Brent Musburger: Wikis


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Brent Musburger
Born May 26, 1939 (1939-05-26) (age 70)
Portland, Oregon, USA
Occupation Sportscaster
Spouse(s) Arlene Clare Sander (1963-present)
Children Blake and Scott

Brent Woody Musburger (pronounced /ˈmʌsbɜrɡər/; born May 26, 1939) is an American sportscaster for the ESPN and ABC television networks. Formerly with CBS Sports and one of the original members of their legendary program The NFL Today, Musburger made his name by injecting a verve and passion for sportscasting which has to this day divided viewers and critics almost to the level of Howard Cosell, who's audience also consisted of a viewership who either loved him or loathed him. Musburger's career has run the gamut, as he has covered almost every sport known to man, ranging from NBA to MLB to NCAA College Football and Basketball. Musburger has also covered television sports in almost every form of the profession, as a studio host for games, a play by play man, a halftime host and also performing post game wrap ups and even covering championship trophy presentations.


Early life and career

Born in Portland, Oregon, Musburger was raised in Billings, Montana. He was an umpire for minor league baseball during the 1950s. He was also a boyhood friend of former Major League pitcher Dave McNally. Musburger's brother, Todd Musburger, is considered one of the top sports agents in the business.

Educated at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Musburger began his career as a sportswriter for the now-defunct Chicago American newspaper. In his column in that paper, Musburger famously referred to Tommie Smith and John Carlos as "black-skinned storm troopers" for their protest of racial injustice in the United States with a Black Power salute on the medal stand during the 1968 Summer Olympics. Asked about his comments decades later, Musburger granted that his words, which likened Smith and Carlos to Nazis, were "a bit harsh", but he stood by the core of his criticism of the pair's action:

Did [Smith and Carlos' action] improve anything?... Smith and Carlos aside, I object to using the Olympic awards stand to make a political statement.
— Musburger, as quoted by The New York Times in 1999

Beginning in the late 1960s, Musburger worked in television, first for local stations in Chicago and Los Angeles. Musburger worked alongside Connie Chung during her tenure doing local Los Angeles newscasts on KNXT-TV from 1978 until 1980.

CBS Sports

Beginning in late 1973, Musburger was doing play-by-play for CBS Sports. He started out doing regular season National Football League games (future The NFL Today co-host Irv Cross was also doing NFL games at that time as well). Musburger was paired with Tommy Mason or Bart Starr, who provided the color commentary. A year later, Wayne Walker would be paired with Musburger in the booth.

By 1975, at CBS, Musburger went from doing the NFL play-by-play (and other items, mostly on CBS' Sports Saturday/Sunday programs) to rise to prominence as the host of the network's National Football League studio show, The NFL Today. Suddenly, Musburger began to cover many assignments for CBS Sports. Among the other events he covered, either as studio host or play-by-play announcer, were college football and basketball, the National Basketball Association, horse racing, the U.S. Open (tennis) tournament, and The Masters golf tournament. He would even lend his talents to weekend afternoon fare such as The World's Strongest Man contests and the like. Musburger also called Major League Baseball games for CBS Radio.


NFL Today

But it was Musburger's association with The NFL Today that made him famous. During his tenure, the CBS' NFL pregame show was consistently the #1 rated pregame show. One of the signatures of the program was Musburger's show-opening teases to the various games CBS would cover, along with live images from the various stadiums. Musburger's accompanying intro to each visual, "You're looking live at..." became one of his catch phrases.

Musburger made headlines when he got into a fist-fight with The NFL Today's betting analyst Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder in a Manhattan bar on October 27, 1980. Only two years earlier, the two had co-announced the 1978 World Series of Poker. However, the fist-fight incident was quickly regarded as water under the bridge as the two cheerfully appeared on The NFL Today the following week wearing boxing gloves on camera.

Late 1980s

By the late 1980s, Musburger was CBS' top sportscaster. He was now the main host and/or play-by-play announcer to many of the events that CBS Sports covered, the NBA Finals, the college basketball, college football, horse racing including the Belmont Stakes, College World Series and others. He even hosted a New Year's Eve countdown for CBS. Musburger is generally regarded as the first broadcaster to apply the term March Madness to the annual NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournament.

