Tuning into ESPN after the final whistle in Super Bowl LV brought great excitement because Chris Berman was on television again, giving his unique gravitas to the big game. It felt spectacular to drink in the moment and hear him work the highlights — a first draft of history — as only he can. There is nothing like hearing this voice on this sport when championships are being decided.
But the vibe changed dramatically a few minutes after the initial recap package as Berman tried to negotiate a discussion around Andy Reid's state of mind. Reid's son, Britt, was involved in a three-car accident on Thursday night that has left a five-year-old girl in critical condition.
"A Kansas City Police Department officer said Reid's eyes were bloodshot and that the officer smelled "a moderate odor of alcoholic beverages," according to a police officer statement obtained by ESPN. The statement went on to say Reid told the officer that he had two to three drinks and that he also took prescription Adderall."
The full details and circumstances of the incident will be better understood as time passes. The most important thing, of course, is that a child is fighting for her life. Discussing the incident proved challenging for CBS, which mentioned it during pregame and had Jim Nantz address it late in the game without mentioning the potential impairment.
With the caveat that adroitly navigating through the topic is far easier in theory than in practice, Berman's approach left a lot to be desired. Here is a clip, which was cut off before a more expansive conversation between Berman, Steve Young, and Booger McFarland about the real victim.
And honestly, this isn't supposed to be overly critical. No matter what Berman had said in this position, there would have been an army of detractors. But one would be hard-pressed to find two minutes of television that were this awkward.
It may not be popular to admit that Berman has a point. Andy Reid is a human being who is experiencing great anguish. To think that he was able to completely block that painful part of his life out is unreasonable. The word "distraction" has become a dirty word and to some end it does trivialize what's really important, but it's completely reasonable to bring up as part of the full picture when discussing what could have gone wrong for the Chiefs.
People are almost obtusely binary in that they cannot accept that a tumultuous situation may have played a much smaller part in the loss than the woeful offensive line play. Or that the crash will have long-term negative impact on all involved, even though the impacts are unequally dispersed.
So with all that said, I'm generally curious what the consensus is on this attempt, or if there's anything close to approaching a consensus.