Chris Berman on turning 60: ‘Putting on the 14th hole’; Inducted into Cable Hall of Fame Tuesday

When you reach a milestone birthday and receive a big lifetime achievement honor at the same time, the finish line to a career comes into clearer focus.

Chris Berman definitely will have reason to be reflective this week. Tuesday, the long-time ESPN anchor will be among this year’s inductees into the Cable Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Navy Pier. Sunday, he turns 60.

Berman, an avid golfer, put the current stage of his career in golf terms.

“I’m putting on the 14th hole,” Berman said. “I still have a few more holes to affect the overall score. There’s no other way to look at it.”

When told many prominent sports announcers are working well into their 70s, Berman said, “I won’t go that long.” However, he also stressed he isn’t making any plans to retire just yet.… Continue Reading

Adam Schefter, master Tweeter: Reporting on NFL in 140 characters

An excerpt from my latest column for Poynter:

Update: After saying he planned not to be on Twitter during Thursday’s first round, Schefter actually did do a few tweets. However, he didn’t tip any picks.


Schefter admits being told not to tweet during the draft “feels very odd.” Yet when he shut it down prior to last year’s opening round, he also found it liberating.

“If someone else tweets out news, my bosses don’t care,” Schefter said. “I’m almost granted immunity. It was refreshing. I was able to concentrate on reporting stories (for the telecast) without having to worry about putting up tweets. It almost felt like what it was like to be a sportswriter 20 years ago.”

Schefter was that reporter 20 years ago when he covered the Denver Broncos for the Denver Post. He had plenty … Continue Reading


Really? Roger Goodell says he appreciates role of the media

Northwestern Medill School of Journalism hosted a session with the NFL commissioner while he was in town for the NFL Draft.

Medill alum Christine Brennan served as the moderator. The Daily Northwestern report included this passage.

Goodell told the audience he wanted to speak with Medill students because of the important role the media plays in the NFL.

“I enjoy the opportunity to have these kinds of exchanges. … It was something we thought would be a great opportunity for us to be able to share our perspective,” he said. “Journalism is very important to our business. We want the facts out there.”

Think I’ll just leave that last line alone.

 … Continue Reading

Sports media beat: Howard Cosell if he existed today; Blogs With Balls fireworks; Tim Kurkjian

Reprising an old favorite. There’s always so many good stories on the beat worth sharing.

Ryan Glasspiegel of Big Lead did an interesting two-part series on Howard Cosell. Part 1 dealt with why he became disillusioned with sports. Part 2 examines what kind of work he would do if he existed today.

I asked Kornheiser if he saw similarities between Cosell and Keith Olbermann. “I agree with you on Keith — I think he’s the logical connect-the-dots guy,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Keith Olbermann. The thing that Howard valued most was brains, and Keith’s got brains.”

Dave Kindred, who wrote a dual biography of Cosell and Muhammad Ali entitled Sound and Fury, concurred. “Howard would have to be the star of anything he did today — there’s no doubt about that,” Kindred said. “His ego would demand that, and almost nothing

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Chicago will be a star in ESPN, NFL Network coverage of draft

An excerpt from my latest Chicago Tribune column:


Both networks will have broadcast positions in Grant Park along with their traditional sets inside the Auditorium Theatre. Bears legend Dick Butkus will be featured on the voiceover for NFL Network’s open Thursday.

“Chicago is going to be a main character in our coverage of the draft,” NFL Network producer Charlie Yook said. “This thing is bigger than just football this year.”

Both networks praised the NFL for moving the draft out of New York. While ESPN producer Seth Markman believes Radio City Music Hall is a fine venue, he said it had reached the point “where we could do a draft there in a our sleep.”

Markman admitted he was nervous when he first toured the Auditorium Theatre, noting “it’s really small.” But he and the rest of the crew … Continue Reading

Lessons learned from Bryan Price tirade

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana:


Adam Silver gets it. Bryan Price does not.

There was much written last week about the Cincinnati manager’s profanity-laced rant at Reds beat reporter C. Trent Rosencrans. Price’s liberal use of F-bombs assured him a place in the Tirade Hall of Fame. However, the bad words wouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve ever spent any time in a baseball locker room. Literally every other word heard wouldn’t be suitable for the Disney Channel.

