This has nothing to do with the 49ers, but everything to do with preserving your sanity. Last week a rumor spread around that Chris Berman was likely going to handle play-by-play for the Chargers-Raiders half of the season opening Monday Night Football doubleheader. Today we have confirmation courtesy of ESPN. The NFL has gone to a double-header week one of MNF, mixing in a variety of crews for the second game. This year it will be Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer.
I recently read through the ESPN oral history, "These Guys Have All The Fun." It's an interesting take on the history of ESPN through the mouths of ESPN employees, athletes and outsiders. Chris Berman addresses his critics to a certain extent, with one of his biggest issues being that he thinks he is simply having a good time and letting his natural energy flow into events.
I can't really complain too much about having charisma in play-by-play because I enjoy Gus Johnson getting wildly excited about basketball and football. However, Chris Berman has never done play-by-play for football, and it leaves me concerned about the end result. If the game is halfway decent, ESPN will likely end up with higher ratings in part because of the curiosity factor.
I'm not sure if I'll watch the entire game given the late hour (damn you 10:15pm ET start!), but I'll catch at least the first half, if not more. I have to admit I am curious to see if Berman goes overboard with his normal schtick, or if he tones it down a little.
Either way, ESPN gets me as a viewer, which means a win. For them, whether I love it or hate it, that's a win, even if downgrades their brand just a little bit more in my eyes. As Awful Announcing put it, this would seem to be another victory for internal politics versus giving the viewers what they actually want.
Does Chris Berman calling the Raiders-Chargers game impact whether or not you'll watch it?