Why Do We Hate Chris Berman?

I’ve been pondering this question for the past few days. I know why I dislike Chris Berman. I’ve grown tired of his “Back! Back! Back! Back!” calls, as well as his silly catchphrases like, “Stumblin… Bumblin… Rumblin” or “He! Could! Go! All! The! Way!” which is an homage to Howard Cosell. It’s the same act that Berman had when he started at ESPN in 1979 and he’s kept it all the way until today.

I also began to think about this question when I learned last month that the Pro Football Hall of Fame was bestowing him the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. I’ve already lamented this fact and there’s no need rehash it, but rather than do another “Why is Chris Berman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame” post, I put it up to Twitter and my followers to discover what is it about Berman that angers them?

I posed the question both on Twitter and on the Fang’s Bites Facebook page and I received quite a few responses.

The question was, “What made you grow tired of Chris Berman’s act? Are there people who still like him?” I admit that’s a loaded question, but I got some very good answers. Borrowing from my Twitter trophy wife, Amanda Rykoff, a.k.a. The OCD Chick and her Daily Tale of the Tweets, I decided to post some of the best tweets and Facebook responses.

<iframe name=”tp160115″ id=”tp160115″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160115/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160115/” target=”_blank”>View gorskic’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
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<iframe name=”tp160117″ id=”tp160117″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160117/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160117/” target=”_blank”>View acoracle’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
<iframe name=”tp160118″ id=”tp160118″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160118/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160118/” target=”_blank”>View acoracle’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
<iframe name=”tp160119″ id=”tp160119″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160119/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160119/” target=”_blank”>View acoracle’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
<iframe name=”tp160120″ id=”tp160120″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160120/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160120/” target=”_blank”>View UC_SID’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
<iframe name=”tp160121″ id=”tp160121″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160121/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160121/” target=”_blank”>View UC_SID’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
<iframe name=”tp160122″ id=”tp160122″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160122/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160122/” target=”_blank”>View RedSoxBugsy’s tweet</a></p></iframe>
<iframe name=”tp160123″ id=”tp160123″ width=”500″ height=”200″ frameborder=”0″ src=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160123/” style=”overflow: hidden; display: block; width: 500px; height: 200px;”><p><a href=”http://tweetpaste.thingamaweb.com/embed/160123/” target=”_blank”>View Estebomb’s tweet</a></p></iframe>

From Facebook, I received the following responses:

arrogance” – Susan M.

 ”It is seems as the years go by, his references just get older and more tired. I mean, how many fans in their late teens and twenties know who the hell Art Carney is? Good lord. At least try and stay relevant.” – Matt B.

Based on some of the articles posted on your blog and other places through the years, it’s his arrogance. In one article he claimed that he receives praise from the athletes, but has nothing to say about the people that put him on the map in the first place, the fans. I was a fan of his back when I was in college in the mid-80′s, but the act has worn thin. He grates on my nerves. When he broadcasts an event, it seems that he wants to make it about himself instead of the event itself.

If I hear that he is broadcasting an event such as the US Open, or MLB, etc., I make a concerted effort to either view an alternate feed, or turn on mute. I no longer watch any of the highlight shows that he is a part of.

Many of my friends share this opinion, but there are a few out there that still like him.” – Mike L.

It’s just old. The rasping voice, “backbackbackbackbackback”. I know he pioneered today’s broadcast style but frankly, there are others who now do it better.” – Beth J.

I did get one positive response on Berman.

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One person told me that when Berman goes out in publc, he’s mobbed and treated like a rock star. I don’t doubt this at all. I know that he is popular with fans and athletes, plus is beloved by the NFL and the USGA which is one of the reasons why’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and continues to do the U.S. Open despite complaints from golf fans. 
Whenever Berman does an event like the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby, just do a search on Twitter and the complaints will be quite stinging. 
Berman himself is confused by the criticisms, but he continues to do his act. It’s an act that many people have grown tired of as you can see from the responses above. But it’s a fact that ESPN likes him and that counts to Berman more than what any blogger, critic or viewer thinks.
Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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