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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 12/ 6/2010

Don Meredith dies; famed Cowboys QB was TV personality

By T. Rees Shapiro

Update: the full obituary for Don Meredith can be viewed here.

Don Meredith,72, a three-time NFL pro-bowl quarterback who played nine season with the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a television football analyst, has died.

He died last night at a hospital near his home in Santa Fe, N.M. He had emphysema and had suffered a stroke in 2004.

A native of Mount Vernon, Tex., he was a two-time All-American at Southern Methodist University before his professional career with the Cowboys on Nov. 28, 1959, before the team was officially part of the National Football League.

As a professional quarterback, Mr. Meredith threw for 17,199 yards and 135 touchdowns and retired at his prime at age 31 in 1969.

In 1970 Mr. Meredith became a commentator on "Monday Night Football" opposite Howard Cosell.


On the program, Mr. Meredith was referred to as "Dandy Don," a nickname from his playing days, and often sang Willie Nelson's "Turn out the lights, the party's over ..." when he determined a game was finished before time expired.'

Mr. Meredith still holds the record for the longest touchdown pass in Cowboys history: a 95-yarder to Bob Hayes against the Washington Redskins.

Please leave your memories or thoughts on Mr. Meredith's life and career below and check out The Posts's sports coverage here.

By T. Rees Shapiro  | December 6, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro  
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I remember Meredith for his standing tall next to Cosell and never feeling intimidated. Also, he did things his way w/o harm to anyone else. When he tired of the game, he left. When he tired of the t.v. gig, he left. It had nothing to do with personality issues, he just did things his way and good for him.

Thanks for the memories Don!

Posted by: familynet | December 6, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The real Monday Night Football broadcast crew was Cosell, Meredith and Gifford. Everything since is just a cheap imitation. RIP Dandy Don!

Posted by: randysbailin | December 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Meredith starred for the SMU Mustangs and was the first-ever Cowboy. He was a two-time All-American at SMU, earning the school the nickname Southern Meredith University.

He chose SMU "because it was close to home and easy to spell,"

Meredith became the starter his sophomore season at SMU against Texas, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Mustangs prevailed. Meredith led the nation in passing that season as the key component in a rather undisciplined offensive system reliant on his abilities as a playmaker.

On playing for Tom Landry: "He's such a perfectionist that if he were married to Dolly Parton he'd expect her to cook."

Posted by: wmikeburns | December 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

A great sense of humor. I lived in DC and was a Redskin fan. I watched Dandy Don play. You couldn't help but like him. RIP cowboy.

Posted by: kenobill2 | December 6, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Turn out the lights
The party's over
They say that
All good things must end
Call it tonight
The party's over
And tomorrow starts
The same old thing again....

Thank Dandy Don!

Posted by: oda155 | December 6, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

A great sense of humor. I lived in DC and was a Redskin fan. I watched Dandy Don play. You couldn't help but like him. RIP cowboy.

Amen Brother.

RIP Dandy Don. You were larger than life.

Posted by: boog44 | December 6, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

From a fan who grew up in Dallas, with the Cowboys, in the 1960s, and who has followed them ever since: Meredith was in many ways the greatest Cowboy, all things considered. He had talent and starpower. Most of all, he was tough, very tough. He played many seasons with multiple injuries, and never let out a peep of complaint. When he was unceremoniously dumped after the 1968 season, he never uttered a word. All class, all the time.

Posted by: eagle22 | December 6, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Dandy Don added an entertaining element to NFL game coverage, which today is certainly vacant with all the over the top stats, predictions, and never-ending commercials.

Posted by: JMG4 | December 6, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Growing up watching television in the 1970's the big three networks had these partnerships as their "A teams" on NFL broadcasts: Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier on CBS, Curt Gowdy and Al deRogatis on NBC (they gave way to Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen as the decade went on) and ABC's memorable Monday Night Football team of Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Most times I fell asleep before the game ended but I vividly remember Howard's "Halftime Highlights" recaps (this was before George Michael's "Sports Machine" and ESPN)and Dandy Don's off-key singing of "Turn Out the Lights" when a game was decided. Dandy Don is finally reunited with Humble Howard in broadcasting heaven, and Brookshier, Gowdy and Olsen are also welcoming him in with open arms. Thanks, Don, for all the memories... let's all raise a glass of Lipton Sun Tea in his honor.

Posted by: garnwalk | December 6, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Danderoo as H'ard used to call you. I'm a lifetime Skins fan, but you were a class act and a joy to watch on MNF.
I'll always remember your good-natured humor and classic putdowns of Cosell. RIP.

Posted by: alco5521 | December 6, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

If you want to know the true Dallas think of the Cowboys of the Don Meredith days, not the grassy knoll.

Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Don Perkins, Don Meredith - playing in the Cotton Bowl.

Even though it was a little ways from Mt Vernon, Meredith settled in Santa Fe after Perkins introduced him to NM and in that way he took some of home with him.

Posted by: AustinABD | December 7, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Oftentimes, what would happen was the Monday Night Football game was a dud.

But because of one of the legends of football, in Frank Gifford, the pomposity and character of Howard Cosell and the unequalled entertainment value of "Dandy Don" Meredith, ABC led the ratings wars for many years.

But most people forget that "Dandaroo" was a decent quarterback. Though he played nine years with the Cowboys, with 17,199 yards and 111 touchdowns, most of his playing time came in 1965, as a starter, through 1968, and one of the most memorable and record setting plays was his 95 yard pass to Bob Hayes against the Washington Redskins back in 1966.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | December 7, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I fondly recall that Raiders-Oilers game in the Astrodome, when, with the Raiders obliterating the Oilers, the camera panned to a guy sitting in an increasingly empty stadium, who saw the camera was on him and he "flipped the bird." Dandy Don then said, "Howard, he's telling us who's number one."

The other memorable Dandy Don remark was during a Redskin game on MNF when a play did not succeed and remembering that Nixon actually did give a play to George Allen, said, "Ol Tricky Dick will have to send in another play."

After Cosell, Gifford and Meridith left MNF, the game is now and has been of years---JUST ANOTHER NFL GAME ON A MONDAY NIGHT.

Posted by: ataridem | December 7, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

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