Sad day for sports fans everywhere, as we found out that LEGENDARY broadcaster Keith Jackson has passed away, at the age of 89.
Keith was a PRO broadcaster, having covered sports from Auto Racing to the Olympics…and everything in between. He was known mostly for his college football work, bringing his distinctive voice and folksy charm into the homes of millions of Americans every Saturday.
Personally, I distinctly remember my first experiences listening to Keith. My dad would get home from work on a Saturday, put on the late afternoon game, and from the first time on, I would hear that easily recognizable voice, filling the kitchen…we had a TV in the kitchen…with cable…no big deal.
Keith was such a fixture in College Football that when he wanted to slow down in his later years, they made it so that he never had to leave the West Coast…he could choose which games he wanted to call. That’s some respect.
Keith had some serious style on his broadcasts, too. Viewers would find themselves waiting for him to bust out a “WHOA NELLY”, or to describe the “6 foot 2 fullback from Aaaaalll-a-BAMA”. But while he could come at you with sizzle, he was never the focal point…always knew when to let the action speak for himself.
This clip…which everyone has seen a million times, perfectly sums up the Keith Jackson experience for me.
Did you catch that he says “Hello Heisman” when Dez is at the 5 yard line…he didn’t know the iconic pose was going to come. He just perfectly captured the moment in his natural way…and fucking NAILED IT. Then he got the hell out of the way, letting the pose and celebration speak for itself.
This is perfection….they should teach a class at broadcasting school just based on that call.
That was Keith Jackson in a nutshell. Even when he walked away from the sport, it was classy and understated. Not long after he called one of the greatest games of All-Time, Texas-USC at the 2006 Rose Bowl, he released a statement that he was going to become “Shop Steward of the International Porch Sitters Union”. No buildup, no countdown, no farewell tour.
And now he leaves us all, at the age of 89.