Still, managers usually clean it up when there are microphones in their faces. Otherwise, you wind up going viral when the language gets overly colorful, a lesson manager Price learned last week.

Price was thoroughly ripped for contending that beat writers should withhold information if it hurts the team they are covering. Let’s all agree … Continue Reading

DVR alert: Jeremy Schaap’s E:60 profile of Ernie Johnson

For the first time, E:60 will profile someone from a competing network. Then again, Ernie Johnson is more than worthy. Tonight at 7 p.m.

You may know him as a lead play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball games or one of the broadcasters during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. More likely, you have seen his studio work covering the NBA for TNT – the affable host trying to keep the outsize and outspoken personalities of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith in line. But chances are you have never seen Ernie Johnson like this. E:60’s Jeremy Schaap spends time Johnson – from the studio, to his home in suburban Atlanta, to everywhere in between – and uncovers so much more to Johnson’s story. They talk about his famous father, his battle with cancer and balancing his roles as television … Continue Reading

Sports gets snubbed by Pulitzers, again

An excerpt from my latest column for Poynter:


Dave Anderson remains a member of a very small fraternity of Pulitzer Prize-winning sports reporters and columnists. Only three columnists have been cited: Besides Anderson, Arthur Daley of the New York Times [1956], Red Smith of the New York Times[1976] and Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times [1990].

On the reporting side in recent years, George Dohrmann of the St. Paul Pioneer Press won in 2000 for his reports of fraud in the Minnesota basketball program. Ira Berkow shared the 2001 Pulitzer for national reporting for his article “The Minority Quarterback” in a New York Times series on race in America.

The next sports Pulitzer winner wasn’t until 2013 when John Branch of the New York Times won for feature writing for a story on skiers killed in an avalanche. … Continue Reading

Are NFL schedule-makers down on Bears? Only 2 prime-time games

The new schedule is an indicator that the NFL might not be high on the Bears’ outlook this year.

The Bears only are scheduled for two prime time games this year: Monday night at San Diego on Nov. 9 and Thanksgiving night at Green Bay.

It marks the Bears’ fewest prime time games since 2005 when they only made one appearance. In fact, the Bears have played at least four prime time games every season since 2005. They have been featured on five prime time games in each of the last three seasons.

The networks love airing Bears games in prime time. The Bears, with their vast history, are considered one of the national teams in the NFL. Their appeal usually produces solid ratings.

So if the Bears are even close to being considered respectable, 8-8 or 9-7, they will … Continue Reading

Bryan Price needs an education on role of media

By now, you’ve probably read or heard Bryan Price’s rant at C. Trent Rosecrans. Obviously, the Reds need to hire a good media consultant to work with him. Allow me to suggest my good friend, Kevin Sullivan.

Loved this tweet:

Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post weighed in with a column. He writes:

Now, no beat writer is doing his/her job if he/she isn’t sending out that info in real time – whether it comes from the manager or not. Providing instant information is part of the job. Wait till after the game, and you’re nine innings late, and your readers are poorly served.

Later, he writes:

This is a key point: All reporters can ask of the people they cover – managers, general managers and players – is that they don’t lie. There are times (and this instance

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Remembering brutal honesty of Doug Buffone: ‘Don’t give me this Kumbaya stuff and we’ll try again next week’

A very sad day in Chicago with the passing of Doug Buffone.

Ol’ No. 55 played the most games of any Bear. Even though the linebacker finally retired in 1980, he never lost his passion for football and the Bears.

One of my all-time favorite days in the business occurred last fall when I watched the Bears-New England game with him and his long-time teammate and radio partner Ed O’Bradovich. Their Bears postgame radio show on WSCR-AM 670 was a must-listen and they were in vintage form after the Patriots slaughtered the Bears.

I reflected back on that day in a column in the Tribune:

Before the game, Buffone repeatedly said the Bears had to hit the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski at the line. Sure enough, the Bears didn’t touch him and the star tight end caught three touchdowns.

At one

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