Barry Sanders Inspired Chris Berman’s Famous Whoops

Kyle Koster
Chris Berman
Chris Berman / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Few sounds in sports delight like Chris Berman narrating a highlight and reaching deep into his soul for a “WHOOP!” It’s a rite of fall and has become an ear worm for football-loving masses. The urge to offer one’s own rendition whenever a ball-carrier makes a devastating cut in the open field is almost Pavlovian.

Berman sat down for an interview with Pardon My Take recently and revealed the genesis of his trademark call, explaining that Barry Sanders is a key player in the origin story.

The ESPN legend and NFL Primetime co-host Tom Jackson speculated that the greatest running back of all time had bionic ankles. Because how else does one explain Sanders’ ability to change directions violently without slowing down?

Berman also said the he tries to be judicious with the trademark call early in the season, waiting to break it out only when the time is right.

As a Lions fan, I'll posit that this may be the greatest claim to fame the franchise has delivered over the past four decades. Sad but true.