Eminem’s Awkward ESPN “Saturday Night Football” Appearance Explained

Eminem’s Awkward ESPN “Saturday Night Football” Appearance Explained

After shocking fans by appearing on ESPN’s “Saturday Night Football” over the weekend, details on what led to Eminem’s awkward presence on the sports network have surfaced.

According to reports, Slim Shady’s appearance on a “Saturday Night Football” broadcast and his music being played throughout the day were planned months in advance.

So how did Eminem end up on ESPN’s college football telecast Saturday night? Five months ago, ESPN Music Director (yes, the Empire has one) Kevin Wilson told Bill Bonnell, the executive producer of ESPN’s Saturday Night Football package, that Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, was interested in getting involved with the show, timed to the release of a new Eminem song. Bonnell then met with Rosenberg in New York City, where Rosenberg played him a single called “Berzerk.” “It sounded like something that would be a great song to open up Saturday night football,” Bonnell said. So a partnership was made and last Thursday, ESPN shot its opener featuring the song. (The ESPN opener will debut next Saturday for its coverage of Notre Dame-Purdue.) During the shooting, Bonnell said Rosenberg offered ESPN the opportunity to play a teaser to Eminem’s official “Berzerk” video. “I told him that we were doing Notre Dame and Michigan on Sept. 7 near Eminem’s hometown and asked if he thought Marshall [Mathers] would stop by to talk about the shoot and the debut of the “Berzerk” song.” (Sports Illustrated)

Slim Shady also purposely intended to give viewers an awkward sight by going into his “Berzerk” personality rather than being himself during the brief Q&A.

Bonnell said what viewers did not immediately recognize was that Eminem took on the persona of his Berzerk character in the video. “He was just messing with everyone,” Bonnell said. “We had no idea he would do that, but if you see the music video, it’s him looking into the camera and doing a throwback to the ’80s. You clearly saw after the video was over, he became Marshall Mathers again. He was goofing around.” As for the on-air love affair between Eminem and Musburger, Bonnell said Rosenberg told him months ago that Musburger was a hero to Eminem. “He really likes those old-school announcers like John Madden, Al Michaels, Brent Musburger, and Pat Summerall,” Bonnell said. “One of the first things Paul Rosenberg said to me was ‘Do you think it’s possible for us to get Brent Musburger’s autograph for Marshall?’ I was like, Are you kidding me?” (Sports Illustrated)

Since Em appeared on the broadcast, he has caught heat for the uncomfortable setting he created.

To help promote the rapper’s new single and video, “Berzerk,” he visited ESPN hosts Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit on their live show. The promotional stunt may have backfired, though, as Eminem delivered a downright bizarre appearance, seeming slightly confused, with blank, staring eyes and his mouth hanging open. He then proceeded to tell the hosts that “nothing” about his forthcoming new album “Marshall Mathers LP 2? excites him. “I’ll probably be most excited to just be done with it,” he said. The rapper eventually seemed to relax, as Musburger asked him questions about his music, the likelihood of his song becoming the theme for “Saturday Night Football” and the Detroit native was able to talk about his love of the Detroit Lions. Eminem then noted the rather obvious understatement, “Live TV freaks me out a little bit.” (TIME)

The Grammy-winning rap star premiered his “Berzerk” music video early Monday afternoon.

Eminem released a music video for his new single “Berzerk” this afternoon, and featured in the video is a slew of celebrity guests such as Kendrick Lamar, Rick Rubin, Slaughterhouse, and Kid Rock. In true Eminem style, he leads off his album with a fun kind of kooky single that may not even sound like anything else from the rest of the album. The exception was his last album, which led off with the serious and inspiring “Not Afraid.” The video is even a classic look for Eminem as he goes back to his Slim Shady days where his hair was dyed blond. He brings back the familiar whiny and playful flow on the song. Recently Eminem’s rapping has been a lot more aggressive. (Christian Post)

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Check out Eminem’s “Saturday Night Football” appearance:

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