He Could Go All The Way: Chris Berman To Make NFL Play-By-Play Debut This Season
ESPN today announced that Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer will call the Sept. 10 Chargers-Raiders game as part of the net's "MNF" doubleheader. The game will mark Berman's debut as a play-by-play announcer for an NFL game. The pair will also call the Aug. 23 Cardinals-Titans preseason game. Berman replaces Brad Nessler, who had called the second game of the doubleheader the previous two seasons. The news was first reported last week by blog Sports By Brooks (THE DAILY). AWFUL ANNOUNCING posted on its Twitter feed, "ESPN confirms our fears - Chris Berman will announce MNF season opener." CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman wrote, "Berman calling a Monday Night Football game. Just when this day couldn't get any worse." THE DAILY's John Ourand wrote, "Quick prediction: Berman is such a polarizing figure, I bet ratings for his MNF game will be up (provided the game stays relatively close)."
CHANGES TO THURSDAY NIGHT COLLEGE TEAM: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports David Pollack will fill the open analyst position on ESPN's Thursday night college football telecasts created when Craig James left the net. Pollack will join Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer in the booth, while Longhorn Network's Samantha Steele "will replace Jenn Brown as sideline reporter." James left ESPN "for an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination in Texas." While James "recently talked about returning to TV sports, it won't be at ESPN." ESPN VP/Communications Mike Soltys said, "As we've said all along, he's not coming back" (USA TODAY, 6/27).