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Berman heads to the Monday night booth


It’s officially time to break out the Deux Deux Deuxs.

ESPN has announced that Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer will call the second game of the season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader, when the Raiders host the Chargers.

The official announcement includes a “podcast” from Berman, who likely still thinks that term is a reference to the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which he explains how the decision came to be.

“Our president John Skipper, our executive V.P. of production John Wildhack, we were together, and midway through an interesting evening they said, ‘We’d like you to call the second Monday night game,’” Berman says.

“I went, ‘Now, wow. There’s something I never really thought about.’ Of course, I’ve thought about calling NFL games my whole life, but given what I do and Sunday duties, the normal ones, and it’s Week One of the season and you get your hands full and we’re all excited and we’re trying to do our best in the studio, etc. I didn’t see it coming.

“I said, ‘I gotta give you guys credit. So, you understand I haven’t called a football game in a while, although I’ve called many baseball games and U.S. Open golf, etc., etc. I was really surprised and excited about hearing it, to be honest with you. Really excited. It’s nice to be surprised after 32 years, it really is.”

This explanation implies that Berman had done no lobbying whatsoever for the gig. Which some people will believe, and plenty of people won’t.

To get ready for the regular-season assignment, Berman and Dilfer will handle the Titans-Cardinals game on August 23.

Per ESPN, Berman will host Sunday NFL Countdown on Week One, then fly to Oakland to prepare for the Monday night game. There’s no specific word yet on who will replace Berman for The Blitz, Berman’s SportsCenter-embedded review of game highlights with Tom Jackson.

And that’s perhaps the real news. For the first time in a quarter-century, someone other than Berman will get the opportunity to narrate the extended highlights packages from the games of the Sunday that was. To give up those reins, Berman must have really wanted to get in to the booth.

UPDATE 10:50 a.m. ET: ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer says that the host of The Blitz has not yet been determined. With Berman absent, Suzy Kolber will host Monday Night Countdown from Bristol.

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