CBS power shift

Early in 1990, there was a new regime who held the mantle of power at CBS. Internally, some of the upper echelon management started showing concern about Musburger gaining too much power at CBS, a claim however that Musburger had later stated stemmed from the other direction, that CBS was deluging him with too many assignments. Much of this came about when Musburger added CBS television's play-by-play duties of Major League Baseball to his portfolio.

Dismissal from CBS

During the early morning hours of April Fools' Day of 1990, Musburger was dismissed from CBS. His final assignment for CBS came the following evening, doing play-by-play for the 1990 NCAA men's basketball final, which was Duke versus UNLV. When the game was completed, Musburger, on camera, thanked the audience and the many people at CBS Sports, and the analysts that he had worked with through the years like Billy Packer, who was standing next to him as he parlayed his swan song. He finished by saying

Folks, I've had the best seat in the house. Thanks for sharing it, I'll see you down the road.

Musburger would soon be replaced by Jack Buck for the baseball play-calling duties. Coincidentally, Musburger called the 1984 World Series for CBS Radio, with Jack Buck as his commentating partner. His position at The NFL Today was filled by Greg Gumbel. His position as the lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball was filled by Jim Nantz.

ABC Sports and ESPN

Following his dismissal from CBS, Musburger considered several offers - including one to return to Chicago and work at superstation WGN (which broadcast Chicago Cubs games). Musburger ultimately settled at ABC. With Al Michaels (at the time) firmly entrenched as ABC's top broadcaster, Musburger would not fill that role. He would focus on events such as college football and basketball.

Soon afterwards, ABC's association with ESPN (under the Disney umbrella) would allow him to now have two venues in which to work, and since Musburger's hiring by ABC in 1990[1], and the merger with ESPN and ABC Sports divisions in 2006, he has called events as diverse as Major League Baseball, NBA games (on television and he also called some NBA Finals series during the late 1990s to the early 2000s for ESPN Radio, where he also from January 1993 to December 2003 hosted a 10-minute and later five-minute daily show called SportsBeat, which offered Musburger's takes on current sports events around the globe), golf tournaments, horse racing, the Indianapolis 500, Little League World Series, soccer games, college football (usually games involving teams from the Big Ten Conference), and even some NFL games (including hosting halftime duties for Monday Night Football and Wild Card round games). Musburger's college football duties including calling two BCS championship games to date, the 2000 Sugar Bowl and the 2004 Sugar Bowl. Musburger is also scheduled to broadcast the 2010 BCS National Championship Game for ABC in January 2010. Musburger has also covered the Tour de France for ABC.

Voice of ESPN on ABC

Brent Musburger departs the College GameDay bus in Austin, Texas.

Starting in 2006, Musburger has called ABC Sports' college football prime time series, along with analysts Bob Davie and Kirk Herbstreit (who worked selected games in 2006). Musburger called the 2007 Rose Bowl, taking over for the recently retired ABC icon Keith Jackson. Davie and Herbstreit provided the color commentary. Since 2007, Herbstreit has worked exclusively with Musburger, while Davie was reassigned within ESPN. He will occasionally call games on ESPN as well, if the Saturday Night package is on hiatus and/or a game on the sister network is of importance.

After Al Michaels was hired by NBC in February 2006, Musburger could now be seen as the face of ABC Sports/ESPN on ABC, although he does not have nearly as many assignments as he did when he was employed by CBS. However, his importance at ABC Sports is still in evidence, as recently he was the main studio host during ABC's coverage of the 2006 World Cup and previously the 1998 World Cup, and was also named the studio host for ESPN and ABC's NASCAR coverage, which he did return to after the 2007 season.

In 2010, Musburger voiced his support for a college football playoff in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. "My dream scenario -- and it's not going to happen -- would be to take eight conference champions, and only conference champions, and play the quarterfinals of a tournament on campuses in mid-December," he said. "The four losers would remain bowl-eligible. The four winners would advance to semifinals on New Year's Day with exclusive TV windows. Then, like now, one week later, there would be the national championship game."[2]


On September 17, 2005, after broadcasting the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers, Mr. Musberger was cited for an open container in a motor vehicle.[3]

On September 18, 2006, University of Southern California Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone sent a formal letter to ESPN and a copy to the Pacific Ten Conference complaining that Musburger revealed privileged information in his broadcast of the September 16, 2006, NCAA football game in which the USC Trojans hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Musburger disclosed that he learned from a pre-game conversation with Trojans quarterback John David Booty a signal Booty uses to pass to receivers. USC claims this information was for private background purposes only.

