Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turn Out the Lights, the Party’s Over – RIP Joseph Donald “Dandy Don” Meredith

Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation. – Mark Twain

Another NFL great has passed. Don Meredith was a former NFL All Pro quarterback and member of the famous Cowboy Ring of Honor that played in the Ice Bowl and helped create the culture of winning that still surrounds the Dallas Cowboys. Then, he did what I really remember him for. Being one of “the voices” of Monday Night Football.

Monday Night Football is now an American institution. It’s hard to imagine the NFL without it. However, that isn’t always the way it was. When the fledgling endeavor began, it was Dandy Don and Howard Cosell (imo) that really helped launch the brand and make it memorable. MNF has never since been able to achieve the level of entertainment and chemistry in the booth that they had then. Dandy Don remembered it was a game after all and the telecast should be entertaining. Boy, were they ever.

I recall a time when the camera crew caught a fan in the Astrodome “giving a single (middle) finger salute” while the Oilers were whipped by the Raiders. Dandy Don quickly quipped, “He thinks they’re number 1 in the nation”. I’ll never forget his comical renditions of the Willie Nelson song, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over” at the end of each Monday night game.

Dandy Don was a homegrown Texas product and no one could mistake him for anything else. He was down to Earth, sincere, witty, charming, and almost always funny. Watching MNF last night, I thought to myself, what a contrast Don and Howard were to today’s rather bland (except Gruden) bunch – they sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

I remember the first time after he became an announcer that Dallas played on Monday night. He tried not to root for the Cowboys, but he just couldn't help himself.