‘Dandy Don’ Meredith, Cowboys QB and TV Announcer, Dies at 72

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Don Meredith, left, interviews Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry in 1984.

Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

The wise-cracking, song-singing Meredith was as big a star on television as he was on the football field. (via Tuned In)

Spirited both on the field and on the microphone, Don Meredith played nine seasons as the Cowboys’ quarterback, then retired to spend more than a decade in the press box as a commentator.

“Dandy Don” was an inaugural host of Monday Night Football when it debuted in 1970. Often known as the comic relief of the trio in the press box, he helped boost MNF in the ratings to the weekly prime-time staple that it’s become.

(See NewsFeed’s favorite – and least favorite – voices of Monday Night Football”)

He’s also credited with bringing a brand new Cowboys team from zero to hero. They posted a cringe-worthy 0-11-1 record in their inaugural 1960 season. But by the end of Meredith’s tenure in the 1968 season, America’s Team boasted a 12-2 record.

As TIME’s James Poniewozik puts it, he “exemplified the job of the jovial, former-pro TV commentator, with his laid-back humor and signature ‘Turn Out the Lights’ serenade. See more at Tuned In.