Original 'Monday Night Football' Broadcaster Don Meredith Dies at 72

Don Meredith - 1981
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He played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-68 and became the starting quarterback in 1965.

Don Meredith, one of the most recognizable figures of the early Dallas Cowboys and an original member of ABC’s Monday Night Football broadcast team, died Sunday in Santa Fe, N.M., after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma. He was 72.

Meredith’s wife, Susan, told The Associated Press on Monday that she and her daughter were at Meredith’s side when he died.

Meredith played for the expansion Cowboys from 1960-68, becoming the starting quarterback in 1965. Just two years after retiring from the NFL, Meredith joined Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell in the broadcast booth as part of the MNF crew.

One of the first athletes to make the transition from the field to job as color analyst, Meredith quickly became one of the most popular broadcasters in sports because of his folksy sayings and country humor. His signature call was singing the Willie Nelson song "The Party's Over" when it appeared a game’s outcome had been determined.

“Dandy Don” left ABC after the 1973 season for a three-year stint at NBC. He returned to the MNF crew in 1977 before retiring in 1984, one year after Cosell left the team.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Meredith appeared in several TV shows and movies after his playing career ended. He had a recurring role in NBC’s Police Story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.