Legendary college football announcer Keith Jackson, 89, died on Friday, leaving a legacy that will be almost impossible to replicate.
Jackson — who coined phrases such as “Whoa, Nellie!” and “We’ve got a fumble” — was the definitive voice of college football for a generation, especially throughout his career at ABC: You can still hear “The Granddaddy of ’em all” bellowing into the microphone before the Rose Bowl Game, or his monologue when Bear Bryant passed Amos Alonzo Stagg for the most wins in college football history.
Jackson was a part of so many memorable college football moments, and it’s worth reliving today more than ever.
Here are just a few to choose from:
“Guman! He didn’t make it!”
When: Jan. 1 1979
What: 1979 Sugar Bowl between No. 1 Penn State and No. 1 Alabama
Setup: Jackson called Alabama’s legendary goal-line stand in its 14-7 victory against Penn State in the 1979 Sugar Bowl. Jackson sets it up perfectly: “Nineteen-game win streak, only undefeated team in the country, ranked No. 1 in the nation, Alabama ranked No. 2. Everything could be hanging on fourth-and-goal with a half a yard.” He let the crowd do the rest.
When: Jan. 1, 1982
What: 1982 Sugar Bowl between No. 2 Georgia and No. 10 Pittsburgh
Setup: Jackson called Dan Marino’s game-winning touchdown against Georgia in the 1982 Sugar Bowl. “Brown, touchdown! John Brown makes a great catch with 35 seconds to play!”
“The kick is up, it’s long enough … it is good!”
When: Nov. 30, 1985
What: 1985 Iron Bowl between No. 7 Auburn and unranked Alabama
Setup: Jackson called “The Kick” at the 1985 Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn in the Crimson Tide’s 25-23 upset. You can hear Jackson’s voice tick up as he screams “It’s good!” as Van Tiffin’s 52-yard kick sails through the uprights.
When: Nov. 23, 1991
What: 1991 meeting between No. 4 Michigan and No. 18 Ohio State
Setup: Michigan’s Desmond Howard ran a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State, which he capped with the iconic “Heisman Pose.” Jackson, in sync, delivered the immortal phrase: “Hellooooo, Heisman.”
“Teague’s got the ball!”
When: Jan. 1, 1993
What: 1993 Sugar Bowl between No. 1 Miami and No. 2 Alabama
Setup: Jackson was on the call when Alabama’s George Teague chased down Miami’s Lamar Thomas in the Sugar Bowl and stripped the ball from his arms in an eventual 34-13 win for the Tide.
“The ball’s up in the air. … Caught! Touchdown!”
When: Sept. 24, 1994
What: 1994 meeting between No. 4 Michigan and No. 7 Colorado
Setup: Yep, Jackson was on call for Kordell Stewart’s last-second Hail Mary as Colorado got a 27-26 victory for the Big House at Michigan.
“Hold the phone. …”
When: Jan. 3, 2003
What: 2003 Fiesta Bowl between No. 1 Miami and No. 2 Ohio State
What: Jackson seamlessly transitioned from celebration to the recognition of a defensive holding call in the first overtime of the BCS championship game between Miami and Ohio State, all part of the 31-24 double-overtime thriller.
“Fourth-and-5, the national championship on the line right here.”
When: Jan. 4, 2006
What: 2006 Rose Bowl Game between No. 1 USC and No. 5 Texas
What: It’s fitting that Jackson’s last call was in one of the greatest college football games of all time. He was on hand for the No. 1-vs.-No. 2 showdown between USC and Texas in the Rose Bowl, capped with Vince Young’s fourth-and-5 scramble into the end zone in th 41-38 shootout.