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  • 06/28/2012, 09:34AM ET

ESPN is letting Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer call the second half of the MNF Opener.

Lightly Salted Nuts (4-1-0) vs Grue (43-9-3)
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I think this is total garbage.

It wasn't enough that they cut Ron Jaworski from the mix. I really though that he provided good analysis of the game and balanced well with Mike Tirico and John Gruden.

But they've decided to allow Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer to call the second have of the MNF opener. Ridiculous.!

Dilfer doesn't bother me so much. Maybe not the greatest QB but he's knowledgeable and can speak intelligently on the topic.

Boomer just likes to hear himself. He's spent so much time around players that I think he actually believes he used to play. He actually believes he's bigger than ESPN at this point.

ESPN has lost touch with its beginnings and the sports fan and has evolved into some sports-themed version of MTV. They really need to regain a foothold before they become nothing more than a footnote.

Lose Berman from the booth. Keep him on Countdown if you must but nobody wants to hear this blowhard during a game!


I don't think you are seeing this from ESPN's perspective. Let's go into the board room for this decision.

ESPN has one Monday Night Football full-time crew. For the first week of the season they have to scrap together a second crew.

Dilfer, we can agree, will make a passsable analyst.

Who are your alternatives?
- Berman, who has done other broadcast work, MLB, Golf, NFL Countdown, Blitz, Sportscenter, etc.
- College crews

Many people hate Berman. Many people like or love Berman. He's an ESPN icon. He is a huge part of the ESPN brand. He's been with the company 32 years.

There are solid reasons:
1) This is the undercard of the night. West coast matchup between Chargers-Raiders. (C'mon, Berman loves saying Raiders)
2) ESPN rewards the guy for 32 years with something he's always wanted to do.
3) Berman is polarizing. That is great for a game likely to be a ratings dog, especially in the east. He may get East Coast viewers to hang on and watch out of curiosity.
4) He knows the NFL and his voice and personality (love or hate) are iconic.
5) He sells the ESPN brand.

While you don't like Berman, he is the best choice for ESPN.

Good luck, LSN.


You make some valid points. Couple of items I'd like to address.

Although Berman has called some baseball and golf, it isn't football. There aren't nearly as many moving parts on the playing field.

They will have the advantage of calling Cardinals-Titans pre-season MNF game in preparation but it isn't quite the same. These games aren't really played at full speed but maybe it will help.

Other options. I know they're always looking for an analyst and commentary but there are some seasoned players sitting in the studio that I believe could do commentary as well. And really, anything wrong with two players that can speak intelligently.

What about Merrill Hoge and Michael Smith? I think you've got the experience of Hoge along with the youth and currency of Smith.

It may not be the the main event but I wouldn't necessarily say that to the Raiders or Chargers fans. The game should be treated with some measure of legitimacy since it's a division game to start things off; it may have implications.

Rewarding a guy for 32 yrs of service and 28 yrs of NFL analysis? Give him a watch and give the fans some respect with people who can do this.


A vote right isn't a vote for liking Chris Berman. You can hate Berman and see a smart business decision by ESPN.

Nielsen ratings 2010-11 (http://www.thefutoncritic.com/ratings/2011/09/13)

2010 MNF Game 1: 14.9 Million
2010 MNF Average: 14.7 M
2010 MNF Game 2: 11.9 M
(KC vs SD)

2011 MNF Game 1: 14.6 M
2011 MNF Average: 13.3 M
2011 MNF Game 2: 11.1 M
(Okl vs Den)

ESPN's goal is ratings. And MNF knows, if it sticks with a traditional broadcast team, it will lose over 3 million viewers between the first and second game.

Berman changes that dynamic. We're TDing about it now. Bloggers are spouting off about it all over the net. ESPN is loving it all, because we're talking about it. And they know you'll tune in.

You'll tune in to watch him fail, to say you were right, because you were curious, because of the hype. East Coast viewers will hang on to see if he's as bad as they feared. Your wives will watch because they know the bumblin, stumblin guy.

Football hard core fans will watch anyway, but net 3 million+ will turn off their sets. Berman will hold the rubberneckers waiting for a wreck.

