People & Personalities: Chris Berman Calls "MNF" Assignment A Surprise
ESPN's Chris Berman said he was “a little surprised” when told he and Trent Dilfer will call the Sept. 10 Chargers-Raiders game as part of the net's "MNF" doubleheader. Berman said he, ESPN President John Skipper and Exec VP/Programming & Acquisitions John Wildhack were together recently and "about midway through an interesting evening, they said, 'We'd like you to call the second Monday night game.'" Berman: "I went, 'Wow, now there's something I never really thought about.' ... It's nice to be surprised after 32 years, it really is" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 6/29). However, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, “Exactly how did ESPN think such news would be received by a public that long ago recognized Berman as a career self-promoter?” (N.Y. POST, 6/29). In Chicago, Dan McNeil writes he “won't be alone in begging for the first week's conclusion.” McNeil: “On the medals stand of blowhards, Berman gets the gold. He is a boorish lout. Huffing and puffing, zigging and zagging.” Berman “long ago jumped the shark, but the wonks who make the big calls don't get it” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/29).
FULL FORCE: In Buffalo, John Vogl reported Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret will “call all 82 games for the 2012-13 season.” Jeanneret had “cut back on his travel schedule the past few seasons,” doing play-by-play for 57 of 82 game in '11-12. He had “already planned to do more games than last year, but the release of the schedule last week made him decide to go all in.” The Sabres are “playing on back-to-back nights a franchise-low 11 times, so the city-to-city grind won't be as arduous.” The team also “recently announced changes that will leave Jeanneret alone in the booth during home games.” Harry Neale, Jeanneret's “color man the last five seasons, will become a studio analyst.” Rob Ray, who had “previously covered games from ice level between the benches, will be the full-time color analyst” (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/28).
IN RECOGNITION: In K.C., Randy Covitz notes Pro Football HOFer Len Dawson will "re-enter the shrine as a broadcaster." Dawson will receive the HOF's '12 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for "longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football." The 77-year-old Dawson "will be recognized on Aug. 3, the night before the Hall of Fame induction ceremony." It will "mark the 25th anniversary" of his '87 introduction into the HOF as a player (K.C. STAR, 6/29).
LINEUP CHANGES: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley reported D’Backs announcer Daron Sutton, who was scheduled to call Saturday's D’Backs-Brewers telecast for Fox has “been replaced.” The net decided “to replace Sutton with Eric Collins because Sutton has been taken off Diamondbacks telecasts by the team” (JSONLINE.com, 6/28). In Phoenix, Nick Piecoro cited a source as saying that Sutton was taken off the air by the D'Backs because he has "lobbied to wear suits" on-air instead of the club-preferred "polo shirts adorned with the Diamondbacks logo." Sutton "made at least one veiled reference to the dispute on the air during the last game he called," a June 20 game against the Mariners (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/28).
NOTES: In Minneapolis, Chris Miller noted KFAN-AM will simulcast Vikings games on KARE-NBC during the preseason, with former NFLer Ben Leber serving "as a sideline interview man.” The KFAN crew “includes play-by-play guy Paul Allen and color commentator Pete Bercich and veteran sideline reporter Greg Coleman” (STARTRIBUNE.com, 6/28)....WMAQ-NBC officials on Thursday said that sports anchor Mike Adamle, who “has been off the air since mid-May for personal reasons, may be returning to the station within the next two weeks.” In Chicago, Robert Channick noted Adamle “quietly took a leave of absence with the support of station management.” He has “grappled with personal troubles in recent years” (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 6/28).