The Remarkable Life of Irv Cross: From Football Legend to Broadcasting Pioneer
Irv Cross, born on July 18, 1939, in Hammond, Indiana, was a notable American football player and broadcaster. He spent 22 years in the National Football League (NFL) as a player, coach, and executive, winning several accolades and championships. Cross also made history by becoming the first African American to work as a full-time sports analyst on national television. This post will take you on a journey to explore the remarkable life of Irv Cross, from his football days to his broadcasting career.
Early Life and Football Career
Irv Cross grew up in a modest family, where sports played a central part in his upbringing. He attended Northwestern University, where he played football as a defensive back and proved to be a natural athlete. In 1961, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in the seventh round, and he went on to become a starting cornerback his rookie year, earning the title of “NFL All-Rookie Team.”
During his football career, Cross was known for his athleticism, speed, and sharp defensive skills. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1961 to 1965 and the Los Angeles Rams from 1966 to 1969. Cross was the first African American to hold a significant role as a player in the Rams organization. He was a part of the Rams team that advanced to the Super Bowl in 1969 but lost to the New York Jets.
After his successful football career, Cross shifted gears and started his broadcasting journey. He worked as a game analyst for CBS Sports for 14 seasons, becoming the first African American broadcaster to work in a national sportscaster role. He also worked as a sideline reporter for The NFL Today from 1975 to 1989.
Cross was praised for his ability to deliver insightful commentary while remaining impartial. He was respected for his professionalism, knowledge of the game, and unrivaled work ethic. He received a Sports Emmy Award for his contributions to “The NFL Today” show in 1975, cementing his status as a broadcasting pioneer.
Impact on Civil Rights
Irv Cross’s achievements in sports and broadcasting coincide with the civil rights movement that swept the country in the 1960s and 1970s. He broke down many barriers and opened doors for African Americans in both football and broadcasting. Cross was a trailblazer who helped pave the way for future generations to pursue their passions.
Off the field, Cross had a heart for serving his community. He was a proud member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the first-ever African American Greek-letter fraternity, and was the founder and president of the Big Brothers of New Jersey chapter.
Cross passed away on March 15, 2021, at the age of 81, leaving behind his wife, Liz, and their two children. The NFL community mourned his loss, and many paid tribute to his legacy as a football player, coach, and broadcaster.
Q1. What football teams did Irv Cross play for?
A1. Irv Cross played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams during his football career.
Q2. What teams did Irv Cross cover as a broadcaster?
A2. Cross worked as a game analyst and sideline reporter for CBS Sports and covered various football teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and New York Giants.
Q3. What was Irv Cross’ most significant achievement?
A3. Cross’s most significant achievement was becoming the first African American to work as a full-time sports analyst on national television.
Q4. What role did Irv Cross play in the civil rights movement?
A4. Cross broke down barriers for African Americans in both football and broadcasting, making him a trailblazer who helped pave the way for future generations.
Q5. What did people praise Irv Cross for in his broadcasting career?
A5. Cross was praised for his professionalism, knowledge of the game, and ability to deliver insightful commentary while remaining impartial.
Q6. What was Irv Cross’ involvement in serving his community?
A6. Cross was a proud member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and was the founder and president of the Big Brothers of New Jersey chapter.
Q7. When did Irv Cross pass away?
A7. Irv Cross passed away on March 15, 2021, at the age of 81.
In conclusion, Irv Cross was a remarkable individual who left a lasting impact in both football and broadcasting. He was a trailblazer who broke down barriers for African Americans and opened doors for future generations to pursue their passions. Cross was a professional and dedicated individual who devoted his life to serving his community and making a difference. His legacy will continue to inspire many for years to come.