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Thirty years ago this week, during a commercial break with 40 seconds left in an ABC Monday Night Football game, Howard Cosell was uncertain about what to do with news just confirmed by the WABC news desk in New York — John Lennon had been murdered. Sunday’s Outside the Lines will present rarely heard, off-air discussion between Cosell and Frank Gifford seconds before millions of football viewers would become the first to learn of Lennon’s death. Tom Rinaldi reports on the behind-the-scenes activity that led to MNF – not a newscast or special report – being the source of the news December 8, 1980. The key was a WABC news producer, admitted to the hospital moments before Lennon, called his office, ultimately concluding with the breaking news originating from the MNF broadcast booth in Miami.
“My ears are still ringing from the impact of the road, and two police officers come out and they are literally standing over my head. I got my eyes closed and I hear one officer say to the other one, ‘Can you believe it? John Lennon.’” – Alan Weiss, WABC news producer who was in a Central Park motorcycle accident and taken to nearby Roosevelt Hospital moments before John Lennon arrived
“ABC News called the truck and said John Lennon has been shot in front of his apartment building and died on the way to the hospital. My first reaction was, is this the truth? Is this some kind of hoax?” – Bob Goodrich, Monday Night Football producer in the broadcast truck in Miami
OTL: John Lennon Announcement on MNF, companion piece
In a companion piece by ESPN.com writer Jeff Ausiello, the final moments of the ABC MNF game on Dec. 8, 1980, are detailed from the perspective of John Smith, the Patriots kicker on the field ready to attempt a field goal when Howard Cosell broke the news that John Lennon had been shot and killed.
Cradle of Coaches
College Gameday (Saturday, 9-10 a.m., ESPNU and 10 a.m.–noon, ESPN )
Less than four percent of America’s population lives in Ohio, but 15 percent of major conference college football coaches were born there. Additionally, a surprising number of those coaches have roots in Youngstown, including Bob Stoops and Bo Pelini, whose teams will meet in this week’s Big 12 Championship game. Reporter Tom Rinaldi looks at how this “Rust Belt” town became a cradle for college football coaches.
Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport. The toll of a 60-minute game on the human body can push an individual’s tolerance of pain to the extreme. Perhaps more impressive is their ability to recover and play again seven days later. One of the oldest, most basic and most effective roads to recovery is the “cold tub.” Rachel Nichols reports.
As Lebron James prepares to return to the city of Cleveland tonight for the first time since joining the Miami Heat, ESPN.com senior writer Wright Thompson tells the story of Cleveland – what it is and what it used to be, with and without LeBron James. A story of a proud city which forgets “The Player Who Left” and remembers what it used to be.