Berman in March 2007
|Born||Christopher James Berman
May 10, 1955
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
|Education||Brown University, '77
|Title||NFL Studio Host, SportsCenter Anchor, Baseball Commentator, Football Commentator|
|Spouse(s)||Katherine "Kathy" Alexinski (m. 1983)|
|Children||Meredith and Doug|
Christopher James "Chris" "Boomer" Berman (born May 10, 1955), also known by the nickname Boomer, is an American sportscaster. He anchors SportsCenter, Monday Night Countdown, Sunday NFL Countdown, U.S. Open golf, the Stanley Cup Finals, and other programming on ESPN and ABC Sports. Berman calls play-by-play of select Major League Baseball games for ESPN. In 2012, he called play-by-play for the Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders with color commentator Trent Dilfer and sideline reporter Rachel Nichols.
Berman was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, the son of Peggy Shevell (née Tenenbaum), who worked as a reporter-researcher for Time magazine, and James Keliner Berman, a corporate executive vice president. Berman grew up in Irvington, New York. He was raised Jewish. During his childhood, he went to Camp Winnebago in Fayette, Maine. In 1970, he attended the Hackley School and Brown University from which he graduated in 1977 with a degree in history.
Berman's father, James, died on September 22, 2013.
Berman's mother, Peggy, died on December 28, 2014.
Berman's sportscasting career began at Hartford's WVIT-TV as a weekend sports anchor. He joined ESPN in 1979, a month after its founding, and has been with the network ever since. Along with Bob Ley, he is one of ESPN's longest-tenured employees. He is currently the host of Monday Night Countdown. In 1988 and 1989, he hosted ESPN's first game show, Boardwalk and Baseball's Super Bowl of Sports Trivia.
In December 2008, the Associated Press ran a long retrospective on Berman's 30-year career with ESPN. "He is our most important person," said Norby Williamson, ESPN's vice president of production. "He is the face of ESPN," he added. At the time, Berman noted that his contract with ESPN would expire on his 55th birthday, and that he did not see himself broadcasting into his 60s. In April 2010, however, ESPN extended Berman's contract for an undisclosed period of time, only noting that it was a multi-year deal.
Berman was a season ticket holder for the Hartford Whalers, and was a strong supporter of the team's staying in Connecticut. He occasionally makes reference to the team, sometimes even by humming the team's theme song, Brass Bonanza. Berman has also become a strong backer of the Buffalo Bills in recent years. In an interview with Buffalo Bills reporter and play-by-play voice John Murphy on July 26, 2012, Berman acknowledged that you could call him a "Bills Booster". This sentiment is also echoed in Berman's on-air phrase, "No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills."
He is well known for his various catchphrases and player nicknames. His rendition of "He could...go...all...the...way!" is adopted from Howard Cosell, while another of his famous calls, "Back-back-back-back" comes from Red Barber. This strategic and often complicated call is usually screamed by Berman when a baseball is hit a very long way, and is followed by "Gone!" when the ball leaves the field of play. Another of his catchphrases "Whoop!" is uttered during highlights when a player makes a quick move or causes someone to miss or make a mistake. He is most known for the use of puns to make nicknames for certain players (e.g., calling former Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Bert Blyleven Bert "Be Home" Blyleven, a pun on the phrase "be home by eleven").
In other media
Berman appeared in Adam Sandler's 1998 comedy The Waterboy as well as Sandler's The Longest Yard in 2005 where he played himself as the play-by-play announcer of the prison football game. Berman also appeared as himself in Necessary Roughness in 1991, Little Big League in 1994, as well as Eddie and Kingpin in 1996. He made a cameo appearance in the 1995 Hootie and the Blowfish video for the single, "Only Wanna Be With You." Berman made a cameo in the 2013 comedy Grown Ups 2. Berman appears in Nutrisystem commercials with Don Shula, Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw, and Mike Golic, using some of his trademark phrases and nicknames to show how much weight they lost.
- National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association National Sportscaster of the Year (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001)
- American Sportscasters Association Sportscaster of the Year – Studio Host (1995, 1997, 1998)
- CableACE Award Best Cable Sportscaster 1987, 1988, 1990
- 1997 "TV's Most Fascinating Stars" from People
- 2001 Maxwell Football Club's Reds Bagnell Award
- 2007 honorary degree from Brown University.
- 2009 Presented Ralph C. Wilson Jr. into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 24, 2010
- Received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award on July 12, 2010
- 1979–present: SportsCenter anchor (occasionally since 1990)
- 1985–present: Sunday NFL Countdown host
- 1985–present: NFL Draft host
- 1986–2014: U.S. Open Nightly Show host
- 1987–2005: NFL Primetime host
- 1987–2005: ESPN Sunday Night Football halftime host
- 1990–present: Baseball Tonight host (occasional)
- 1990–present: MLB on ESPN Play-by-Play (selected games)
- 1986–present: Home Run Derby Play-by-Play
- 1996–1999, 2006–present, and during NFL playoff between 1998 to 2005: Monday Night Football halftime host
- 2003–2014: U.S. Open host
- 2003–2004: NHL on ESPN and NHL on ABC studio co-host (Stanley Cup Finals)
- 2006–present: Monday Night Countdown host
- 2012–present: ESPN Monday Night Football #2 play-by-play
- "Katherine Alexinski Wed to Christopher Berman". NYTimes.com. 1983-07-24. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- Sean Dillon, Staff Writer (April 15, 2010). "CSULB professor explores baseball’s impact on Jewish Americans". Daily 49er.
- Arace, Michael (October 14, 1993). "Chris Berman: Regular Guy With a National Following". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- Goodman, Mark. "Sonic Boomer". People.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- Murphy, Brian. "The Super Bowl... of Sports Trivia". ESPN Page2. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- [dead link]
- "ESPN to extend Chris Berman's contract - NFL - Sporting News". Aol.sportingnews.com. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- [dead link]
- "ESPN TV Listings - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
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