You'll watch, too (but deny it now). Just to see.


Grue, I like the rubbernecking analogy because you're right in that regard. If he calls, people will watch to see him fail. Much like so many tuned in to the NBA playoffs in hopes of seeing Lebron choke again. That's what happens.

However, I think ESPN really needs to back off the amount of Berman burden they place upon viewers.

NFL: Draft coverage, the Blitz, Countdown, emceeing the HoF induction (seriously?), Monday Night Countdown and half time show
Golf: the U.S. Open
MLB: play-by-play, the Home Run Derby
Occasionally does sportscenter still and they'll market him whenever they can in ESPN-sponsored video games or anytime there is a need for an ESPN reference in a movie.

Berman can regain a measure of appeal again simply by reigning him back in. Less can be more because he isn't everywhere then and people may want to hear what he has to say.

As one of the originals, he needs to be treated like an icon, not necessarily put to pasture but set aside and pulled out for special occasions. He gets treated with reverence because of what he has achieved, not because of who he has become.


What you consider over-exposure, ESPN considers branding.

ESPN knows its core audience and caters accordingly. We, the esteemed debaters of FN, expect more from a broadcast team than schtick. But, nobody spells ESPN with the letters PBS. Have you every tried posting on the ESPN message boards? Holy Trolley, Batman.

I love the in-depth analysis of scheme, coaching decisions, sideline, chess matches, and audbles. If a broadcaster is really good at that, on any network, they're stuck doing the daytime games. Or fired.

Primetime = Schtick. Cosell, Summerall/Madden, Musttorture, Keth Jackson, Marv Albert: it is the iconic voice that appeals to the masses. Not in-depth analysis. It is difficult to hear anyone talk for 4 hours straight (you're married, right?). Network execs know that strong personalities and icons are more effective.

We all worry about listening to 3+ hours of Schtick from Berman. (In reality, most of us are in bed by the end). Golf and baseball broadcasts show he can dial it back. ESPN won't let him do the "Fastest 3 minutes" nonsense for a legit broadcast.

It is a good decision by ESPN, because it will generate ratings.

Great TD, LSN!

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June 28, 2012  10:27 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Why are Mike & Mike not calling the 2nd game this year?

They're morons.

Comment #6 has been removed
June 28, 2012  10:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Good luck, LSN.

You gonna just go ahead and vote now?

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Comment #10 has been removed
June 28, 2012  10:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Wishing him luck going up against you!!!

hehe. Forgive my intentionally selective interpretations. :)

June 28, 2012  11:46 AM ET

Bump

June 28, 2012  12:00 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

You gonna just go ahead and vote now?

No, I'll wait until it's ended. I'll only vote if I need to; rather try this on it's merit than have to be my own supporter.

Appreciate you taking this and looking forward to a good TD.

June 28, 2012  12:17 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

No, I'll wait until it's ended. I'll only vote if I need to; rather try this on it's merit than have to be my own supporter.Appreciate you taking this and looking forward to a good TD.

? I meant DJ. Because I pretended he was wishing you luck and snubbing me, like playing favorites.

June 28, 2012  12:18 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

They're morons.

I'd rather have Golic and Tirico as a Mike & Mike duo in the booth. I like Tirico because he doesn't look for a shtick and I think Golic plays well off whomever he's paired with. Greenberg reminds me a bit of Cowherd or Bayless in that he's all talk with little to back it up.

June 28, 2012  12:22 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

? I meant DJ. Because I pretended he was wishing you luck and snubbing me, like playing favorites.

Ok. I don't mind losing as long as there's good effort on both sides. I'd rather take an earned loss than a lobbied win.

June 28, 2012  12:22 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

? I meant DJ. Because I pretended he was wishing you luck and snubbing me, like playing favorites.

Ok. I don't mind losing as long as there's good effort on both sides. I'd rather take an earned loss than a lobbied win.

Comment #18 has been removed
June 28, 2012  06:02 PM ET

I see "Grue" is even using my old avatar! That right there get's you "nowhere man" -The Beatles

I wondering how Bob Uecker would have done on MNF. At any-rate ESPN sucks, I dropped them like a red headed step child.

 
Comment #20 has been removed

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