NFL analyst Tom Jackson has decided to retire from broadcasting, ending a 29-year career with ESPN. The Hall of Fame analyst has worked at ESPN since 1987. He will work one final assignment this weekend (August 6-7) at Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend in Canton, Ohio. The news was reported by ESPN Media Zone.
“I have been blessed in my adult life to work for two companies, the Denver Broncos and ESPN, to do two things that I love – play football and talk about football,” said Jackson.
He added: “Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying. The friendships made are too numerous to mention but I know that many of them will last a lifetime. I also want to thank all the fans who supported me over the years and made my job so enjoyable. This move just comes at a time when the priority of my life is spending time with my family.”
Jackson has been a steady presence alongside Chris Berman for nearly three decades. They have been one of sports television’s longest-running and most successful duos. During that time, the two men have teamed up to turn Sunday NFL Countdown into the most watched NFL pregame show (then NFL GameDay) on television. Jackson also worked with Berman on NFL PrimeTime for 19 years (1987-2005). PrimeTime was the preeminent NFL highlights show and the highest-rated studio program on cable television during its run.
ESPN President John Skipper said: “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.”
In 2015, Jackson was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the distinguished Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. He earned a Sports Emmy award as Outstanding Studio Analyst in 2009 and the Best Sports Analyst Cable Ace in 1996. He also helped Sunday NFL Countdown earn seven Sports Emmy awards for Outstanding Weekly Studio Show.
“Every day working with Tom was a treasure,” said Chris Berman. “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’.”