Broadcaster Chris Berman will not fully retire, but instead “assume a new role,” at ESPN, according to a statement from the Worldwide Leader. He will no longer be hosting NFL Sunday Countdown, and he won’t be heard at the NFL Draft and Home Run Derby.
The 61-year-old Berman will still be on TV and finish out the current NFL season, but his appearances will become less frequent:
Berman will continue to host ESPN’s NFL PrimeTime highlights show from the field after the Super Bowl as well as the NFL Conference Championship games. He will also offer opinion and perspective on historical events in the NFL, including still appearing weekly on Monday Night Countdown. In addition, he will handle play-by-play for ESPN Radio during the MLB Divisional Playoffs and participate in ESPN’s annual ESPYS Awards.
ESPN president John Skipper sent the following to ESPN employees:
Today ESPN announces a new role for Chris Berman, our Hall of Fame quarterback of 38 years. Following next month’s Super Bowl, Chris will begin a new ESPN chapter in his storied career, one that, as he put it, will ensure that he will “finish with the team I came in with.” It’s a rare accomplishment for a rare talent, and one we are very happy to celebrate today.
Though Chris will continue to make meaningful contributions to ESPN in the years ahead, today it is important to recognize the indelible impact he has already had on our company, the industry and sports fans everywhere. We all owe him a sincere debt of gratitude.
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Alas, there will be no more “BACKBACKBACKBACK,” and there will be fewer instances of “WHOOP” or unintelligible noises when a running back breaks tackles. Berman will, though, still be around for Monday night games and pop in for a visit every now and then, for those who need their fix.