Sports TV Director Sandy Grossman Dies at 78

CBS Sports
Sandy Grossman

The eight-time Emmy winner was known for his collaborations with John Madden and Pat Summerall on NFL games.

Legendary TV sports director Sandy Grossman has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 78.

The eight-time Emmy winner directed 21 seasons of NFL coverage fronted by analyst John Madden and play-by-play man Pat Summerall for CBS and Fox. He came to Fox from CBS with Madden and Summerall for the 1994 season, when Fox first got NFC rights -- a major boon for the network.

Grossman directed a record 10 Super Bowls -- seven for CBS and three for Fox -- five Stanley Cup Finals for Fox and 18 NBA Finals for CBS during his career. 

PHOTOS: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014

"The key to anything is 'What does the viewer want to see?' " Grossman said in a 2011 interview with the Palm Beach Post. "It's not just what I want to show. Somebody out there is an aficionado of the sport and I didn't want to offend them. I always made a point to treat every event I did like it was the Super Bowl because, for them, it is."

Grossman worked with Madden and Summerall for 21 years. "How many guys can say that? It was an unbelievable experience." They were three of about 20 staffers who moved from CBS to Fox as a result of the four-year $1.58 billion deal in 1994.

He earned an Emmy for directing the 1980 Super Bowl and other statues for events such as the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Winter Games, where he directed hockey for CBS in Albertville and Lillehammer, respectively.

Grossman also served as lead director for the NHL on Fox, having teamed with play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick and analyst John Davidson for five years.

Fox Sports president and COO Eric Shanks said Grossman was "part of the original heart and soul of Fox Sports."

"He was a brilliant director and a thoughtful colleague," he said. "He mentored many of us here and throughout the sports TV industry, and we learned more from him than he could imagine. On behalf of everyone at Fox Sports, we extend our deepest condolences to Sandy’s family who are in our thoughts and prayers. He'll be greatly missed."

Added CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus: "Sandy is as much a part of the great tradition and heritage of CBS Sports as anyone."

Grossman was born in Newark, N.J., and lived most recently in Boca Raton, Fla. He joined CBS Sports in 1963 after studying broadcasting and graduating from the University of Alabama in 1957. He also spent two years as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps before beginning his broadcasting career.