Chris Berman decided it was time for him to step down as the anchor of NFL Sunday Night Countdown at the end of the 2016 season.
Berman, a broadcasting legend and the face of ESPN’s Football coverage for 31 years, will focus his attention elsewhere while maintaining his relationship with ESPN.
College Football reporter Sam Ponder has been tabbed as the top choice to replacement Berman as host of Sunday Night Countdown.
The deal is not yet final, but is expected to be completed sooner rather than later. Ponder has done plenty of work to cut her teeth on the college sideline, but remains unexperienced at the pro-level. Many feel the decision is a two-pronged result of ESPN wanting to facilitate more conversation between the analysts and get more women in front of the camera.
Ponder has a reputation within the industry of working tirelessly and the network feels she has tremendous potential as a studio host.
Ponder is yet to officially comment on the rumors.
Berman’s decision to take a step has also left a number of other vacancies.
ESPN is currently looking for a new host for Monday Night Countdown and for coverage of the first day of the NFL Draft. The draft will likely be covered by Trey Wingo going forward, as he typically covered the second and third day of the draft anyway.
It is worth noting that Sam Ponder is married to NFL free-agent and former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.
ESPN doesn’t appear interested in maintaining the pretense that they try to avoid conflicts of interest.