What he did was unconscionable. In my 28 years, I've never seen such an egregious breach of trust. Brent is not a rookie at this, and he should know better,

said Tessalone. Within hours, ESPN and Musburger both released a separate statement that they regretted the confusion. Musburger also appeared on ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick Show a few days later to discuss the incident, in which he said that there was never an intention of putting team secrets on the air. The sports world and media and fans have been divided regarding the incident.[4]

Career timeline


Musburger has a down-home manner of speaking, often addressing his viewers as "folks" or "partner."

However, when the moment arises, he can come up with classically intense statements filled with hyperbole, superlatives and interjections aurally delivered in a staccato he no doubt honed and crafted during his tenure as a television news anchorman in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

In a Sports Illustrated profile done on Musburger in January 1984 and written by William Taaffe, he had this to say about his craft and endeavor:

Not for one moment do I think I'm what's important. I'm the messenger. The games are what count. Without them there wouldn't be a Brent Musburger. If I started to pontificate they'd get tired of me in a hurry. I end up on that screen so much it'd drive them crazy if I started to do that. They'd start throwing empty beer cans at me.

CNN Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel selected him as the second-best college football announcer, behind Ron Franklin. Mandel said of Musburger,

His voice will always be associated with some of the sports' most memorable modern moments.

Famous calls and utterances


Won't start till it's touched, they'll have to throw it up, Gar Heard turnaround shot in the air.....IT'S GOOD!!! It's tied again! I don't believe it! Garfield Heard at the buzzer, threw one in outside, we've got a third overtime here in the Boston Garden!! (Musburger reacting to the Phoenix Suns' Gar Heard's turnaround jumpshot at the buzzer to ensure a tie and force a third overtime in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 4, 1976, Boston Celtics versus Phoenix Suns.)
(Dick) Van Arsdale with a quick shot, it's a one point game again, just what Rick (Barry) predicted. (Paul) Westphal to the corner, back to Van Arsdale, (Curtis) Perry in the air! Won't Go! (John) Havlicek! Perry again! Perry with a jump shot....PUT IT DOWN!!! Phoenix has gone ahead!!! We've got 5 seconds, I don't believe it! I don't believe what I just saw down here! 110 to 109! I've got 5 seconds, that was incredible!!! Where did Westphal COME from???!!! (Musburger's spectacular, frenzied call to a spectacular end of the 2nd overtime, in which Paul Westphal of the Phoenix Suns made a key steal in which Curtis Perry hit a jump shot, which gave Phoenix the one point lead, in the closing seconds of the 2nd overtime of the 1976 NBA Finals Game 5, in which the Phoenix Suns took on the Boston Celtics)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to know this man...has a smile...that lights up a television screen from here (San Diego, California) to Bangor, Maine, his name is Magic Johnson and Magic, it's a delight to have you aboard in the NBA! (introducing the future Hall of Famer, who is about to make his debut on national television for the Los Angeles Lakers in late 1979).
It's 89–84...Sixers and take it INSIDE, oh, unbelievable!!! Julius Erving underneath, he was trapped, and he still gets the field goal! Watch this FANTASTIC move by the Doctor! (Musburger vocally exploding over the incredible circus shot baseline layup scoop by the Philadelphia 76ers Julius Erving during Game 4 of the 1980 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.)
You are watching what greatness, is all about (championing the superb performance of Larry Bird during the last few minutes of the 4th quarter in a tense Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference semifinals, in which the Boston Celtics played the Atlanta Hawks).

