ESPN Deletes Skip Bayless' "I Would Skip Drafting White Players" Tweet

A supposedly un-American tweet attributed to Skip Bayless posted on the Twitter account of the ESPN2 program "First Take" was deleted. It read, "I'm totally against taking American-born white players in the first round of the draft."

On Friday afternoon, a tweet on the ESPN First Take Twitter account attributed to the show’s master debater, Skip Bayless, read this: “I’m totally against taking American-born white players in the first round of the draft.” It was supposedly posted at around 3 PM ET.

As of this morning, the tweet has mysteriously disappeared. Hmmm.

Skip had also been making similar viewpoints on his personal Twitter account, i.e. “American white players overrated in draft since Larry Bird…” Not as salacious as being “totally against… American-born white players” in the NBA.

Maybe the Worldwide Leader realized what major holiday is coming up and decided they would save face by yanking the anti-American tweet? That’s the best explanation I can come up with for the tweet being deleted. Granted, it’s no “chink in the armor” at the height of “Linsanity,” but that very well could have been bad timing on Bayless’ part – and the person operating the “First Take” Twitter account.

By the way, as Bob’s Blitz points out, you can still view the content of the deleted tweet on the “First Take” homepage on ESPN’s website. For now, anyway. Ouch.

I suppose if this faux pas was made over at Fox, they would never live it down.

Happy Independence Day!

ESPN Says Erin Andrews Is Leaving, Likely Landing At Fox Sports

This is probably what Erin Andrews will look like this fall, as Sports Illustrated is speculating that she’ll be joining Fox Sports. This after ESPN has confirmed Andrews is leaving the network, as her contract expires this weekend.

Peep this: Erin Andrews is leaving ESPN.

Late Friday, ESPN has released a statement that she and the network are parting ways. “She did great work for us and we made an aggressive offer to keep her.”

No, this isn’t some Twitter schmuck posing as an ESPN employee making the announcement. This is the real deal.

The fact is, another entity has made a really sweet deal to Andrews that exceeds the lengths ESPN went to keep her; her contract with ESPN expires Saturday.

You’re thinking that ESPN doesn’t think the world of her to retain her services. On the contrary. Because why would ESPN wait until the dead media dump time of Friday evening to put out a statement that one of their highest-profile personalities will not be returning?

The ESPN statement continues, “We wish her the best on her next chapter.”

As for the author of that proverbial next chapter in Andrews’ career, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting that the most likely destination for her will be Fox Sports, whom Deitsch says is “aggressively pursuing” her services. The fact that Fox has loaded up on college football contests – some of which will be highlighted on Saturday nights this fall – plus have snagged the mighty Gus Johnson to call some games, gives every indication that Fox will all but hire Andrews as their new lead sideline reporter.

And considering her past work on “Good Morning America,” which airs on ESPN corporate sister network ABC, could we see Andrews popping up on other Fox properties? Hey, isn’t there some kind of brand new national cable network that Fox is hoping to launch this year – a network that’s purported to be a rival of ESPN, Andrews’ soon-to-be-former employer? Her presence, combined with some equally attractive programming (heh, see what I did there?) could put the new network, whose working title is “Fox One,” on the map – provided there are enough cable subscribers, of course.

We’ll watch as the tributes from ESPN colleagues past and present pour in on Twitter over the makeshift holiday weekend – even from colleagues who claim to have never met her.

Maybe that @ESPNSteve character might reactivate his Twitter account.

UPDATE: How’s this for convenient timing: Just two days after Erin Andrews departs ESPN, her stalker, Michael David Barrett, will be released from prison. He was officially sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, but as Bob’s Blitz points out, that is retroactive to when he was initially sent to the slammer. Which calculates to him leaving jail on July 3, 2012 – just 48 hours of Erin Andrews leaving ESPN. Of course, as you know, Michael David Barrett was indicted for filming this Erin Andrews video (okay, not quite that video – and don’t bother looking for the real deal, by the way – her lawyers forbid its existence on the Internets, and I will not link it).

AUDIO/VIDEO: Don Imus Joins Mike Francesa On WFAN’s 25th Anniversary Show

Don Imus appeared on WFAN for the first time since his firing in 2007, as Mike Francesa brought him in as part of the station's 25th anniversary special. Imus thanked Francesa for putting his "job on the line" in the wake of the comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team that led to his departure from WFAN, as well as MSNBC.

WFAN is celebrating is 25th anniversary. And Mike Francesa has long argued that it would not even have lasted 25 months, had it not been for the show that Don Imus hosted every morning.

