Don Meredith, who’s standout career as quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, was overshadowed by his post-football career as a broadcaster on ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” has died at 72 from a sudden brain hemorrhage.
Meredith, who helped the early Cowboys gain prominence during the 1960s, died in Santa Fe after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma, Meredith’s wife, Susan, told The Associated Press.
His condition was complicated by emphysema.
“He was the best there was,” she said, describing him as kind, warm and funny. “We lost a good one.”
In a revolutionary move for television, Meredith, Keith Jackson and lawyer turned sports commentator Howard Cosell launched “Monday Night Football” on ABC.
The game quickly became one of the premier sports contest and ushered in the era of celebrity and glamor in the NFL. His folksy asides were a counter to Cosell’s pontificating.
He retired in 1984, after Cosell left the Monday Night broadcast booth.
Meredith’s football career began with the Chicago Bears in 1960. He was traded to the Cowboys, then an expansion franchise, and took over the starting job as quarterback in 1965.
Meredith led the Cowboys to three straight division titles and consecutive NFL Championship games in 1966 and 1967. But the Cowboys lost both in classic matches against the Green Bay Packers of Vince Lombardi fame.
Meredith played for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1968. He was known for his flamboyance, but never won a Super Bowl. He threw for 17,199 yards and 111 touchdowns.
Meredith played quarterback for SMU, and was an All-America selection in 1958 and 1959.