Chris Berman, Keyshawn Johnson and the rest of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown team broke down an exciting slate of Week 17 games this weekend, but analyst Mike Ditka still had a hard time staying awake.
The on-air faux paus occurred while the Sunday NFL Countdown crew discussed the day’s upcoming matchup between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. The show cut away to a shot of ESPN's Josina Anderson, who reported live from outside the Dolphins locker room. When the camera returned to the “Countdown” set, Ditka appeared to have fallen asleep, Deadspin reports.
Johnson noticed that Ditka had fallen asleep and quickly woke up his Sunday NFL Countdown colleague. The 74-year-old stirred just in time to deliver his prediction for the Jets-Dolphins game, so no harm was done. Still, Ditka likely had to deal with some good-natured ribbing during the commercial break.
Ditka isn’t the first television personality to fall asleep during a live broadcast. In April 2012, college basketball coaching legend Bob Knight seemed to nod off during a segment of ESPN’s College GameDay, Larry Brown Sports notes.
More recently, prominent New York sports radio host Mike Francesa fell asleep during a live interview. A video of the incident showed Francesa slumping over onto his desk, only to wake up seconds later with a bewildered look on his face. At the time, Francesa vehemently denied that he had dozed off.
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A video of Ditka’s apparent nap on Sunday NFL Countdown can be viewed below.