So naturally, Francesa welcomed the longtime WFAN morning man, whom he referred to as “my old friend” and “the smartest man I ever knew”, on the program, because as Francesa told listeners on WFAN, as well as viewers on YES Network, “it would not be a 25th anniversary program without” him.

In his first appearance on the station since his controversial ouster five years ago – though his likeness was actually heard on their air back when the station commemmorated their 20th anniversary – Imus, speaking by telephone from New Mexico, began by joking, “I’m out at the ranch currently, trying to figure out how to breathe.”

Certainly, WFAN was able to breathe a little easier ever since the move from AM 1050 to the blowtorch at AM 660.

“Emmis Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan, I guess he bought ‘NBC,” explained Imus, because ‘FAN had already been established on 1050… which you can’t hear, by the way, if you parked next to the transmitter in your car.”

A laughing Francesa, in perhaps a veiled swipe at his competitor, ESPN Radio, which up until April had only been heard on AM 1050, replied, “That’s true.”

Imus: “So that was moved over then, to where we were at 660, which is where you guys are now, which is one of the great signals in the history of broadcasting; at night, you can hear ‘FAN in 38 states.”

“And then, we inherited you,” Francesa said to Imus.

“At that point, the sports talk thing, which is a great idea – it was Smulyan’s idea, I believe – was not taking off [due to] a number of things; they didn’t have any great talent, I don’t think they did, I don’t want to disparage anybody; and then, they had a horrible signal [on 1050]. So by coming to 660, getting us, I think that’s some decent talent, and then along came you and Mad Dog…”

“And the thing took off,” Francesa added, “thanks to you.

“As I always told people, how do you start a sports talk station? I said, ‘go get Don Imus, that’s the way you start, and you take it from there’, because without you, it never would have got off the ground. You carried us for a long time before any of us figured it out.”

And just as he had told Chris “Mad Dog” Russo earlier, Francesa let it be known that Imus has not only greatly influenced WFAN, but the “Mike And The Mad Dog” show, as well.

“There wouldn’t be a Mike and the Mad Dog, or an ‘FAN, without you,” Francesa informed Imus. “You carried us for a long time before we kinda figured everything out, so this is all credit to you.

“It was a wonderful run that I will never forget, both the years with Dog – which I’ve tried to forget through the years as much as I possibly could – and obviously, the time with you.”

Francesa remembered how, on some days right before his show started, he would spend quality time with Imus in his office, “and someone would come down and talk to us, and we’d have him running down the hall within five minutes.”

“I was a horrible influence on you,” Imus recalled. To which Francesa countered, “You taught me everything I knew, as a matter of fact.

Francesa remembered one morning, in anticipation of WFAN’s move to 660, doing the sports updates for Don Imus’ WNBC-AM show. “You couldn’t have been worse to me if –”

Imus: “That’s not true.”

“You were terrible to me that day.”

“That’s just lies.”

“Oh, you were throwing your gum at me and stuff –”

“That was a form of affection; it had to be.”

“And then after that, you learned to love me, so it’s unbelievable.”

Francesa also reminisced about when he started filling in for the precursor to “Mike And The Mad Dog” on WFAN, Pete Franklin. Imus immediately jumped in with a “Brief Franklin” crack – he had been on the air for about as long as WFAN was on 1050 – then added, “What a psycho.”

Imus then shared what may have been the weirdest moment during his tenure at WFAN – a moment that turned out to be an inpatient stay.

“[Mark] Chernoff was reminding me that one time… at ‘FAN, my lung collapsed when I was on the air.”

Francesa: “Is that true?”

“Yeah. So I’m doing the show, and Bernie and Lou are making fun of me, because I’m gasping for air… I didn’t know what it was… [Joel] Hollander and Chernoff take me to the hospital for a collapsed lung… Long story short, I had to have a lung operation, which was horrible… So Chernoff and Hollander would come see me all the time, they were great… They come over to see me, and they had moved me to another room for some reason. So they go in the room, the beds were all made up. I thought I was dead.”

“No,” Francesa advised Imus, “you got it wrong, they were hoping you were dead… after what you put them through.”

Imus: “They got me on the days I wasn’t drinking and doing drugs.”

Francesa told Imus that he remembered when “Imus In The Morning” emanated right from Imus’ hospital bed. “You went in, got your lung done, and you didn’t miss one show the whole time,” an amazed Francesa remarked. “I think you did a show from the operating room one morning.”

