By LUIS GONZALEZ
Verne Lundquist, Brent Musburger, Chris Berman, and Bob Costas will no longer be the voices behind countless sporting events. Musburger has decided to retire from television, while Lundquist, Berman and Costas are taking major steps back in their responsibilities with their networks.
Brad Nessler will replace Lundquist, Chris Fowler will replace Musburger, Mike Tirico will replace Bob Costas, and ESPN is still searching who will step into Berman’s role.
While many of the moves were expected for a while now, Musburger’s retirement comes at an interesting time.
Of late, Musburger has found himself in controversial moments while on the air. From his infatuation to former Alabama quarterback’s girlfriend Katherine Webb in 2013 to his latest in defending Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon during this year’s Sugar Bowl for getting a second chance after punching a woman in the face in 2014.
ESPN and Musburger both say that the comments were not a part of his decision in retirement.
The moves show a generational shift of coverage that sports has been seeing, as a whole.
A step in the right direction, nonetheless.
Berman will forever be a legend in sports broadcasting. While some tuned in just to hear a “back, back, back, back, back, back, gone” or the “whoop” of a juke from Berman, sports fans were getting tired of the same call for 15 years. Becoming a running joke on Twitter for these calls, it was time for Berman to take a break.
With the aforementioned controversies surrounding Musburger, it was better for both parties to clear their baggage and head towards different directions.
Tirico’s move is fascinating. Tirico’s move from ESPN to NBC was to replace Al Michaels in play-by-play responsibilities for Sunday Night Football. His role should expand more next year than what he experienced this season.
NBC also owns the rights to next year’s Super Bowl, which occurs only a couple of days before Tirico is supposed to cover the Winter Olympics. NBC has not announced specific details on how their coverage for these events, but it is worthy of a watchful eye.