NFL analyst Tom Jackson announced today that he is retiring from broadcasting after 29 years at ESPN. He joined the company in 1987 as one of ESPN’s first NFL analysts after a 14-year playing career, all with the Denver Broncos.
A year ago, Jackson was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the prestigious Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for his longtime, exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. This weekend’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement in Canton, Ohio will mark his final ESPN appearance.
ESPN executives and co-workers share their thoughts on Jackson’s illustrious career:
ESPN President John Skipper:
“Tom has been an integral part of ESPN’s presentation of the NFL for three decades. His partnership with Chris Berman has been a signature for us and a treasure for fans. His influence as a trusted voice and mentor for the generation of players who followed him is an important part of his legacy. Tom is as widely respected internally as anyone in our company, not to mention beloved. He has been a pleasure to work with and he will always be an ESPN family member.”
ESPN NFL host Chris Berman, who has worked alongside Jackson for the past 29 years:
“Every day working with Tom was a treasure. I know every day he appeared on ESPN was a treasure for football fans. His knowledge, his passion, his insight and his overall ‘joie de vivre’ makes him special – in fact, makes him unique. I was lucky to spend 29 years of football weekends with him. In television that’s almost two lifetimes. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon were together for 31 years – enough said. . . Tom long ago became almost a brother to me. We completed each other’s sentences, listened to the same music, laughed together and sometimes cried together. Oh yes, we enjoyed football together. What was a day with Tom Jackson like? Like the Temptations sang, ‘I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day’.”
Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice President, Event and Studio Production, who worked with Jackson on Sunday NFL Countdown for more than a decade as the show’s senior coordinating producer and coordinating producer:
“Tom set the bar that all NFL analysts should strive to meet. His opinion and analysis made us smarter for 29 years. As good as he is in front of the camera, he is an even better person off camera. He is the kindest and most generous co-worker you could ever want.”
Seth Markman, ESPN senior coordinating producer of NFL studio shows:
“What has always stood out to me about Tom is his meticulous preparation. I have never seen anyone dedicate the time and effort into preparing for every segment of every show the way he does. He was also the first NFL analyst to really bring a social consciousness to pregame shows. NFL Sundays just won’t be the same without him.”
Chris Mortensen, ESPN senior NFL analyst, who has worked with Jackson since 1991:
“While we are going to miss Tom Jackson the colleague, nothing shakes the legacy he is leaving. He has been the greatest voice of reason in our medium. I am sad but I am glad that I gained something that will never be lost – a best friend who happens to be the best husband and father I know.”