In closing, Imus had heartfelt words for Francesa: “I’ll always appreciate, for the rest of my life, the loyalty of both you and certainly Chernoff, and by the way, Mad Dog… You guys are very standup guys. A lot of people don’t know that you actually put your job on the line and tried to save mine, and I really appreciate it. It all worked out fine and God bless you.”

In April 2007, after WFAN had fired Don Imus as a result of the backlash following his infamous “nappy headed hos” comment, the station had been placing various substitute hosts in morning drive for several months – for the first two weeks of this period, it was none other than Mike and the Mad Dog, who had actually done both the morning shift and their regular afternoon drive program on WFAN later in the day. And while Imus had been dismissed by WFAN and MSNBC, the program was still being syndicated via Westwood One for a short time thereafter, so some listeners across the country – that is, those who didn’t jump ship when Imus got the ax – got to hear “Mike and the Mad Dog” in Imus’ old timeslot – on Imus’ old affiliates.

And while Imus returned to national radio via Citadel (since acquired by Cumulus last year), WFAN is thriving in morning drive with “Boomer And Carton.”

So when Don Imus tells Mike Francesa, “it all worked out fine,” it has – on both sides.

The final words of Don Imus on WFAN on their 25th anniversary, five years after being fired from the station: “May the ‘Fan have 25 more.”

(Click here to watch video of Mike Francesa’s interview with Don Imus from the WFAN 25th anniversary show.)

(Click here to download Mike Francesa’s interview with Don Imus from the WFAN 25th anniversary show.)

AUDIO: Chris Russo Joins Mike Francesa On WFAN's 25th Anniversary Show

Chris "Mad Dog" Russo joined his former radio colleague Mike Francesa on WFAN's 25th anniversary show. The duo ruled afternoon drive during their radio run, which lasted just short of nineteen years.

The last time Mike Francesa and Chris Russo got together was at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis earlier this year. From that appearance, it was as if the afternoon drive show they hosted for nearly two decades on WFAN/New York, “Mike And The Mad Dog,” was still going strong. Their chemistry is that strong.

So, of course, when Russo appeared on a special six-hour Francesa program commemmorating the 25th anniversary of WFAN signing on the air, the two naturally picked up right where they left off.

“Dog and I have actually been apart since August of ’08, but it’s almost like you can flip a switch and start over,” Francesa told WFAN listeners, as well as viewers on YES Network.

“It’s amazing,” Russo affirmed.

Russo spent nearly an hour on Francesa’s program, as he and Francesa reminisced about their long-running WFAN show, which aired from the 5th of September, 1989, through the 5th of August, 2008. None of these years more impactful than year one.

“Our lives changed dramatically that first year,” Francesa told Russo.

“Mike And The Mad Dog” would also impact WFAN in many positive ways – billing being an important one – even though the vibe on the air may have been negative at times.

Said Russo: “I think the first time the fans sort of acknowledged the fact that they liked what they were hearing, it gave us, ‘You know what? If we’re making money, let’s not moan and groan about this. Let’s make it as good as we possibly can’.”

Russo also argued that “Mike And The Mad Dog” had benefitted from local sports teams performing well – especially since, once upon a time, WFAN was the only game in town when it came to radio play-by-play for most teams. There would be no ESPN Radio in New York until Francesa and Russo had their dozenth year in the bag.

“‘FAN became the place to go, because you had all the games on.”

In its inception, WFAN had been broadcasting on AM 1050. Then, NBC put WNBC-AM, along with their entire NBC Radio repertiore on the block. Emmis made an offer, and the rest is history.

“The turn right in the beginning, from changing the station to 660, inheriting Don there, and then having Mike And The Mad dog take off” were the three key variables that Francesa believed contributed to the start of WFAN’s success – “Don,” of course, being Don Imus, a holdover from WNBC-Am.

“Him getting there in ’88 was huge,” Russo said of Imus, “and the switch to 660, too…”

Even though Imus, and Russo, have long since moved on from WFAN, Francesa remarked that both of them will be a part of WFAN’s legacy – even though Imus has set up shop with another radio station and syndicator, and Russo is on SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his own channel bearing his likeness.

“You deserve a tremendous amount of credit,” Francesa said to Russo. “You were an enormous part of this station’s success, and that will never, ever change. This is always home to you, and it always will be.”

While it’s obvious that WFAN was the pioneer in sports radio, it’s amazing just thinking about the head start the station had on the landscape as we know it today (and with two new networks launching this fall, it keeps getting bigger).

