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Front & Center: Chris Berman

ESPN's Chris Berman

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Six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman has been the face of ESPN’s NFL coverage for nearly three decades.

The 2012 season will be Berman’s 28th as host of Sunday NFL Countdown. He’s also hosted ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage and he continues to emcee the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s annual enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

In fact, Berman himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame as the Pete Rozelle Radio-TV Award recipient in 2010.

But this coming NFL season, Berman will try something he’s never done before — call an NFL game.

He and analyst Trent Dilfer have been assigned to the booth for the San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders game as part of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader on September 10.

Berman will host the three-hour Countdown in Bristol on the opening NFL Sunday.

After the show, he’ll fly cross country for this AFC West rivalry game the next night (10:15 p.m. ET). The West Coast game will follow the Cincinnati Bengals-Baltimore Ravens opener, which will be called by the regular MNF team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden (7 p.m.).

In preparation for the assignment, Berman and Dilfer also will call the Arizona Cardinals-Tennessee Titans MNFpreseason game on Aug. 23 (8 p.m.).

“I have worked with Boom for four years now and I’ve never been around someone who loves the NFL more than him,” said Dilfer. “I firmly believe that his passion and mine for the game of football will translate to the audience.”

In the podcast above, Berman discusses this unique and unexpected opportunity, some of the play-by-play voices he admires and his early thoughts on the Chargers-Raiders contest.

ESPN’s Season-Opening MNF Doubleheader Commentator Teams (2006-present):

Year Game ESPN Commentators
2006 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Brad Nessler, Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil
2007 Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic and Mike Ditka
2008 Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Greenberg, Golic and Ditka
2009 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Greenberg, Golic and Steve Young
2010 San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Nessler and Trent Dilfer
2011 Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Nessler and Dilfer
2012 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Chris Berman and Dilfer
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