Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Monday Night Football broadcast legend Don Meredith has died at the age of 72.
The Dallas Morning News reports Meredith died Sunday at a hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He had battled emphysema and suffered a minor stroke in 2004.
Nicknamed “Dandy Don,” Meredith was a two-time All-American at SMU before playing for the Cowboys from 1960-68. He led the Cowboys from the drudgery of expansion in 1960 to NFL title games in 1966 and ’67 before retiring at the age of 31.
Meredith was a member of the original Monday Night Football broadcast crew in 1970 and teamed with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, who replaced original play-by-play man Keith Jackson in 1971, to form one of the most-heralded trios in sportscasting history. Meredith often traded barbs with Cosell and would sing “Turn out the lights, the party’s over” once a game’s outcome was decided.
An original Cowboy, Meredith threw for 17,199 yards and 111 touchdowns during his nine-year career. He led the Cowboys to division titles in 1966, ’67 and ’68, earning NFL Player of the Year honors in 1966. The Cowboys lost NFL title games to the Packers in both 1966 and ’67, the latter of which is widely known as the “Ice Bowl” in Green Bay.
The Cowboys inducted Meredith into their Ring of Honor in 1976.
“Don Meredith was a Dallas Cowboys original,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a statement. “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.
“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.”
Meredith spent four years with ABC’s Monday Night Football before a three-year run at NBC. He then rejoined the MNF crew in 1977 and remained in the booth until 1984.