“Look at everything out there,” Francesa advised Russo. “There’s so much there that wasn’t there when you and I started. I mean, we pretty much had the first ten years to ourselves… It was pretty much you and me, and that was it.”

“No competition,” Russo responded.

So when will Mike and the “Mad Dog” be together again next? Will it be for WFAN’s 30th anniversary?

If the baseball gods have their way, we may not have to wait that long.”

As he ended his call with Russo, Francesa promised him: “If the Giants and the Yankees make the World Series… we’ll do a show together.”

Now that would be a home run.

Not as deep a home run as WFAN hit on the 1st of July, 25 years ago.

(Click here to download the third hour of WFAN’s 25th anniversary show, which includes all three segments of Russo’s appearance in their entirety. Also appearing on this audio file are former WFAN program director Mark Mason, and three people who had previously produced “Mike And The Mad Dog”: Bob Gelb, Chris Carlin, and Marc Malusis.)

25 Or 6 To 4: Some Late Sunday Starts Get 10-Minute Delay Of Game

The NFL has announced that games in the late window of a Sunday doubleheader would move from a 4:15 PM (ET) start time to 4:25 PM. Much to the chagrin of NBC's whose "Sunday Night Football" is America's most-watched show, while ratings for its pregame could be better.

Expect sudden death for “The OT.”

On Thursday, the NFL announced a schedule modification that they said would be in the best interest of football fans.

On weeks where either CBS or FOX has a doubleheader, the second game will start at 4:25 PM ET, as opposed to the long-established 4:15 PM ET start time. Meanwhile, the other network with a single game for that week would continue airing it at either a 1 PM or 4:05 PM start time.

What led to this time change was league research that found nearly four dozen games in the early game window over the past three seasons were cut off before the end due to mandatory commitment to the late game in the markets involved.

“With a 4:25 PM ET kickoff time,” reads a press release from the NFL, “that number would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15 games.” Or, roughly a dozen.

While the news means less of a chance to miss the end of a nailbiting football contest, looking on the other side of the ten-minute rollover, there could be weeks where “The OT” could be just long enough for “The O” when Fox has the doubleheader, while on weeks where CBS has the doubleheader, viewers of “60 Minutes” may have to wait, well, sixty minutes more until the start of that program.

As for NBC, with their “Football Night In America” show kicking off in the 7 PM ET hour, at which point some games could possibly just be starting the fourth quarter? They said the new late game time alteration would have no effect on how “Football Night” is produced. Of course, it should certainly have an effect on viewership of the show, not so much what it serves as a pregame to, the top-rated “Sunday Night Football.”

Watch NBC scream bloody murder about “Football Night” ratings being impacted by a late football game on one of the other networks. We could see an 8:35 PM ET kickoff for “SNF” if NBC has their druthers. It recently made history as the first sports program to be the most-watched show for an entire season. Why wouldn’t NBC propose a slightly-expanded “Football Night” with a later “SNF” start time to accommodate the late football window runover? It’s not like people are going to stop watching “SNF” as a result. True, some may fall asleep before the final snap of the game, but clearly, they’ll still watch.

And remember, there’s still one football game per week that starts at around 8:30 PM ET: ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (which used to start as late as 9 PM ET during its heyday on ABC). For the 2011 season, “MNF” ratings took a 10% hit, but that’s mostly due to the teams involved in most of the matchups becoming the dregs of the league as the season passes, and not so much the start time. NBC’s “SNF”? They usually have the most attractive games scheduled, and by the power vested in Roger Goodell, can have any game flexed into Sunday primetime (okay, most games) in lieu of a previously scheduled game which turns out to be a late-season stinker. It’s not the number one show in America for nothing. In this case, NBC could afford to mess with success, and have the Sunday night game start just a little bit later.

The first recipient of the new late game time will be Fox, as CBS will have U.S. Open Tennis commitments during Week 1 of the NFL. Both CBS and Fox will be taking advantage of the time modification in Week 17, when both networks will air doubleheaders, as has been the case since 2006.

Now, if only the league could also impose a two-hour delay on the start of that late game on September 10.

15 Years After: The Bite Heard 'Round The World

 

On June 28, 1997, Mike Tyson's decision to bite both of Evander Holyfield's ears during a heavyweight bout had cemented their places in sports media lore. Recently, he appeared on ESPN and was not informed of the 15-year anniversary of "the bite".

