Friday, May 05, 2006

Whoa Nelly!!

After being in the broadcast booth for almost 50 years, Keith Jackson has called it a career. He is most associated with college football, being ABC's voice of college football for more than the last quarter century. He had stepped away before, but returned to call west coast games for ABC. Then, last year, they convinced him to do the marquee matchups across the nation once again. His last game was the Rose Bowl - quite possibly one of the top five greatest college games of all time. Not a bad way to go out on top.

He is known for his folksy type of manner, and his arcane vernacular when talking about football. "Whoa Nelly!!", his signature excitement call, had a simple, yet perfect ring to it when he used it. He referred to offensive linemen as 'big uglies'. It was a down home approach to broadcasting, and it fit him perfectly. He hardly ever talked X's and O's - and left that for the color commentators. But he could paint a great picture of the game and the situation without over doing it with the X's and O's.

I often said that he had the best job in the world, and I wanted his job. He got to go around and call the BEST college football matchup of the week - and did so for over half of his life. Despite calling an Olympics, two World Series, and even being the first voice heard ever on a Monday Night Football game - he is, and will always be THE voice of college football.

In his statement announcing his final retirement, he said that he "looks forward to being the shop steward of the porch sitters union". Only a sentence like that could have come from Keith Jackson.


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