ESPN allowed Chris Berman to do the play-by-growl of the Raiders-Chargers’ Monday Night Football back end of a doubleheader last night. It got an overnight rating of 7.9, actually up from a 7.7. rating a year ago for the Raiders and Denver (possibly because the San Diego market went nuts with a 17.1 rating on ESPN and 20.8 on KFMB, the CBS affiliate), for a game that ended at about 1:30 in the morning on the East Coast.
Is Berman such the necessary element do drive ratings beyond what anyone in the East would stay up to watch past David Letterman?
A collection of Twitter gripes from the Sports Business Daily this morning notes for the record:
Yahoo Sports Radio’s Steve Czaban: “A league happy to use scab refs, a network happy to throw Berman in the booth. Perfect.”
The Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb: “Listening to this game with Chris Berman doing play-by-play ought to be fun. Good, clean fun, like driving nails into my nostrils.”
Rotowire’s Jeff Erickson: “This is hardly a new revelation, but Chris Berman cares more about his schtick than doing a competent job covering this game.”
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant: “Holy moly, the Raiders are a disaster. They are not, however, as much of a disaster as Berman on the stick.”
Sirius XM Radio’s Eddie Borsilli: “There are no words for what’s happening in this game. But I could do without Berman and his stupid comments. Go circle the wagons.”
The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Tim Sullivan: “First Chris Berman, then Stuart Scott, and me without a mute button. Oh, the price we pay to watch pro football.”
CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson: “Not often watching football feels like a chore. 1AM + Boomer + … this is one of those times.”
Yes, we watched. No, we didn’t tweet out. Too easy. The only time we considered, we already saw someone else tweet it out after the Raiders finally scored a touchdown. We retweeted the comment originally retweeted by @ErikMalinowski from @Mobute: #Berman finally got to say RRRrrrraaaaiiiiiidehhhhzzz so whoever won the pool, please call someone and tell them where to find your body.
The Deadspin.com commentary (linked here) started with his combover and proceeded to proclaim that Berman “was better than last year’s Mike & Mike experiment, at least, though his reliance on baseball terminology to call a football game was disconcerting and eventually comedic, in the way watching a three-legged dog try to chase a lizard is pure hilarity.”
We can also appreciate what Dan Levy wrote on BleacherReport (linked here): “Random celebrities who would be better than Chris Berman” that included the paragraph:
“Someone, somewhere inside the walls of ESPN, had to be in on this gag–obviously trolling those of us who hop onto the Internet to react with indignation and frustration whenever we hear a kooky catchphrase, nickname or ill-timed reference to a generation long since passed. …
“In truth, Berman wasn’t bad. He was just … Berman.
“At this point, you either like Berman’s style or you don’t, and no “boom” or “whoop” or silly play-on-words is going to change anyone’s opinion one way or the other.”
Thus, the social experiment worked. So who’s the fish out there that took it hook, line and stinker?