The clock is ticking down on an outstanding broadcasting career. Tom Jackson, a mainstay of ESPN’s NFL coverage for 29 years, is hanging ’em up. The former Denver Broncos star is retiring on the cusp of the 2016 NFL season; his final assignment at this weekend’s Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend in Canton, OH.
“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, who worked alongside Chris Berman for nearly three decades.
Jackson joined the Worldwide Leader in 1987, co-hosting its Sunday pregame show then known as NFL GameDay. Later that year, he and Berman teamed on NFL PrimeTime, which became a Sunday night staple until 2005. The show’s affable tone and the hosts’ unforced camaraderie helped drive PrimeTime to become the top-rated studio program on cable.
“Tom long ago became almost a brother to me,” Berman said. “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.’”
Jackson also has been part of ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show and its year-round NFL coverage. He also has been a strong voice on football topics and on broader social issues that often intersect with sports. He earned a Sports Emmy award as Outstanding Studio Analyst in 2009 and last year received the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.
“Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying,” Jackson said. “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.”