While boxing enthusiasts and casual sports fans alike are just starting to forget about Timothy Bradley’s controversial decision over Manny Pacquaio earlier this month – perhaps forgetting about the sport of boxing altogether after that card – today marks the crystal anniversary of a controversial development in the third round of one of the most anticipated boxing matches, from a time where boxing’s following among the public was much bigger than it is today.

June 28, 1997. Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson were facing each other in a rematch of a previous fight, in November 1996, which had been six years in the making. The two would have first fought in 1990, had Tyson not lost the heavyweight title to Buster Douglas. When Holyfield took the title from Douglas in a subsequent bout later that year, he was scheduled to fight Tyson again in 1991, but Tyson dropped out, citing a rib injury. Then the following year, he was convicted of rape and had to serve a few years in prison. Since then, Holyfield compiled a personal 7-3 record, possessing the title for two separate periods. Meanwhile, Tyson returned to boxing with a personal five-game win streak and gained the title from Bruce Seldon en route to his initial match with Holyfield. The result: Holyfield virtually dominated Tyson wire-to-wire, with the referee, Mitch Halpern, stopping the fight in the eleventh round. The title would be Holyfield’s for the third time – or once for each time his first bout with Tyson was delayed – and it would once again be on the line in their next fight.

In Holyfield-Tyson II, “The Real Deal” picked up right where he left off the previous fall, stunning “Iron Mike” for the first two rounds.

That was about the time Tyson really started to get hungry for the title. Literally.

The fact that he started the following round without his mouthpiece might have been a hint.

With roughly forty seconds remaining in the third round, Tyson gnawed Holyfield’s right ear during a clutch. Holyfield immediately jumped up and down in the ring in pain – and anger. Referee Mills Lane called time to examine Holyfield’s ear. The fighters finished out the round, as Tyson immediately made a beeline for Holyfield’s other ear when the fight resumed. It was when the round ended that Lane decided to call the fight and disqualify Tyson.

Not only did it immediately become the top sports story, it also was the top local news story in Las Vegas.

As a result of Tyson’s rogue bicuspids, the state of Nevada revoked his boxing license, which would eventually be reinstated a little over a year later. He would compete in just two more matches – a win and a no contest – in Vegas.

Never mind the fact that the chances of Tyson ever regaining the title, well, bit the dust (he had a chance in a matchup with Lennox Lewis in 2002). The bizarre circumstances of Holyfield-Tyson II had raised the bar for weird moments in sports. When Nancy Kerrigan’s knee was clubbed by the boyfriend of skating rival Tonya Harding, who wasn’t comparing that to Tyson’s bite?

There weren’t as many sports radio and television outlets fifteen years ago as there are today. Tyson’s bite would have been instant chum for these channels.

And imagine if the Internet was as prevalent in 1997 as it was today. Mike Tyson’s teeth would probably have got their own Twitter account.

“The bite” supplanted places in pop culture for all of the main players involved in the fight. The “wacko” factor for Tyson just started to take off at that point, as evidenced by this interview prior to his first fight in Las Vegas since “the bite fight.” And while Tyson and Holyfield continued their respective boxing careers, Lane capitalized on his involvement in their rematch with his own courtroom series, “Judge Mills Lane” (Warren Sapp might learn a thing or two from him) plus his likeness refereeing fantasy superstar bouts in the animated MTV program “Celebrity Deathmatch.”

When ESPN celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2004, Tyson’s bite was the thirtieth of the “100 most memorable moments” in sports under the Worldwide Leader’s watch (in fact, the aforementioned Kerrigan attack was right in front of the bite at No. 29). Buster Douglas’ knockout of Tyson at No. 28 was the only other higher boxing-related moment on the list (that is, if you don’t count Muhammad Ali’s lighting the Olympics flame at No. 8). To suggest the bite was not memorable would be an understatement.

It makes you wonder, if we’re lucky enough to be alive in June 2027, which boxing memory will be more prevalent: Timothy Bradley’s stunning upset of Manny Pacquaio, fifteen years ago at that point, or the three-decade anniversary of Tyson’s bite?

Maybe this would serve as a clue: In a very recent appearance on ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption,” on their “Five Good Minutes” segment (which actually lasted eight minutes this the around), Tyson, promoting a new Broadway show he is starring in, was not told of the 15-year anniversary of “the bite.” (Though they may have reminisced about it in the “happy anniversary” segment at the end of today’s show.)

Then again, would you blame Tyson if he wanted to forget about that infamous incision inflicted on Evander Holyfield’s ears?

