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For Reverend Don Meredith of Toronto see Don Meredith

Joseph Don "Dandy Don" Meredith (born April 10, 1938, in Mount Vernon, Texasmarker) is a retired American football quarterback in the National Football League who played for the Dallas Cowboys, a former football commentator and actor.

Football career

Meredith played college football at Southern Methodist Universitymarker in Dallas, where he started at quarterback for three years, leading the Southwest Conference in passing completion percentage each year and getting selected as an All-American in 1958 and 1959. Meredith was so popular on campus that many at the time jokingly referred to the school as "Southern Meredith University."

The Chicago Bears chose Meredith in the third round of the 1960 NFL Draft, and traded him to a young Cowboys franchise for future draft picks. (Incidentally, the Cowboys' crosstown rivals in the AFL, the Texans, also picked Meredith as a "territorial selection" in their 1960 draft, though Meredith declined to play for them.) Meredith spent two years as a backup to Eddie LeBaron, eventually splitting time in 1962 before he was given the full-time starting job by head coach Tom Landry in 1963. In 1966, Meredith led the Cowboys to the NFL postseason, something he would continue to do until his unexpected retirement before the 1969 season. His two most heartbreaking defeats came in NFL Championship play against the Green Bay Packers, 34-27 in Dallas (1966), and in the famous "Ice Bowl" game, 21-17 in Green Bay (1967).

"Dandy Don", while never leading the Cowboys to a Super Bowl, was always exceptionally popular with Cowboys fans who remember him for his grit and toughness, his outgoing nature, and his leadership during the first winning seasons for the Cowboys. Meredith is also said to be the only player to play his high school (Mount Vernon), college (SMU), and pro (Dallas Cowboys) career in and around the Dallas, TX area. He never played a home game, on any level, outside of North Texas.

During his career, he had a 50.7% completion rate, throwing for 17,199 yards and 135 touchdowns with a lifetime quarterback rating of 74.8. He was named the NFL Player of the Year in 1966 and was named to the Pro Bowl three times.

Post-football career

Following his football career, Meredith became a color commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football beginning in 1970. He left for three seasons (1974 to 1976) to work with Curt Gowdy at NBC, then returned to MNF partners Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell. His approach to color commentary was light-hearted and folksy, in contrast to Cosell's detailed and intellectual analysis and Gifford's rather ponderous play-by-play technique. He was known for singing "Turn out the lights, the party's over" at the time the game was apparently decided.

Meredith's broadcasting career was also not without a few incidents of minor controversy; including referring to then-President Richard Nixon as "Tricky Dick", announcing that he was "mile-high" before a game in Denver, and turning the name of a Cleveland Browns player (Fair Hooker) into a double entendre.

Meredith retired from sportscasting after the 1984 season, a year after Cosell's retirement. His final broadcast was Super Bowl XIX with Frank Gifford and Joe Theismann, which was ABC's first Super Bowl.

Meredith also had an acting career, appearing in multiple movies and television shows, including a recurring starring role on Police Story. He was in a series of commercials in the 1980s as Lipton Tea Lover, Don Meredith.

In 1976, Meredith was inducted into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor at Texas Stadiummarker along with former running back Don Perkins.

Meredith was selected as the 2007 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. He received the award at the Enshrinee's Dinner on August 3, 2007.

Currently, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Palm Springs, California, with his third wife, the former Susan Lessons Dullea, the former wife of actor Keir Dullea.


  • Meredith was featured on an episode of King of the Hill, in which he misses a throw to win the main character, Hank Hill, $1,000,000.

See also

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