Long before cable and the plethora of studio shows, there was “The NFL Today” on CBS. The pregame show featured, among others, Brent Musburger, Irv Cross, Jack Whitaker, Phyllis George, Jimmy the Greek, and Jayne Kennedy through the years.
It was must-see TV for every NFL fan. Heck for every sports fan.
CBS announced Cross has passed away. He died at the age of 81 Cross Sunday morning near his home in Roseville, Mn.
“I’ve been around all kinds of people, from every walk of life. I don’t know that I could give you one person who was nicer than Irv Cross. He was a constant gentleman,” said Musburger, who worked with Cross and others on the first live NFL pregame show that set the standard that is still followed today.
The CBS Sports family mourns the passing of Irv Cross. pic.twitter.com/BxYz8s5xmq
— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) March 1, 2021
A seventh-round pick of the Eagles in 1961 out of Northwestern where he was coached by Ara Parseghian, Cross spent six years in Philadelphia as a player and another three with the Los Angeles Rams. During Training Camp of his rookie year, he asked the coaches to release him early if he didn’t have a future in football. He planned to attend graduate school. After earning Pro Bowl honors in consecutive seasons, Cross was traded to the Rams following the 1965 season. He returned to the Eagles as a player/defensive backs coach in 1969 and remained in the coaching role for the 1970 season.
Cross is survived by his wife, Liz; four children, Susan, Lisa, Matthew, and Sarah; grandson Aiden; brothers Raymond, Teal, and Sam; sisters Joan, Jackie, Julia, Pat, and Gwen; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation or the Concussion Legacy Foundation.