Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dies at 89


But in the college football booth is where Jackson sounded most at home. "They are 14-0. And they are the national champions of college football".

Jackson's career started in the early 1950s and he worked in college football all the way until the mid-2000s. He also was the lead play-by-play announcer for the USFL during its short run, calling all three championship games along with other broadcasts on ABC.

In 1964, he moved to ABC Radio West as sports director and continued freelance work with ABC Sports before becoming full-time in 1966. In addition, he was the first play-by-play announcer in "Monday Night Football" history when the NFL program debuted in 1970. He was replaced the next year by Frank Gifford. His words were woven into the fabric of college football, his passion into the DNA of the sport.

The last game he called is considered by many the greatest college game of all time.

Similar to his recently deceased broadcasting colleague Dick Enberg, Jackson defined versatility.

Several of his trademark phrases survived his retirement, and now will survive him. Linemen who were lucky enough to get an in-person audience lit up when he called them "big uglies".

In 2013, the Southern California News Group named Jackson No. 1 on the list of Top 10 Rose Bowl personalities.

Many people across the country paid their respect to one of the greatest sports broadcasters of all time.

Fans who now are young might well write moving, nostalgic tributes to them some day in the future.

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"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football", Bob Iger, the Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, told ESPN. A couple of years later, Broyles became Jackson's partner every week for the big game.

Simple, yes, but the way Jackson did it, profound, as well, his style beloved in such a way, to such a degree that - admit it - even you have a Keith Jackson impression.

It wasn't just his voice that captured the ears and hearts of American sports fans but the unforgettable things he said and the unique ways he used to get them across to us. NASCAR? Formula One? Boxing? The series ended in the Astrodome with a dramatic, 16-inning victory in Game 6 by the Mets.

But it all seemed beside the point on Saturday.

Today's college football broadcasters paid tribute to Jackson on social media. "When I was a boy, we didn't have all this pro stuff", he said in 2009. That was for the big cities in the north.

The teams put on a show that reminded us why college football, for all its warts, is so captivating.

His 'Whoa, Nelly!' exclamation was orrowed from his great-grandfather, a farmer, the phrase was also part of a commercial Jackson did for Miller Lite in the mid-'90s.

So that apparently is who Jackson often thought of when he watched college football.