‘Dandy Don’ Meredith’s Legacy Stretched Well Beyond His Days on the Football Field
Long before "Dandy" Don Meredith became a household name in millions of American homes as a member of the Monday Night Football broadcast team, he got his start in football at Mount Vernon High School.
In the mid 1950s, Meredith's impact stretched far beyond the confines of the small Northeast Texas town. Despite being recruited by Texas A&M and the legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, Meredith took his talents to the "Hilltop" at SMU.
As the starting quarterback for the Mustangs from 1957-59, Meredith led the Southwest Conference in completion percentage for three consecutive seasons. He was an All-America selection in both 1958 and 1959.
Meredith didn't have to move very far to begin his professional career. The expansion Dallas Cowboys took a chance on the local kid, and the rest was history.
On his way to earning a spot in the Cowboys' famed Ring of Honor, Meredith was named the NFL Player of the Year in 1966 and made the Pro Bowl three times.
Meredith also played in one of the most talked-about games in the history of the league, the 1967 NFL championship game against the Green Bay Packers, more commonly referred to as the "Ice Bowl."
"Dandy Don" retired after the 1969 season, but he became even more popular during his post-playing career.
In 1970, Meredith joined ABC's Monday Night Football broadcast team along with Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell. Over the next decade-plus, Meredith provided the comic relief and became known for singing "Turn out the lights, the party's over" when the game's outcome was no longer in doubt.
Meredith not only put Mount Veron on the map, he set the standard for quarterbacking "America's Team" and made millions of Americans laugh on Mondays -- no easy feat.
Meredith died on Dec. 5, 2010, at the age of 72.