USC Morning Buzz: Legendary Broadcaster Keith Jackson Dies

Keith Jackson, perhaps the best-known college football announcer of all-time, died Friday evening. He was 89.

Jackson, who worked for ABC Sports for 40 years, coined such memorable phrases as “big uglies” (large linemen), “fum-blllllllllllllllle!” and “Whoa, Nelly!”  He is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl as “The Granddaddy of them All” and Michigan Stadium as “The Big House.”

Jackson also did many USC games. His final broadcast was the 2006 Rose Bowl between USC and Texas. Below, is the 1978 USC-Notre Dame game.

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  • Gabby

    As a broadcaster, he was the voice of college football. Over decades, I admired his charisma and wit. In memory of Mr. Jackson, I plan on watching the 2006 RB game. Arguably one of the greatest football games in modern football history

    RIP Keith Jackson

  • GOMER HELTON

    He was never bigger than the game, a true professional

    • Gabby

      I agree!

    • JustOwns

      Mr Jackson was the cherry on top of the The Rose Bowl Game.

  • Chris

    Games always felt bigger with Keith.

    • JustOwns

      Amen!

  • GOMER HELTON

    Was at that game, should never have come down to that FG

    • Gabby

      Hot dog vendor

  • USCDAN1986

    Worked with Keith on several projects.. A true icon in the sports world.. Will be missed! #RIPKeithJackson

    • gotroy22

      What was he like?

      • USCDAN1986

        Class act.. Was extremely nice ..

  • Saul Goodman

    When I think of USC at its highest highs, I hear Keith Jackson on the call

    • Eastern Ave.

      Same Here. Sad Day but it seems as though he had a great time while he was here. I know I enjoyed his work.
      The Lord bless his family…

      “…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
      All the days of my life;
      And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
      Forever.”
      Pslms 23

      • Linkster

        Nice!!

  • UCLA Dynasty

    He was the best. Voice of my youth along with Chick Hearn and Vin Scully. RIP Keith.

    • Chris

      Literally almost posted same thing word for word.

  • USC jojo

    Keith Jackson was my favorite college announcer and Curt Gowdy was my favorite NFL announcer.

    • Gabby

      When I think of the NFL, It’s John Madden and Howard Cosell for me

      • USC jojo

        There have been some good broadcast teams over the years. Madden was the best of the color commentators.

        • Pudly76

          Loved his six legged turkey…he could simplify football in a way everyone understood.

      • Jack B

        Pat Summerall for me. He could say more in fewer words than any man I ever heard.

        • USC jojo

          “Touchdown Dallas” is what I think of, when I think of Summerall. And I hated Dallas.

          • Jack B

            That is so perfect. Exactly! Two simple words that still ring in my NFL head. Then Tom Brookshier or John Madden would fill in the color and Summerall could bounce off anything perfectly.

            It’s an amazing talent some of these men have. I’d say Al Michaels took the mantel.

          • Sas

            I’ll be honest. I remember him saying “Touchdown Niners” a lot too. He called a lot of games from those two that’s for sure.

          • USC jojo

            Definitely. I remember the Dallas Cowboys under Laundry and Staubach the most.

            They had great games against the Redskins, back in the 70’s, but those Niner games were
            great games also, and better. Both teams were crossing paths in their dynasty years.

        • Gabby

          I forgot about him, another good one

  • Fred Sampson

    Wow… where have those physical USC football teams gone ? This is a classic video of what SC use to be , blow the opponents off the line of scrimmage, and matriculate the ball down field

    • Pudly76

      Sorry for you Fred, can’t even stop to recognize the death of an iconic figure in the history of college football..Really?

  • San Diego trojan

    He instantly added class and credibility to every broadcast, and did it by just saying enough to inform and entertain, but not trying to be bigger than the game. I used to watch games, not normally interested in, because he was doing the telecast. Rest In Peace Mr Jackson. Thank you

  • rusoviet

    I loved that voiceover-video he did for that first Gatoraid ad back in the early 80’s. The brilliant producer of the ad used the Spencer Davis Group’ ‘Gimme Some Lovin” in the background as the players were playing and then the old coaches talking about the FL Gators effort in the 2nd half with Jackson’s final “…and the rest was history!”

    If you go to wikipedia and look up the 1967 USC/UCLA game jackson is quoted as saying it was the best game he ever witnessed or announced.

    • Pudly76

      Excellent!!

    • USCDAN1986

      “WHOA NELLY”

  • JustOwns

    Keith Jackson never got old; he was the best CFB game announcer in my lifetime.

  • Jack B

    Keith Jackson, one of the all-time giants, always seemed like kind of a Trojan honk to me. You could tell he liked to see the Trojans do well and he had enormous respect for McKay’s and Robinson’s style of play. I loved that, having the best in the business in your corner, just a wee bit, almost imperceptible. Jim Murray was the same way about Trojan football in print.

  • Linkster

    Sad day. He was the best. Genuine humility. Good guy. Never met him but had a friend who did. Class act. He was college football for 30years. RIP Keith.

    • Jack B

      I met Jim Murray one time. I was stunned he actually talked with me for a minute. It was almost surreal, looking at those big thick-lensed black glasses a couple of feet from my face. He had no airs about him, absolutely. Many of the great ones are very humble.

      • Linkster

        Murray by far was the best sports writer ever IMO. I was a kid and I looked forward to reading his column. Some of the folks that pose as sportswriters now couldn’t carry Murray’s jock a foot (i.e.. the blogger). He was a legend and as you say, a humble and genuine person.

        • Jack B

          “Gentlemen, start your coffins…”

      • Bob Pace

        I got to meet John Hall once at a USC event. So incredibly nice. We spoke of Murray and Mud and LA sports. Such a great conversation we had. Brings a smile even as I am typing this.

  • Jack B

    And now, we take a look at your Eagle starters:

    Nelson Agholor – Southern Cal

    Mike Garrett would have hated that.

    • Pudly76

      Rasheem Green going pro.

  • Old Trojans never die

    Keith Jackson was a professional in almost every sense of the word. To illustrate I quote from him, “being a graduate of Washington State University, I have no love for the USC Trojans, however the 1972 Trojan team was one of the best college teams I have ever seen.”

    • JustOwns

      Keith Jackson: “I want to be remembered as a good ol’ boy who married a gorgeous lady [Turi Ann Jackson] and we had a great life together.”

  • Sas

    You would think he was a Trojan fan or alumn because he had so much respect and knowledge of Trojan football, but still kept it down the middle by letting us know when we weren’t having a good day.

  • Audrey Van Smack

    Nobody even close to Keith Jackson, especially at the college level. Amazing how his broadcast would match the intensity of the game & the crowd. RIP Mr. Jackson, you made many Saturdays for us all.

  • timmay

    He was THE greatest announcer of CFB and always came across as a true gentleman. The PAC 12 really needs to find voices like him. Southerners often have a way with language, and that, combined with his unassuming good nature on the air and obvious knowledge, love of the game (and all that surrounds it) and familiarity with the PAC 12 really worked. He made the game an event – it was about the game not him and he never tried to hard, and that gave the conference more legitimacy, to have someone who could do that. I really think it’s the sort of thing that the conference needs to look for though it will never be him.

    (It would help to create some more major bowls or get some tie ins and upgrade the bowls and celebration, so the conference has some new folks to give us decades to hopefully have an announcer or two who’s got a little spark of our old friend in them.)

    God Bless and Keep Him.