College basketball

Villanova has done it! (after Villanova stunned a heavily favored Georgetown, 66–64, to win the 1985 NCAA Basketball Championship Game)
And now we serve up a warning to Indiana and UNLV (after top-seeded North Carolina lost to Syracuse in the 1987 East Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament; North Carolina was the second top-seeded team to lose on that day of tournament action, while Indiana and UNLV, two other No. 1 seeds, were scheduled to play the following day).
Indiana wins the national championship. Keith Smart is the hero! (after Indiana's 74–73 victory over Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA Basketball Championship Game)
With Billy Packer and Magic Johnson, I'm Brent Musburger. (during a timeout late in the 1989 NCAA Basketball Championship Game between Michigan and Seton Hall, after CBS cameras found Magic Johnson in the crowd)
And Carolina WINS it! Carolina upsets OU! (Musburger's rousing call of eighth-seeded North Carolina's shocking upset of top-seeded Oklahoma in the second round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament).

Baseball/college baseball

No balls and a strike to Martinez......Line Drive...We are tied! coming the corner's Bernie Williams, he's gonna try to's the division championship! Mariners win it! Mariners win it! (1995, New York Yankees versus Seattle Mariners Division Series Game 5 extra inning thriller after Seattle's Edgar Martínez doubled and Ken Griffey, Jr. scored the winning run from first base.)
THE BABY BOMBERS! Some say he's sixteen, I say they're just jealous (a reference to the Scandal-involved Bronx team of the Little League World Series, more notably a reference to Danny Almonte, who actually at the moment was 14).

College football

Are you kidding me?!?!(BCS Championship when Alabama didn't get called for pass interference.)
You are looking LIVE! (name of the stadium, arena, etc) (The opening to a broadcast accompanied by a view of the stadium or venue.)
The (insert team name) are coming out. (As a team runs onto the field before a game.)
Folks, this will be a dandy! (The opening to a broadcast hyping up the game.)
The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football (in reference to Clemson University's rubbing Howard's Rock and running down The Hill)
Intercepted! Marshall picks it off, the big linebacker...still on his feet touchdown touchdown! Oklahoma regains the lead! (Torrance Marshall's clutch INT that put OU ahead of Texas A&M for good, in what was the tightest game of OU's 2000 National Championship season.)
They're in a footrace! (spoken during a football contest when someone is outrunning the defense in the endzone on their way to a touchdown. This is from the 1996 Big 12 Championship, between the Texas Longhorns and Nebraska Cornhuskers. This follows "Fourth and Inches," and "Rolls left," before James Brown passes to his Tight End who is finally pulled down at the Nebraska 12 yard line, setting up the game winning touchdown for the longhorns.)
Touchdown Texas! Touchdown Ricky Williams, 60 yards and the record is his! (1998 game in which Texas Longhorns RB Ricky Williams breaks Tony Dorsett's all-time career rushing yardage record with a 60 yard touchdown.)
Flutie flushed....throws it down....caught by Boston College!!! I don't believe it!!! It's a touchdown!!!... Phelan's at the bottom of that pile! (reacting to Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass to win an improbable classic college football contest between Boston College and the University of Miami in 1984).
It's on its way...and its good! And now, with the number one ranking on the line in Iowa City, Rob Houghtlin hits a twenty-nine-yarder--and the young man from Glenview, IL, whose right foot sent the Hawkeyes to victory. And on the sideline, it's a hallelujah for Coach Fry. And for Bo Schembechler, it's wait until next week (calling Rob Houghtlin's game-winning field goal for the #1 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes against the #2 ranked Michigan Wolverines played in 1985 in Iowa City).
Plummer, in trouble, steps away, cuts free, breaks loose, FIVE, TOUCHDOWN, SUN DEVILS!!! The Snake, does it again! This team won't die!! You can cut a snake's head off, but he continues to live! (Musburger acknowledges the incredible football prowess of Arizona State's quarterback Jake "The Snake" Plummer during the 1997 Rose Bowl.)
Third Down. Frost...over the middle...juggled...diving...TOUCHDOWN NEBRASKA! DAVISON ON THE DEFLECTION! (On the call of the "Miracle in Missouri" (also known as the Flea Kicker) between Nebraska and Missouri in 1997)
Could be up to the offensive line? No, Krenzel's going to throw for it! Got to get it off! They go for the ball game...TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! MICHAEL JENKINS!! ON 4TH & 1! WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT! CRAIG KRENZEL STRIKES... WITH A MINUTE AND A HALF LEFT! HOLY BUCKEYE! (From the 2002 Ohio StatePurdue Game. On a 4th-and-1 play, Ohio State Quarterback Craig Krenzel throws a game winning 37 yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins with about a minute-and-a-half left in the game. This was a stunning play because conventional thinking would have had Krenzel attempt either a Rollout Play or a Quarterback Sneak with that much time left. Because of Musburger's call, this play is nicknamed "Holy Buckeye" by many Ohio State Fans.)
1,500 young red-blooded American men just signed up to go to Florida State next semester. (reacting to a 2-second shot of Jenn Sterger and her two scantily clad football fan friends during the 2005 FSUMiami game.)
This'll be the last snap. Victory formation for Mizzou! The Border belongs to the Tigers! (The last play of the heavily hyped 2007 Border War, dubbed Arrowhead Armageddon, in which #4 Missouri defeated #2 Kansas, 36–28, to clinch the Big 12 North for the 2007 college football season.
It's a Louisiana Saturday Night, alright! Said during LSU's football game against Virginia Tech in 2007.
Second down now. Deep strike...Got the big man! CRABTREE! PULLS FREE! And... TOUCHDOWN RED RAIDERS, WITH A SECOND TO GO! (From Texas Tech's November 1, 2008 upset of #1 Texas)
This is a stompin' folks, a good ol' fashioned stompin'! (From Oklahoma Sooners 65–21 upset over the Texas Tech Red Raiders, November 22, 2008)
They won't go away....when Oklahoma State returned a touchdown against the Oklahoma Sooners, from a kick return (the same game as the Sooners and Cowboys)
...down at the 5 yard line is Shipley, big hole Shipley! Endzone ahead folks! Touchdowwwwwnnnnn Longhorns! (when Texas beat Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game in October 2008)
Blocked! Scooped up! This is gonna be a Hawkeye touchdown! This is Clayborn, the big defensive end! Blocks it...and takes it in! And the Hawkeyes take the lead! A stunning development here in Happy Valley. (Calling Adrian Clayborn's blocked punt and subsequent touchdown return that gave Iowa the lead for good at Penn State in 2009)
There's a new king in the Pac-10. (After Oregon handily defeated USC, 47-20, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon in 2009)

