ESPN, the home of the former ABC-branded Monday Night Football, will honor former booth announcer Don Meredith Monday night.
Chris Berman will voice a tribute to the former sports commentator and Dallas Cowboys quarterback during the Monday Night Countdown pre-game show as well as at halftime of the game. Meredith died Dec. 5 at age 72.
Mike Tirico, who along with analysts Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden round out the current MNF on-air team, will also interview Meredith's former booth-mate Frank Gifford. The late Howard Cosell rounded out the initial announcers/ analysts for the NFL's first primetime showcase.
"Don Meredith was a huge part of what has made Monday Night Football so special," said Tirico. "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.... For any of us who have had Monday Night Football as a part of our life, it is a sad day."
"I had the pleasure of meeting Don a few times," said Jaworski, also a former quarterback. "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."
Those were among a series of tributes ESPN sent out Monday afternoon. "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," said Walt Disney President/CEO Bob Iger.
"Don Meredith was a true legend, whose disarming style and quick wit helped him successfully transition from star NFL quarterback to broadcasting legend," added ESPN president George Bodenheimer. "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."