By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
On January 5, 2017 at 1:12 pm EST
As expected, Chris Berman is leaving NFL Sunday Countdown and NFL studio programming after 31 seasons. However, he will remain with the company in a “number of different roles” after signing a new deal on Thursday.
He will remain as the host of NFL’s Primetime highlights, including a role on Monday Night Countdown. He will offer opinion and perspective on historical events in the NFL. Berman will also call the MLB Division Series for ESPN Radio and be a part of the ESPY Awards.
Berman will also make on-air appearances and “other public-facing roles for the company,” ESPN said. He will no longer host the NFL Draft or Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby, the company added.
“The whole experience here has been a dream come true,” Berman said. “When we started in 1979, I was just 24. Nobody knew if ESPN would make it, or, for that matter, if cable TV would make it. I certainly wasn’t sure I would make it, but I really didn’t care. We were too busy having a blast, talking sports with viewers who were just like us, even if it was during the wee hours of the morning. We got to band together here in Bristol, Connecticut , and put out a product of which we were all very proud.
“I’ve been lucky enough to spend almost two-thirds of my life at ESPN, and I am honored to have lent a small hand in laying the cornerstone for what has truly become a beacon in sports. I’m thrilled that this ride will continue, albeit differently. Today’s announcement allows me to fulfill perhaps my final professional goal – knowing that I will finish with the team I came in with.”
Berman had been the Sunday NFL Countdown host for 31 seasons. Since Tom Jackson retired in August and with a new group taking over the “New” Sunday NFL Countdown, it was thought Berman would retire once his previous contract ended.
He’s also been a part of the Two Minute Drill on SportsCenter for 38-years. Jackson and Berman hosted NFL PrimeTime from 1987 through 2015.
He also worked 34 Super Bowls and hosted or worked the NFL Draft since 1987.
Berman is also a original SportsCenter anchor. He also covered MLB games and the U.S. Open golf event.
ESPN will be airing a hour-long documentary on Berman’s career on Feb. 2 at 10:30 pm EST. The show will be called “He Did Go All The Way.”
Berman was the 2010 Pete Rozell Radio-Television Award winner from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. According to ESPN, he was the first sportscaster to receive the Newseum Institute’s Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media in Washington, D.C. this year.
He was also inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame.
“Chris is one of a kind,” ESPN president John Skipper said. “His innovation, passion, preparation and on-air acumen have helped define ESPN. He wrote the book on delivering highlights which still serves as the standard to this day. ESPN’s mission is to serve fans. No one has done that with greater resonance than Chris and his dramatic connection to fans played a significant role in establishing a successful ESPN. We look forward to Chris’s continuing contributions while understanding that his place on our Mount Rushmore is assured.”
ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Company.
“Chris is part of the fabric of ESPN, and I have tremendous respect and appreciation for him,” Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said. “He is an iconic sports commentator, who transcends sports, and even after covering thousands and thousands of sporting events, his passion has never waned, nor has his enthusiasm for athletes, coaches, and the thrilling drama of athletic competition, to quote another legendary sportscaster.”
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