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Dan Marino

ESPN's Chris Berman has seen NFL draft's popularity soar

ESPN's Chris Berman has seen NFL draft's popularity soar

Chris Berman has told the story so many times it now feels like he was there for the meeting. Back in 1979, Chet Simmons, president of a new network called ESPN, made a proposal to Pete Rozelle to air live coverage of the NFL draft. While Rozelle might have been the most media-savvy commissioner in sports history, even he couldn't comprehend why ESPN would bother covering an event where basically nothing happened from a visual standpoint. "To Pete, it sounded like reading names from the phone book," Berman said. "Everyone said, 'Who's going to watch?'" Simmons, though, persisted and ESPN covered its first draft in 1980. It proved to be a...

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