Don Meredith, the Dallas Cowboys and SMU quarterback and Monday Night Football icon, died Sunday evening in Santa Fe, N.M. He was 72.
Meredith had battled emphysema in recent years and suffered a minor stroke in 2004.
He was the only living Cowboys Ring of Honor member unable to attend the franchise's September 2009 inaugural game at Cowboys Stadium.
Meredith was the original Dallas Cowboy, signing a personal services contract on Nov. 28, 1959, two months before the franchise officially gained admittance into the NFL.
More from the DMN ...
The situation was almost perfect for Meredith, who once stood with his father outside the Cotton Bowl as they visited the State Fair of Texas. Meredith remembered that as a prophetic occasion.
"I looked up at that big old thing," he said, "and just knew I was gonna play ball there someday."
That, in fact, happened many times. Meredith probably made more appearances there as a player through his 12 seasons than any other athlete. The Cowboys played their home games at the facility throughout Meredith's nine seasons. The team announced plans to relocate to the Texas Stadium site Meredith found so contemptible a few months before his abrupt and shocking retirement from professional football in 1968.
He was 31, in the prime of his career. His decision was announced during a news conference in which Meredith, who had finished second in passing in the NFL, simply explained he had lost the desire to compete.
Roger Staubach was released from the Navy the same day.
Another famous Meredith moment occurred in 1974 at the Houston Astrodome. The Oakland Raiders were in the process of beating the Houston Oilers 34-0.
A cameraman had a shot of a disgruntled Oilers fan, who then made an obscene gesture. Meredith said of the fan. "He thinks they're No. 1 in the nation."
Lots and lots and lots of memories of the old signal caller/playboy/color man. Had he managed to make a couple of plays in those games with the Packers, he would be mentioned in the same group as Unitas, Starr, and Namath. And Staubach.
He still deserves being mentioned with them IMO.