1987. ESPN had just acquired the rights to televise the NFL when the burgeoning network turned to Chris Berman and Tom Jackson to serve as the leading faces of its coverage of the league.
Berman , who had joined ESPN one month after its launch in September 1979, was quickly establishing his profile as one of the nation’s premier sports television hosts. Jackson, fresh off Super Bowl XXI appearance, had just ended a 14-year NFL career as a standout linebacker for the Denver Broncos.
Today, it is hard to imagine an NFL Sunday without Chris Berman and Tom Jackson on television previewing the day’s action in the morning and by end of day, describing and explaining the key highlights from each game.
And in an industry replete with changing host and analyst partnerships, the duo of Berman and Jackson has endured. Boomer and TJ (their moniker among fans) celebrate their 25th season together this year.
Their partnership has helped garner seven Sports Emmy awards (1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2007 seasons) for Outstanding Studio Show Weekly for ESPN’s signature NFL show – Sunday NFL Countdown, formerly NFL Gameday.
This dynamic duo also teamed together every NFL Sunday night from 1987-2005 to host the critically-acclaimed, highlights-driven NFL PrimeTime, annually cable television’s highest-rated studio show.
In 2009, Jackson earned a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Studio Analyst category for his work on ESPN.
After 24 years, their mutual admiration and fondness for each other hasn’t waned.
Berman: “It continues to be more fun every year, and we can complete each other’s sentences, which is dangerous at times … Tom, I’m thrilled for year No. 25.”
Jackson: “I know people will ask, what’s the key to our success? Boom just told you, we are friends. In many ways, after a quarter century, we are a family.”