December 6, 2010
Don Meredith: What they're saying
"Don Meredith was one of the most colorful characters in NFL history. He was star on the field who became an even bigger star on television. He brought joy to football fans, from his play in historic NFL games like the Ice Bowl to his great personality that helped launch the success of Monday Night Football."
-- Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
"Many deserve credit for making Monday Night Football into an incredible fan experience that has endured for decades and Dandy Don Meredith is one of them. I was privileged to work with him and will miss his humor, insight and charm."
-- Bob Iger, President and CEO Walt Disney Company
"Don Meredith was a true legend, whose disarming style and quick wit helped him successfully transition from star NFL quarterback to broadcasting legend. He helped launch Monday Night Football on ABC in 1970 and his contributions over the next decade helped transform sports television's signature series into a cultural icon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Susan, and the entire Meredith family."
-- George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports; Co-chairman, Disney Media Networks
"Don Meredith was a Dallas Cowboys original. His wit, charm, and strength of personality were matched only by his wonderful leadership, toughness and athletic skill. His persona defined the Cowboys of the 1960s and set the course for what the franchise became. Throughout 50 years of history, the Cowboys legacy has been built by dynamic and colorful personalities who could also compete at the highest level. No one fit that description better than Don Meredith.
"After guiding this team from expansion franchise to title contender, his charismatic style helped build Monday Night Football to a level of popularity that was unprecedented for sports television in America. Few men have contributed, both on the field and as a broadcaster, to the impact that the NFL currently has on our country today more than Don."
-- Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner
"He did it without as much help as some of the other guys had. Our offensive line was not very good early on. He got beat up pretty bad -- broken noses and collarbones and ribs, everything you can think of, Don had it. But he was one tough individual. He played with many an ailment and injury, and was very, very competitive. He and Bob Hayes really set the standard for the wide-open offense, the motion guys and big plays."
-- Lee Roy Jordan, former Cowboys player
"Don Meredith was a huge part of what has made Monday Night Football so special. His approach, attitude and love of football came thought in every broadcast. Just the phrase, "Turn out the lights, the party's over" makes any football fan watching in the 70s and early 80s break out in a smile. He was one of a kind and helped make Monday night's magical. For any of us who have had Monday Night Football as a part of our life, it is a sad day."
-- Mike Tirico, current play-by-play voice, Monday Night Football
"I had the pleasure of meeting Don a few times. He was a guy I admired as much as anyone, both as a player and as an analyst. His great work inspired me to always be prepared and to have fun doing it. He loved what he did and it always showed. We're going to miss him.'"
-- Ron Jaworski, current analyst, Monday Night Football
"I used to sneak downstairs and watch Don and Monday Night Football when I was supposed to be asleep in bed growing up. He was special. Those crews had a lot of fun together and I always loved hearing him sing, 'Turn out the lights, the party's over.' "
-- Jon Gruden, current analyst, Monday Night Football
"Don Meredith was a television pioneer who made pro football real, even for non-football fans. I can't remember watching a Monday Night Football telecast, and I've seen a few, where Dandy Don failed to make me smile."
-- Chris Berman, ESPN NFL studio host
Executive Vice President of Elias Sports Bureau Steve Hirdt, the Director of Information for MNF since 1982 who worked three seasons with Meredith on ABC: "Don was present at the launch of two great NFL institutions: the Dallas Cowboys in 1960, and Monday Night Football in 1970. Don's style, wit and commentary helped put Monday Night into the public consciousness in the early years. I had enjoyed him as a viewer for years, but it wasn't until I started working on the show that I learned that he was a whole lot smarter than he liked to portray himself on television. Don would use information I provided by prefacing it with, 'Well, I don't know how I know this, but...' He helped Monday Night Football get off to a great start and the show wouldn't be what it is today without his influence. We're going to miss him."
-- Steve Hirdt, Executive Vice President of Elias Sports Bureau/Director of Information for MNF