On this date, May 1, 1987, Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson ended his playing career. It’s not quite accurate to say that he walked away from the game, knowing he spent most of the past 30 years as an NFL fixture on ESPN, but he officially hung up his cleats.
The 5’11” 220 pound linebacker out of Louisville played his entire career with the Denver Broncos and was a charter member of the “Orange Crush” defense. Jackson was drafted in the 4th round (pick 88) in 1973. He’s tied for 4th in Broncos history in terms of years of service along with Dennis Smith with 14. Only John Elway (16), Jason Elam (15) and Tom Nalen (15) had more seasons on a Broncos roster. He’s also 4th in games played (191) which puts him behind Elam (236), Elway (234) and Nalen (194) in that category. The 191 games played is the most for a Broncos defender.
During his career the Cleveland, Ohio, native had 20 interceptions which is ranked tied for 10th in team history (with Randy Gradishar). His 44 sacks also ranks him 10th in franchise history.
He was a 3-time Pro Bowler (1977-79), twice named to the AP All-Pro Team (’77&’78); Jackson was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1992.
Following his retirement Jackson, spent nearly 30 years with ESPN, starting in 1987; he was often paired with Chris Berman as co-hosts for the networks leading NFL shows(Countdown/Primetime). He was awarded the 2015 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. He retired from ESPN prior to the 2016 NFL season. Following his television retirement, Jackson & Berman had the ESPN studio they worked in named in their honor.
If Tony Romo is a flop, can CBS please give Tom a call? I miss seeing him.