Post image for Legendary broadcaster Don Meredith,  dies at 72

Legendary broadcaster Don Meredith, dies at 72

by Derrick Johnson on December 7, 2010

Don Meredith, the longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback and pioneer of Monday Night Football, passed away at the age of 72 on Sunday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. The three-time Pro Bowl selection had weathered numerous health problems in recent years, including a stroke in 2004 and an ongoing battle with emphysema.

Though he made a name for himself by laying the groundwork for the Cowboy's success in the 1970s, he is perhaps best known as a member of the inaugural Monday Night Football broadcasting crew. Along with the sharp-tongued Howard Cossell and Frank Gifford, Meredith lent a touch of humor to the broadcast, and retired from the booth in 1984 following his calling of Super Bowl XIX.

Meredith is remembered for his fun-loving approach to calling the the game. Verne Lundquist, one of sports' most seasoned play-by-play announcers, says that the way Meredith used humor and created dialogue has been influential to the way crews call games even 25 years later.

"Football was entertainment to Don," he told the Houston Chronicle. "Anything else would have been extraneous to the show. I don't want to dismiss his knowledge of football, but ABC encouraged him to be an entertainer, and he was."

Meredith was born not too far from where he would spend all of his eight-year NFL career, in Mount Vernon, Texas. He also played college football at nearby SMU, where he was drafted in 1960. He got the starting gig in 1963 and in 1966 he began a string of four straight postseason appearances, including the now-legendary 1967 NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, now known as the "Ice Bowl." He still maintains the Cowboys record for most passing yards in a single game, which he set with a 460 yard performance against the San Francisco 49ers in 1963.

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