The Voice of Autumn Has Died
I grew up in Illinois - lived all over the state. Football day was Sunday. Why? Well, there were "the Monsters of the Midway", the Chicago Bears. They annihilated the pre-Belichickian Patriots in the Super Bowl; Sweetness, Butkus, Papa Bear. On the flip side, Northwestern, Chicago's Big Ten team, lost 33 games in a row back in the 70's. Illinois wasn't much better. The directional schools, we didn't matter.
Then, I moved to Michigan. I lived on the west side of Kalamazoo. If you drove down my street in September and October, you'd see all sorts of school colors flying, attached to the garage. Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State. You'd even see an Ohio State flag, once in a while. Also, the Lions weren't particularly good. (Some things never change, do they?)
And if you flipped on a TV set on a Saturday in the fall to ABC, you'd hear that voice. There was nothing like it. I dare you to watch this video and not get chills.
The phrase "Whoa, Nellie", is what many fans remember, but reading through some obituaries, Jackson is also credited with calling Michigan Stadium "The Big House".
Some might not know he was the original play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football in 1970. It was a different world back then. If you grew up in a 500 channel world, you don't realize how big a deal MNF was back then.
The thing about Jackson was, he never made himself bigger than the game. He set the stage, then painted the picture. And with words, he was a true master.
And there was that game. That annual game, right after Thanksgiving. The final game of the season, And it mattered, mattered a little more, in fact. Who are we kidding. It was the only game that mattered. Same as now, with Keith Jackson to make the call. Hard to think of anyone better.