Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Mediocrity Is Given It's Due
Chris Berman is going into the Hall of Fame.
The talentless blowhard Hall of Fame?
The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yep, the big one, in Canton, Ohio.
The one we like to think is reserved for the giants who played the game, and the men of vision who were instrumental in the league's success.
But then again, with Dick Vitale having recently been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass, we now have a matching set.
I'll give Berman this much. It's remarkable how somebody with so little actual television talent could ride it that long. He's been on the football set for ESPN for 25 years now, and to some (I don't know WHO, exactly) he remains a likeable fella with a "passion" for the game.
Hey, who doesn't have a "passion" for the NFL?
Besides Albert Haynesworth, that is.
You can say this post is my pure jealousy shining through. I'll admit to that. I am jealous of his current job, and his career.
But it doesn't make me wrong.
If Chris Berman is the beacon of how to be a top flight TV sports talent, then how come we aren't seeing more of him come through the pipeline?
Where are similar guys like him, who don't write for broadcast very well, who stumble on delivering simple questions and introductions to set pieces in a show, and who make cable-access caliber hand gestures while talking?
There are talents at ESPN who do what Berman does, that are truly skilled broadcasters. Their writing (yes, that's part of the job, and it is difficult to do!) is crisp and thoughtful. They deliver those words almost flawlessly, and can ad lib in a fluid situation or during an analyst focused give-and-take without blu-blu-blubbering away like Berman does.
Their "passion" for a sport shines through by the amount of preparation that goes into a show, not by sheer volume or nicknames.
A perfect example of all of this is Chris Fowler, host of College Football Gameday. He's so good, it's almost freaky.
By contrast, Berman is a nickname spewing galoot. I won't make any personal attacks on his girth, baldness, or ego, because from what I've been told he's a relatively likeable fella.
I just think his work sucks. And that's not me saying I could do it better, that's me just watching the other guys on the set in Bristol.
For ESPN to keep Berman around all these years, long after the novelty of "Albert 'Winnie the' Pujols!" has worn off, is on them. They like Boomer, and think he still draws fans. Fine.
But why the Pro Football Hall of Fame felt compelled to honor him is beyond me. Surely, there were more worthy broadcasters out there.