All good things must come to an end, right?
Legendary sports broadcaster Brent Musburger announced on Wednesday that he is retiring from sportscasting at the age of 77. Musburger has been a staple of sports broadcasting since the 1970s. Since 1990, he has served as a host and play-by-play commentator for multiple sports on ABC, ESPN, and SEC Network. Prior to his arrival there, he was with CBS for 15 years.
Here’s Musburger’s statement from ESPN’s official release announcing his retirement:
“What a wonderful journey I have traveled with CBS and the Disney company,” Musburger said. “A love of sports allows me to live a life of endless pleasure. And make no mistake, I will miss the arenas and stadiums dearly. Most of all, I will miss the folks I have met along the trail.
“But the next rodeo for me is in Las Vegas. Stop by and we’ll share a cold one and some good stories. I may even buy!”
He will call his final sporting event on Tuesday, Jan. 31, Georgia at Kentucky from Rupp Arena.
According to the Associated Press, Musburger has plans to move to Las Vegas and start a sports handicapping business with his family.
He was one of the most signature and legendary sportscasters of several sports fans’ lifetimes, including my own. His famous “You are looking live” catchphrase became a staple of some of the best of sporting events around the country:
Brent's famous line, "You are looking live...", which started as something else, became an indicator that we should be watching this game.— Adam Amin (@adamamin) January 25, 2017
Now we aren’t here to pile on Musburger, who has had his fair share of slipups, as some broadcasters do. He came under fire earlier this month after his comments regarding Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, whose video showing him punching a woman in the face was released to the public in December. Musburger, who was calling the Sugar Bowl between OU and Auburn, referred to the running back as “one of the best”:
“It was troubling, very troubling to see,” Musburger said of Mixon (apparently the videotape, specifically). “We’ve talked to the coaches. They all swear that the young man is doing fine. Like I said, Oklahoma thought he might even transfer, but he sat out the suspension, reinstated, and, folks, he’s just one of the best, and let’s hope, given a second chance by Bob Stoops and Oklahoma, let’s hope that this young man makes the most of his chance and goes on to have a career ...”
That was met with a ton of backlash on social media. He then attempted to walk back on these comments, which made the situation a lot worse:
Let me make something perfectly clear. What he did with that young lady was brutal, uncalled for. He’s apologized. He was tearful. He got a second chance. He got a second chance from Bob Stoops. I happen to pull for people with second chances, OK? Let me make it absolutely clear that I hope he has a wonderful career and he teaches people with that brutal, violent video. OK?”
Per the AP’s reporting, these recent comments do not have anything to do with Musburger’s retirement.
Musburger made some eyebrow-raising comments before this. During the 2013 National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame, the camera showed Tide quarterback AJ McCarron’s then-girlfriend Katherine Webb. Musberger made some creepy-at-best comments about Webb's attractiveness, including encouraging "youngster[s] in Alabama" to start throwing a football in hopes of becoming quarterbacks at the college one day because quarterbacks "have all the luck." ESPN later issued an apology for his comments.
Musburger’s move to Las Vegas shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The broadcaster became known for using gambling references as he was calling games, including phrases such as “it is important to some” or referencing “friends in the desert.”
“I am very aware about what’s going on,” Musburger said, via the Sports Business Daily Journal. “I know when spreads or over/unders are covered. That’s not the main point of emphasis in covering a ballgame. I’m aware that a lot of people are interested in it and partake in it. Nobody has ever said anything to me. Executives understand the appeal.”
He was also one of the announcers of the Las Vegas Bowl, starting in 2010, and called it every season from 2013-16.
We can all take a moment to appreciate Musburger, whose broadcasts can be ranked up there with the Keith Jacksons of sports. He’s been on hand for some pretty iconic moments, too:
Yes, Brent Musburger is in this iconic photo of Joe Namath at Super Bowl III. pic.twitter.com/EzLPgmt6WG— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) January 25, 2017
Not to mention, his game tie at times was both patriotic and fantastic:
There was also this awkward yet hilarious interview Musburger had alongside Kirk Herbstreit with rapper Eminem during the 2013 Michigan-Notre Dame game, which can be summed up in a single GIF:
Here’s ESPN President John Skipper’s statement from the official release, which sums up Musburger’s career pretty perfectly:
“Brent’s presence and delivery have come to symbolize big time sports for multiple generations of fans. When he opens with his signature ‘You are looking live,’ you sit up straight in your chair because you know something important is about to happen. Brent’s catalog of big events is unmatched, and he has skillfully guided us through some of the most dramatic and memorable moments in sports with his authentic and distinctive style. He is one of the best storytellers to ever grace a sports booth. We and the fans will miss him.”