home Run Derby seat, where he can repeat the same ridiculous call for three merciful hours while drowning out an event that no self-respecting sports fan should care about anyway.
He’s a walking punchline, because calling players Jason “you can’t always get what you want” Avant, or Joseph “Live and Let” Addai is making us laugh at Berman, not with him. And since we’re laughing at him, he remains popular in that joke-that’s-so-awful-it’s-funny kind of way, a quality that’s kept him on air. It’s a sad cycle that we’re feeding, but controlling ourselves is impossible. He’s just that bad.
Berman’s never called an NFL game too, which means he’ll fall back, back, back on his firmly embedded schtick even more. But I have a legitimate, honest question for you, ESPN: can Berman’s best friend, the 1990 supercomputer, call the game instead?
Wait, was that really the supercomputer, or John Madden?