Whoa Nellie! Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at 89
From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
For a generation of college football fans, an icon of an era has gone. Keith Jackson has died at 89.
The legendary voice of ABC Sports boomed as Paul “Bear” Bryant won his final two national championships in ’78 and ’79. He documented Bear’s 315th win to become college football’s biggest winner. He was there when Bo went over the top and Auburn ended a nine year Iron Bowl drought.
Jackson was the down-to-earth announcer that appealed to the common fan. His preparation for the teams he covered made it seem as if he covered them every week of the season. Fans appreciated his spot-on analysis as much as they appreciated what became known as his KJ-isms.
Jackson named the Rose Bowl the “Grandaddy of them all” and was the first to call Michigan Stadium the “Big House,” names that are still common decades later.
In 1987, Sports Illustrated chronicled some of Jackson’s most popular descriptions.
“Punts are ‘tail draggers,’ interior linemen are ‘big uglies down in the trenches,’ and any rainstorm of consequence is a ‘gully washer,'” William Taaffe wrote. “Running backs ‘canter’ into the end zone. High scoring teams don’t just ‘burn down the barn,’ they ‘take a couple of rows of the cornfield’ with them. The star linebacker just ‘pinned his ears back’ and ‘laid a few licks on folks.’ And as long as a team continues to ‘dodge the bullet,’ it figures to be ‘in the hunt.’ Some KJ-ologists insist that Jackson invented ‘in the hunt.'”
Funeral arrangements for Jackson have not yet been announced.