Every once in a while it's good to have a little fun, and that's all this post is. ESPN understands this, which is why it paraded out Chris Berman to call the second leg of its Monday Night Football doubleheader in Week 1.
If you don't think ESPN placed Berman in the booth as a little "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" to the anti-Berman crowd, you're crazy.
Sure, the lifelong ESPN personality just re-upped his contract with the Worldwide Leader, and yes, this was a longtime make-good for Berman being the top studio guy who has never been able to call any real, live NFL action (other than a preseason warmup this year).
But someone, somewhere inside the walls of ESPN, had to be in on this gag—obviously trolling those of us who hop onto the Internet to react with indignation and frustration whenever we hear a kooky catchphrase, nickname or ill-timed reference to a generation long since passed.
If you don't think that Berman is aware we exist, you're sadly mistaken as well. The man called his game "Monday Night Football: The Caboose Edition" twice within the first 10 minutes of the game. The "caboose" edition? He's just screaming for us to make "more like the ass edition" jokes, right?
That's why he did that, right? Right?!?
In truth, Berman wasn't bad. He was just...Berman. He was more subdued in the first quarter than he was in the last, getting more comfortable as the game moved along. I was actually a bit surprised he didn't overreact to big plays early in the game, perhaps attributable to making sure he got the call right (something more announcers should do).
Later in the game, he did get a little more "Bermanny" with fourth-quarter calls like, "...it was Donald Butler again. The Butler did it, in the conservatory, with the lead pipe."
At this point, you either like Berman's style or you don't, and no "boom" or "whoop" or silly play-on-words is going to change anyone's opinion one way or the other. The team of Berman and Trent Dilfer won't be winning any sports Emmy awards after Monday night's game, but one can make the case they were better than ESPN's previous gimmick of Mike and Mike (and Mike) calling the Monday night Week 1 closer in previous years.
Make no mistake—calling a live sporting event is much different from reading a teleprompter or hosting a football studio show. Berman has called a ton of baseball games and golf tournaments, so it's not like he was new to a live event. He was much better than some Internet trolls had hoped.
Still, here is a list of completely and utterly random celebrities ESPN should think about giving a Monday night game to. And ESPN, please don't wait until next year's season opener to hire one of these people. We'd be happy to have any of them take the place of Jon Gruden right now.
Let's have some fun.