In October 1979 -- one month after its inception -- ESPN hired a little known 24-year-old sports anchor named Chris Berman. For the next quarter century and running, Berman has become one of America’s most respected, popular, and in many ways, most beloved sportscasters of his era. With his trademark combination of genuine enthusiasm, knowledge and wit, he has come to embody ESPN in its dedication to entertaining and informing sports fans across the country. He is best known for his signature delivery of highlights of every sport, most notably on NFL Sundays.
Six times the versatile Berman has been selected the National Sportscaster of the Year (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 2001) by the members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Berman, who in 1989 became the first cable sportscaster to win the award, ranks second among sportscasters in winning this award from the NSSA. Berman and his various shows have won nine Emmy Awards and 12 CableACEs.
Berman was named the 2001 winner of the prestigious Reds Bagnell Award from the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia for “contributions to the game of football.” Previous recipients include Pete Rozelle, Don Shula, Joe Paterno, and Eddie Robinson, among others.
It’s hard to imagine NFL Sundays before Berman. The 2008 season marks his 23rd consecutive as studio host of Sunday NFL Countdown. Berman has worked alongside Tom Jackson for all but one of those years, first teaming in 1987, when ESPN first acquired the rights to carry the NFL. He is now a veteran of 26 Super Bowls.
All told, he has been hosting ESPN’s NFL telecasts since 1979, which includes his prognosticating alter-ego -- the “Swami” -- anchoring ESPN’s annual NFL Draft telecast and serving as Master of Ceremony for the prestigious Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.
Since 1990, Berman has served as a play-by-play commentator for ESPN Major League Baseball games, including division playoff coverage starting in 1996. Among Berman's career highlights was calling ESPN's Emmy-Award winning telecast of Cal Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game September 6, 1995. He also hosts Baseball Tonight, the network's nightly compendium of Major League Baseball highlights, news and features. He has covered 20 All-Star games, including the Home Run Derby, and 17 World Series for ESPN, including the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake.
Since 1986, Berman has covered the U.S. Open, a role that he relishes, including the “NFL PrimeTime of golf,” the nightly U.S. Open highlights show and has hosted ESPN’s coverage of the first two rounds. In 2003, he added play-by-play duties for the U.S. Open on ESPN.
As a studio host, anchor and commentator, Berman is known for balancing in-depth reporting with ample amounts of humor and ebullience. "Sports should be fun, and I want viewers to share in the enjoyment I get from the games. But I also owe it to those same viewers to be thoroughly prepared and to know what I'm talking about," Berman said, “or not talking about.” Berman received perhaps his most praise when he and analyst Buck Martinez chose not to speak during the 22-minute celebration in the Ripken game.
Berman is famous for his use of nicknames while voicing over Major League Baseball highlights. Berman's personal favorites from the more than 1000 monikers he has coined include Roberto "Remember the" Alomar, Bert "Be Home" Blyleven, Jim "Two Silhouettes On" Deshaies, and Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff , just a sampling of names that often reflect his interest in history and music. Some of his favorite NFL nicknames are Andre “Bad Moon” Rison, Curtis “My Favorite” Martin, Steve “I’ve Got You Babe” Bono and Chris Fuamatu “Bad” Ma’afala.
“I want to be George Brett , Tony Gwynn and the late Walter Payton. I want to retire with the team I came in with. Once I go anywhere else, I’m a mercenary. I’m so proud to be one of the folks who helped lay the foundation here.” To that end, Berman has signed to May 10, 2010, his 55th birthday.
Berman resides in his native Connecticut with his wife Kathy and their two children, Meredith and Doug.