Belichick Shamelessly Fanboying Chris Berman is All of Us
Much has been said over the years about Bill Belichick's disdain for the media. Much of it true. But with very rare exceptions - meaning the truly unrepentant, agenda-driven grandstanders like your Dan Shaunhnessys - it's never been personal. Only business. If he's dismissive to one of the truly quality reporters, it's to send whatever message to his players, staff and opponents that they will hear loud and clear.
But then, there's this. Belichick's game recognizing Chris Berman's game. One American institution who has been plying his trade in his chosen field since the 1970s to another. And that admiration is most definitely mutual.
And that speaks volumes when you consider the ridiculous amount of hatchet jobs and hit pieces ESPN has done about Belichick and the Dynasty he has ruled all these years. Coming out of all that vitriol with the coach's admiration is a testament to Berman and what he's meant to sportscasting.
Say what you will about the state of Boomer's fastball, and you'll get no argument. It's been a while since he was pulling chicks out of clubs with a simple, "You're with me, Leather." It happens to everyone, eventually. But that doesn't diminish his icon status one bit. The man who rocked 24 hour cable sports programming in the cradle and raised it to adulthood. The man who reinvented the highlight package and made it his own. The man who made a career out of the nickname schtick and brought catch phrases like "Nobody circles the wagons like ... the Buffalo Bills" into the lexicon has earned nothing less than the adulation he gets from the GOAT in this moment. So let's embrace seeing Berman glide through that Show Business Icon phase of his career. Like when you'd see Don Rickles late in his life bringing the house down on Conan. Or listening to Tony Bennett crush a song on Ryan & Kelly. Chris Berman is TV Sports Anchor Emeritus. And deserves the applause from a legend who applauds for very few men.
P.S. I also love the fact that Boomer was sitting a foot away from Tom Jackson the night the Pats won Super Bowl 38. The season that began with Jackson saying, "They hate their coach" because he released Lawyer Milloy. And in that moment of triumph, as Jackson extended his hand in congratulations, Belichick famously told him to go fuck himself. Grudges don't get old. And neither does respect.