We had reported last week that ESPN's longtime NFL Sunday Countdown veteran, Tom Jackson, was leaving the network. Today it was confirmed.
After 29 years at the network, Jackson, one of the first NFL analysts hired by the network in 1987 after playing for 14 years in the NFL, Jackson has decided to hang up his mic this weekend after the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.
The longtime Bronco and Sunday Countdown analyst was an integral part of both teams. He was a three-time Pro Bowler as a player and also won the 2015 Pete Rozelle Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Behind the desk, Jackson was part of the award winning Sunday NFL Countdown team, winning seven Outstanding Studio Show - Weekly Sports Emmy awards (1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2007).
ESPN posted the following after Jackson announced his retirement:
“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,” Jackson said. “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.”
His team at ESPN had this to say:
Chris Berman, his NFL Countdown partner for 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’.”
Chris Mortenson, who 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.”