ESPN personality Tom Jackson is retiring.
The long-time broadcaster announced this week that after 29 years with the worldwide leader in sports he is calling it a career. He joined the network in 1987 as one of its first NFL analysts. This was following a successful 14-year career as a member of the Denver Broncos. His final assignment will be this weekend August 6th – 7th at the annual NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.
Jackson was has only praise for ESPN and all that supported him throughout his career on and off the field in a statement released this week.
“I have been blessed in my adult life to work for two companies, the Denver Broncos and ESPN, to do two things that I love—play football and talk about football. Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying. The friendships made are too numerous to mention but I know that many of them will last a lifetime. I also want to thank all the fans who supported me over the years and made my job so enjoyable. This move just comes at a time when the priority of my life is spending time with my family.”
Throughout his career, Jackson has worked on a number of its football-based programs beginning with the then NFL GameDay—now NFL Countdown. Later that same year he and fellow ESPN veteran Chris Berman became partners on ESPN’s NFL Primetime. Jackson would go on to spend the next 19 years (1987 – 2005) on Sunday nights. During his time on the program it went on to become the leading NFL highlights show and highest-rated studio program on cable.
Berman was upbeat in recalling his memories working with Jackson. “Every day working with Tom was a treasure,” he said. I know every day he appeared on ESPN was a treasure for football fans. His knowledge, his passion, his insight, and his overall joie de vivre makes him special – in fact, makes him unique. I was lucky to spend 29 years of football weekends with him. In television that’s almost two lifetimes. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon were together for 31 years – enough said. “Tom long ago became almost a brother to me. We completed each other’s sentences, listened to the same music, laughed together and sometimes cried together. Oh yes, we enjoyed football together. What was a day with Tom Jackson like? Like the Temptations sang, ‘I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day’.”
Along with his time on ESPN’s Sunday night NFL programming he also spent some time as part of the network’s Monday Night Countdown NFL pre-game broadcast and the network’s other NFL programming throughout the year. That other programming includes coverage of the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Raft and Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement. In 2006 he worked as part of ABC’s broadcast team for Super Bowl XL’s pre-game broadcast.
Similar praise has come from others at ESPN including ESPN President John Skipper. “Tom has been an integral part of ESPN’s presentation of the NFL for three decades. His partnership with Chris Berman has been a signature for us and a treasure for fans,” Skipper said. “His influence as a trusted voice and mentor for the generation of players who followed him is an important part of his legacy. Tom is as widely respected internally as anyone in our company, not to mention beloved. He has been a pleasure to work with and he will always be an ESPN family member.”
There is currently no word on the search for Jackson’s replacement. More information on that and all of the latest NFL headlines is available online now at:
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