Turn out the lights the party's over....
They say that all good things must end.
Willie Nelson wrote the song, Dandy Don Meredith made it famous. Now the lights have gone out for Meredith. He's gone on to that big point after in the sky at age 72.
Monday Night Football was the must watch TV back when we were kids. Back before cable, the internet, and the NFL Package. We got two or three games on Sunday, then the highlight of the week... MNF! The first sportscasters I can remember are Dandy Don, Howard Cosell, and Frank Gifford.
Giff played the straight play-by-play man. Cosell was the overbearing, arrogant, know-it-all, and Dandy Don was the fun loving rascal that kept Cosell's ego in check while partying every Monday night. I'm guessing Roone Arledge was the genius that put Meredith and Cosell in the booth together. Try and imagine listening to Howard without Dandy Don there to keep him slightly in check. Ugh.
I wish I had been a little older because I'm sure some of Don's jokes and references were more adult oriented and just went over my head. I don't remember this, but the story goes that Don's first game in the MNF booth (a tryout during a pre-season game) was a Cleveland Browns game. This was 1970, 1971 or so. Cleveland had a WR named Fair Hooker (no joke) one of the other announcers said "Fair Hooker" Don said, "I've never met one." He was hired on the spot, and the rest is history.