Monday, December 6, 2010

Turn out the lights the party's over

I just got the terrible news that Dandy Don Meredith died after suffering a brain Hemorrhage. He was 72 years old, and died in Santa Fe New Mexico. They say that all good things must end.

Don was the original Cowboy quarterback. He was Craig Morton and Roger Staubach's forerunner. He was the Cowboy quarterback in the famous Ice Bowl, and an assortment of other Cowboy close-brushes with the Championship. Dandy Don’s entire career transpired before I was conscious of football. The Ice Bowl happened when I had just a few weeks in womb.

I knew Don Meredith as one of the big three on Monday Night Football. Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford were the other two. Dems was the best days dat ever was, or dats ever gonna be. The culture clash between Don Meredith's Texas quarterback cowboy-ism, and Howard's New York Jewish journalism school provided about 25,000 tons of entertainment. Frank was the straight guy who held it all together with a solid-vanilla play-by-play. He was a nice platform for the other two greats jump off. As many have said: Entertainment somehow managed to break loose from the chains that normally confine it.

Monday Night Football has never been the same since. Frankly, it's never been close. Now it’s just a game. Back then, it was an entertainment spectacle. Regardless of who was playing, you knew it was going to be fun. Sooner or later, Meredith and Cosell would unleash something classic. If you think Summerall and Madden were fun, you should have heard the old Monday Night gang. They were truly classic.

Back in those days Monday Night was mandatory. Now it is strictly optional. I may be interested or I may not. It depends on who is playing. I have missed 4 or 5 MNF games this season already. I will probably miss more. It just isn't a big deal now.

PC has taken over Fox, CBS, and NBC. ABC only does College ball, and they haven't been the same since Keith Jackson retired. Only the NFL Network seems to allow the commentators to flash some color, and play practical jokes on each other, as in the old days of MNF. This mostly involves Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin ribbing the hell out of each other, with Rich Eisen subtly weaving chaos in the background.

Jeff and Hazel's baby boy has been sorely missed for years now, and I am not happy to see him go.