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Chris Berman: NFL Primetime ‘High On My Professional Tombstone’

“I talked to Jimmy Pitaro 3-4 years ago. I said if you could convince the league to bring it back, I’ll come back.”

Ricky Keeler

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From 1987-2005, football fans had to run to their television sets every Sunday night during the season to catch Chris Berman host NFL Primetime on ESPN to find out what the results were of the other games that Sunday and in its early stages, it was an important show to the football community.

Berman was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and he said that he learned very quickly how important NFL Primetime was to people in the game including the late legendary head coach Don Shula.

“We realized that we had a connection to the football community…I very quickly learned that the highest ups in the community, meaning an owners meeting in 1988, Don Shula came over and he said Chris, I use your show sometimes to get a look at some other teams…I’m learning this as we are going on and I realize not I’m important, it’s important.”

Even though NFL Primetime can’t exist on cable TV anymore due to NBC having the rights to Sunday Night Football and having the Football Night In America pregame show, Berman did say he told ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro that if NFL Primetime could come back in some way, he would come back.

“I am thrilled we are still doing it today. We can’t do it on regular TV. NBC owns the rights back when they got the rights to Sunday Night Football. The fact that on ESPN+ is the only place it could live.

“I talked to Jimmy Pitaro 3-4 years ago. I said if you could convince the league to bring it back, I’ll come back. We got Tommy [Tom Jackson] to come back the first year and Booger [Booger McFarland] is Tommy 2.0. Booger’s great. We have fun.

“Back then, if we needed 7 minutes for Seattle-Arizona, we could. The rules — I don’t know why — we can’t go over 3 minutes. I love doing it every Sunday, I’m glad people like watching it.” 

At the same time, Berman did say he was “pissed” when he found out at the time that NFL Primetime was over.

“Pissed. It’s the favorite thing that I do. I’ve had some other moments, but if you asked me what’s the most fun I’ve had on a consistent basis…As far as going to work on a regular basis, NFL Primetime, that would be high on my professional tombstone I would think.”

In addition to NFL Primetime, Berman is also well-known for making predictions on Friday nights on SportsCenter as the Swami before the days where sports gambling was legal like it is now in some states. He told Schein that nobody told him he couldn’t do something with that segment, but he would never tell somebody to take the points.

“I never said even ’til I got done in 2016 doing it, take the points. We never put the point spread up. Every score was always at least a field goal off of the spread. I left no doubt. I would use words like much closer than expected or an upset or this could be ugly. I would never put 50-10, but 30-13, just so the teams wouldn’t get completely pissed at me if I picked them to lose in a blowout. It was subtle, it was quietly accepted because I never crossed those lines.

“Nobody said ‘Can’t do this’. It was fun. If it was two defensive teams, I’d put up 3-2 sometimes. We aren’t over-undering this. We are just having a good time.” 

Sports Online

Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts

“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”

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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.

“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”

The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.

Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.

“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”

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Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field

“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.

The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.

Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.

According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.

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Pat McAfee Teases Major New Partnership

“We didn’t sleep much the last couple days so we haven’t really gotten to grasp this entire thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Up to something season has returned for Pat McAfee.

McAfee has routinely used that phrasing to tease viewers and listeners about major dealings in the works, and on Wednesday he said something big is coming down the pike.

“We’re up to something,” McAfee said. “We got a big partnership coming up. It’s big. We haven’t even chatted about this at all. That’s how much we’ve evolved.”

Pat continued about how the show has matured, saying he was proud they waited until this late in the game to even bring up the fact they’ve got a new deal to announce.

“If this conversation had taken place three years ago, the announcement we’re about to make, it would’ve been two weeks worth of the show,” he said. “Every single segment would’ve been brought back to oh something’s coming, something’s coming, something’s coming.”

“That is changing quickly in a big way,” he added.

McAfee noted that being on the road in Los Angeles for the college football national championship has made the reaction to the new partnership somewhat subdued.

“I should be more excited,” he said. “We didn’t sleep much the last couple days so we haven’t really gotten to grasp this entire thing. We’ve been working on this for a couple years now. Good for us, dude.”

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