Before NBC got the rights to Sunday Night Football in 2006, people would run to their televisions to watch Chris Berman and Tom Jackson on NFL Primetime on ESPN every Sunday night. Before RedZone and even before NFL Sunday Ticket (1994), that show was the only way fans could see highlights of games they couldn’t watch during the day.
Berman was a guest on Monday’s Pardon My Take. During the conversation, he said sportscasters are making a mistake when showing highlights. While Berman understands people know the score before they watch the highlights, he believes that the play should be read as if it were happening live:
“This is where they make a mistake now. Everyone assumes you hear about a play and you call it on your phone for one second. Even at the end of the day when you know everything, here’s the whole meal for Week 12, for example,” said Berman.
“Give me the meal and those doing the highlights. People should not assume that everyone watching has seen the game or the highlights. You owe it to the viewer to do them like they are live. Give it to you like it’s happening live, even if it is the game that you have seen. Result of the game is okay, but not the play.”
In addition to hosting NFL Primetime (now on ESPN+), Berman is well-known for the nicknames he gave to numerous athletes. When he was doing baseball highlights in the early years of ESPN, he used them to hide that people couldn’t see video yet still made reading the score exciting:
“You try to embellish a little bit because it’s every night and not all of them were video,” Berman said. “A lot of them were Kansas City 5, Seattle 3 for 30 seconds. Don’t make jokes and take information away, but if I’m going to say Frank ‘Tanana Daiquiri’ struck out 13, it cost me half a second.”
However, there was a time in the mid-1980s where the nicknames went away. While they eventually came back in April 1986, it’s hard to imagine Berman reading a highlight without any of those signature nicknames:
“We had a new executive producer (early September 1985) say you can’t use them anymore. I’ve been doing them for five years, everyone likes them. He had no real reason. There’s three weeks left in the season. First of all, if he’s any smart, you do it in November; maybe no one noticed and then you don’t come back… I cut out all the nicknames.”
While Berman has been seen as one of the faces of ESPN, that does not mean that other networks didn’t try to pursue him. He told Pardon My Take that NBC tried to pursue him in 1989. While ESPN was unable to match the high-money offer NBC had, they got close enough for Berman to stay:
“I said, Steve Bornstein, don’t fault me for this, but in the end, I said you don’t have to match this, you got to get within a 9-iron,” he said. “They did and that was the best decision I ever made.
“We got the NFL in 1987. If I went there, I would be waiting to be the NFL guy behind Bob Costas. I’m doing that and I’m doing it for an audience everyday.”
It’s hard to imagine what the sports media landscape would have looked like then or even today if Berman had left ESPN for NBC, since he is one of the people associated with the worldwide leader.
Media Reacts To Nick Saban’s Comments On Texas A&M, Jackson State
“Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.”
Nick Saban had some choice words about recruiting in the NIL era on Wednesday night. The Alabama head coach didn’t just voice frustrations with the process. He called out three schools specifically for using Name, Image and Likeness payments to create an advantage for themselves in recruiting.
He said that Texas A&M, which signed the top-ranked recruiting class in 2022 according to a number of outlets “bought every player on their team.”
He said that Jackson State gave a player $1 million to come to the school. “It was in the paper,” he said. “They bragged about it! Nobody did anything about it.”
It is likely that he was talking about defensive back Travis Hunter, widely regarded as one of the five best players in the class of 2022. It should be noted that Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders has been adamant that Hunter did not receive a dime from the school or anyone else.
The comments created plenty of content on sports radio on Thursday.
Jimbo Fischer, the head coach of Texas A&M took the story to a new level with a press conference of his own in which he cryptically encouraged people to “dig into” Saban’s career history.
The commentary in the sports media came in all kinds of forms. Plenty took to Twitter to express an opinion.
Others used the feud to create comedy.
Finally, others did actual reporting. they made phone calls to get context and further the story.
The coaches may be relatively quiet in public for a while. That doesn’t mean the stories and reactions are going away. Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.
Bleav Announces Partnership With SiriusXM
“The Bleav podcasts come with some serious star power. Each show features a former player paired with a host to discuss the latest news about their team. In adding Bleav, SiriusXM adds the likes of Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, Adam “Pac Man” Jones and others to its roster.”
A new partnership will see content from the Bleav Podcast Network come under the SiriusXM umbrella. All 32 of the network’s NFL team-specific podcasts will now be available on the SXM app. The satellite radio company will also have the ability to air Bleav content on its sports channels.
“SiriusXM is a leader in content. We’re very happy to be a part of their programming and continue to amplify the voice of our talent,” Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm said in a press release. “SiriusXM listeners will be able to regularly hear from athletes that played for their team, bringing fans insight and access that only a player can.”
The Bleav podcasts come with some serious star power. Each show features a former player paired with a host to discuss the latest news about their team. In adding Bleav, SiriusXM adds the likes of Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, Adam “Pac Man” Jones and others to its roster.
The deal will also lead to more content in the future. The companies expect to add to the Bleav content available on the SXM App, including shows focused on other professional and college sports.
“Bleav’s team-focused programming, hosted by many former stars from the league, give fans a unique and experienced perspective into their favorite players and franchises,” said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s SVP of Sports Programming and Podcasts. “Bleav’s network of shows deliver valuable insight for fans of every NFL team. They are a great addition to the selection of sports podcasts available on the SXM App and we look forward to adding other shows, focused on other sports, from the Bleav network to SiriusXM in the future.”
Dave Portnoy Offers Pat Beverley ‘Blank Check’ To Join Barstool
“Just say how many zeros and guarantee us once a week, you are hired.”
Minnesota Timberwolves player Pat Beverley turned heads with his comments about Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul after the Suns were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs.
Beverley told Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith on Monday that he thinks Paul is a “traffic cone,” due to his poor defense and that on nights he knows he’s playing Paul he’ll have a nice steak dinner and wine the night before. He said he’s in bed by 8 p.m. and doesn’t want to hear from his mom or girlfriend if he’s playing Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Pat’s comments got the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said Monday he liked Beverley so much that he would hire him to do a podcast for Barstool.
“If Pat Beverley is a Barstool fan and he’s watching this, he has a blank check. You name your price for a podcast, and we will hire you — no questions asked,” Portnoy said. “Just say how many zeros and guarantee us once a week, you are hired.”
Portnoy made the push to sign Beverley to a podcast deal as the company seeks to scale back the number of podcasts it produces. Barstool CEO Erika Nardini announced the decision to cut shows last week.
No word if Beverley has responded to Portnoy’s offer.