As it turns out, 1997 turned out to be a banner year for high-profile sports figures and their penchants for biting. Yet as the anniversary of Marv Albert’s arrest related to a sodomy charge had passed last month, there was little fanfare (other than my piece, of course) from the media, let alone the sports media. That might have something to do with the fact that Marv Albert eventually returned to doing what he has been known to do – and mind you, he was calling an NBA conference playoff game on the 15th anniversary of his arrest.

Granted, Mike Tyson, whose last two bouts in the mid-’00’s resulted in two losses, probably is not in shape to return to doing what he has been known to do. But make no mistake, with all of his efforts over the last several years – a face tattoo, an Animal Planet reality series, and, of course, his new one-man Broadway show – he’s been trying hard to make people forget about “the bite.”

Just not on June 28 of each year.

Mills Lane would allow it, right?

Chris Berman To Whoop It Up In "MNF" Booth

Chris Berman has been assigned to call the second-half of ESPN's "Monday Night Football" doubleheader on September 10 from Oakland. It's apparently an opportunity the 33-year employee of the Worldwide Leader had wanted for years.

He’s been a prominent figure on ESPN virtually since its inception in 1979.

But on September 10, a lifelong dream in Chris Berman’s career will finally come true: he will be the lead analyst for the late game on ESPN’s season-opening “Monday Night Football” doubleheader, alongside veteran ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer, who will be the color commentator on the late ESPN “MNF” game for the third year in a row.

The Worldwide Leader made the announcement earlier this morning – putting to rest rampant speculation that Berman would be in the catbird seat for the Oakland Raiders’ first game of the 2012 season against the San Diego Chargers – or as Berman likes to refer to the team, “the San Diego Super Chargers.”

Yep. Expect a lot of that kinda drivel for about three hours.

Not long after ESPN confirmed the “MNF” team for the Chargers/Raiders game, Deadspin had revealed that calling a single NFL game on ESPN was something that Berman had long coveted ever since the network started carrying NFL games on a shared-season basis with TNT. In fact, Berman was incensed that colleague Tony Kornheiser, whom Chris “despises,” landed a regular gig in the “MNF” booth.

Maybe this is the reason why ESPN finally decided to give Berman the booth assignment: they were running out of people suitable to call an NFL game.

Look at this list of announcers for the second game of the “MNF” doubleheader on ESPN, since the format was instilled in 2006. Morning hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic have done the game for three years. For one year prior and two years after, it was Brad Nessler with the play-by-play. Nessler is now an NFL Network employee, and he will be calling thirteen Thursday night games starting this year, beginning three days after the Chargers/Raiders Monday nighter. And, for whatever reason, “Mike & Mike” weren’t interested, and you can bet they were approached before agreeing to let Berman have the game. Unless Dilfer just doesn’t get along with Greenberg and Golic, for some reason.

Also, remember this will be the first year that the main “Monday Night Football” booth will be without the services of Ron Jaworski, meaning it’ll only be Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden calling the action all season long (save for the final week of the season). But Jaworski is still an ESPN employee, and will be seen and heard from plenty throughout the football year. Do you suppose they asked Ron Jaworski to call the game before settling on Chris Berman? Yes, he’s very mellifluous in breaking things down – but it’s just one game for the whole year, and it’s not like it’s the Broncos or anything. (Food for thought: this will be the fourth time that either the Chargers or Raiders will appear on ESPN’s late “MNF” season opener contest – so I guess it’s natural they play each other for bragging rights.)

So football fans, prepare for what should be three hours of “rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin'” and “boom boom boom” – and, yes, perhaps a big “WHOOP” or two – as the “Rai-dahs” host the “San Diego Super Chargers”, and if you’ve been a viewer of Berman on “SportsCenter” over the years, the catchphrases should be almost predictable. Guarantee if Michael Bush breaks Charger tackles and runs free, he’ll play the “he… could… go… all… the… way” card.

And while a dream will become reality for Chris Berman, one word of advice – not like he needs it from a blogger, since his career at ESPN spans five decades. But what I’m about to point out makes you wonder if ESPN has been so defiant against letting Berman call a “Monday Night Football” game all these years.

I’ll just direct your attention to this video – I wouldn’t view it at work, if I were you. Yep, it’s Berman’s Bill O’Reilly moment before Bill O’Reilly had his Bill O’Reilly moment (and I wouldn’t view that one at work, either).

You just know if there’s virtually no running game for either the Raiders or the Chargers, he might just lose it.

Behave, Chris.