Other appearances and pop culture references

Musburger has appeared in several feature films as himself, including Rocky II, The Main Event, The Waterboy, and Mickey. An action figure of Musburger was released on November 2006, as part of the Rocky II series of figures.

In the comedy series Friends he is mentioned in the episode "The One Where Nana Dies Twice."

Musburger recorded his voice doing the play-by-play for the Konami video game ESPN NBA Tonight, which was released in 2000 (ESPN analyst Stuart Scott did the color). He also lent his voice to the Comedy Central series South Park for the season 2 episode "City on the Edge of Forever", along with Henry Winkler and Jay Leno.

Rick Moranis portrayed Musburger on an episode of the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV where The NFL Today, Three's Company and The Today Show are the targets of mafia-style hits.


  • Sandomir, Richard "TV SPORTS; Now on Film: Raised Fists And the Yogi Love Letters", New York Times, 6 Aug. 1999
Preceded by
Pat Summerall
Play-by-Play announcer, NBA Finals
Succeeded by
Gary Bender
Preceded by
Jack Whitaker
The NFL Today host
Succeeded by
Greg Gumbel
Preceded by
Bryant Gumbel
Studio Host, College Basketball on CBS
Succeeded by
Dick Stockton
Preceded by
Gary Bender
Play-by-Play announcer, NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four
Succeeded by
Jim Nantz
Preceded by
Studio Host, Monday Night Football
Succeeded by
Chris Berman
Preceded by
Jim McKay
U.S. World Cup Television Studio Host
Succeeded by
Terry Gannon
Preceded by
Terry Gannon
Lead Play-by-Play, Little League World Series
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Terry Gannon
U.S. World Cup Television Studio Host
Succeeded by
Bob Ley
Preceded by
ABC Saturday Night Football Play-By-Play Announcer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Keith Jackson
Television Play-by-Play announcer, Rose Bowl
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thom Brennaman
Television Play-by-Play announcer, BCS National Championship Game
Succeeded by


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