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Chris Berman: NFL Primetime ‘High On My Professional Tombstone’

“I talked to Jimmy Pitaro 3-4 years ago. I said if you could convince the league to bring it back, I’ll come back.”

Ricky Keeler

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From 1987-2005, football fans had to run to their television sets every Sunday night during the season to catch Chris Berman host NFL Primetime on ESPN to find out what the results were of the other games that Sunday and in its early stages, it was an important show to the football community.

Berman was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and he said that he learned very quickly how important NFL Primetime was to people in the game including the late legendary head coach Don Shula.

“We realized that we had a connection to the football community…I very quickly learned that the highest ups in the community, meaning an owners meeting in 1988, Don Shula came over and he said Chris, I use your show sometimes to get a look at some other teams…I’m learning this as we are going on and I realize not I’m important, it’s important.”

Even though NFL Primetime can’t exist on cable TV anymore due to NBC having the rights to Sunday Night Football and having the Football Night In America pregame show, Berman did say he told ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro that if NFL Primetime could come back in some way, he would come back.

“I am thrilled we are still doing it today. We can’t do it on regular TV. NBC owns the rights back when they got the rights to Sunday Night Football. The fact that on ESPN+ is the only place it could live.

“I talked to Jimmy Pitaro 3-4 years ago. I said if you could convince the league to bring it back, I’ll come back. We got Tommy [Tom Jackson] to come back the first year and Booger [Booger McFarland] is Tommy 2.0. Booger’s great. We have fun.

“Back then, if we needed 7 minutes for Seattle-Arizona, we could. The rules — I don’t know why — we can’t go over 3 minutes. I love doing it every Sunday, I’m glad people like watching it.” 

At the same time, Berman did say he was “pissed” when he found out at the time that NFL Primetime was over.

“Pissed. It’s the favorite thing that I do. I’ve had some other moments, but if you asked me what’s the most fun I’ve had on a consistent basis…As far as going to work on a regular basis, NFL Primetime, that would be high on my professional tombstone I would think.”

In addition to NFL Primetime, Berman is also well-known for making predictions on Friday nights on SportsCenter as the Swami before the days where sports gambling was legal like it is now in some states. He told Schein that nobody told him he couldn’t do something with that segment, but he would never tell somebody to take the points.

“I never said even ’til I got done in 2016 doing it, take the points. We never put the point spread up. Every score was always at least a field goal off of the spread. I left no doubt. I would use words like much closer than expected or an upset or this could be ugly. I would never put 50-10, but 30-13, just so the teams wouldn’t get completely pissed at me if I picked them to lose in a blowout. It was subtle, it was quietly accepted because I never crossed those lines.

“Nobody said ‘Can’t do this’. It was fun. If it was two defensive teams, I’d put up 3-2 sometimes. We aren’t over-undering this. We are just having a good time.” 

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Bomani Jones: Chris Canty Made Me Rethink How I Look At This Job

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job.”

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The Right Time with Bomani Jones has been one of ESPN’s most successful podcasts recently. Part of the appeal is that the conversations can go anywhere. Jones and his guests talk plenty about sports, but they will venture into pop culture, current events, and more. When it is “Foxworth Friday”, there is a good chance that the show will give some insight on other ESPN personalities.

On the most recent edition of The Right Time, Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth discussed how hard it can be to come up with a unique view on a topic every single time you are asked to talk about it. When Foxworth said that ESPN Radio’s Chris Canty makes it a little easier for him to be entertaining in those moments, Jones added to the praise.

He discussed a conversation he and Canty had at a Halloween party hosted by FOX’s Nick Wright.

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job,” Jones said. “Chris was like ‘Hey man’. You know, he’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he’s like ‘I didn’t get a gold jacket. I wasn’t great at that. But this? I have a chance to be great at something else.’”

Bomani Jones was impressed by that attitude. He admitted that it was eye-opening.

“That really made me look back at how I do my job and was like ‘Yo, I need to be looking at this in a very similar way.’”

Foxworth agreed. He said that it isn’t hard to believe that Chris Canty wants to be great on TV and radio. It is easy to see when he is making an effort to get better.

“He works at it and he doesn’t rely on just one move,” Foxworth said. “Using the basketball analogy, he’s adding new stuff to his game.”

Chris Canty clearly has fans in Bristol. ESPN keeps finding ways to use him across multiple platforms. In addition to his daily ESPN Radio show with Chris Carlin, he also makes regular appearances on Get Up with Mike Greenberg.

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Dave Portnoy Drops Appeal Of Lawsuit Against Business Insider

“In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.”

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Dave Portnoy is done with his legal fight against Insider. He filed an appeal after a judge dismissed his initial defamation suit in November. That appeal has been dropped.

Nich Carlson, the Global Editor-in-Chief of Insider, took to Twitter Friday to announce that the legal standoff had come to an end. He also notes that Insider is not surprised by the decision. The company stands by the reporting in the initial story, in which multiple women alleged that sexual encounters with Portnoy turned “violent and humiliating”. It was one of two stories the site published featuring these kinds of accusations against Portnoy.

Both sides will move on. In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.

In November, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Portnoy would have to prove that Insider acted with “actual malice” in publishing the stories. That was going to be a high bar considering that Dave Portnoy is a public figure.

Neither he nor his legal team have publicly commented about the status of the lawsuit.

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Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong

“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”

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The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.

During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.

“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”

The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.

“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”

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