Brent Musburger: “Phyllis George was special”

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For those of us who first discovered the NFL in the 1970s, The NFL Today was a major part of it.

And that meant, before every Sunday’s slate of games, gathering with Brent Musburger, Irv Cross, Phyllis George, and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder for the kind of football discourse that simply wasn’t available anywhere else in those days.

Phyllis George died this week at the age of 70. Musburger praised his former colleague, in comments posted by vsin.com.

Phyllis George was special,” Musburger said. “Her smile lit up millions of homes for The NFL Today. . . . Phyllis didn’t receive nearly enough credit for opening the sports broadcasting door for the dozens of talented women who took her lead and soared. Folks — men and women — were comfortable with Phyllis talking about their favorite sport. And in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, they loved Phyllis despite her Dallas Cowboy bias. . . . Irv Cross and I will miss you dearly.”

It was a special time for football and a special time for sports broadcasting, and Phyllis George was a special part of it. Plenty of clips of her segments and interviews are making the rounds on social media and elsewhere. For those of us who grew up with football in the ’70s, the videos trigger feelings not just of nostalgia but saudade; for the rest of the crowd, it’s a time capsule that provides valuable context as to how far the sport and the coverage of it has evolved.

14 responses to “Brent Musburger: “Phyllis George was special”

  1. Very sad. It’s a cliche, but George was a trailblazer and I would argue she never got enough credit for it.

  2. Like many, I wondered why Phillis George was hired for The NFL Today show. It didn’t take me long to realize she actually had some knowledge about football and loved the sport. She was truly a pioneer for women being respected in sports. She was a true trailblazer.

  3. It’s a time many among us were not yet born, but every pregame show on today derived from NFL Today in the 70’s. It was the first. Phyllis George broke the gender barrier, and did so by simply being herself. No fan fare. She was funny, graceful, talented, firm, and she felt like a friend. She didn’t kick the door down, she simply opened it and walked through. She was special..and she will be missed..but hearing this brought a storm of memories and a big smile to my face..and that’s a legacy anyone would hope for.

  4. She was empowered to do her job and which she did extremely well. She was very stylish yet she was more substance over style. A true professional.

  5. She approached her job with class, intelligence, and poise. There was no “uptalking” or vocal fry affectation back then. She was her own person. I recall as a kid that my single uncle who introduced me to the game had quite a crush on her.

  6. Really a trailblazer for women. Who broke all barriers. Really died way too young. May she RIP!

  7. If you have a favorite team it’s should be ok to be biased and not be deemed unprofessional. She’s the only one who ever did that and everything about her was professional.

  8. I’m shocked at the number of thumbs down that messages are getting when compliments and RIPs are made for Phyllis George. America, you have a long way to go toward equality.

  9. I miss those days. Whether sports or the evening news, the quality, personality, a genuineness was so far beyond what it is now. I’m glad I grew up with it so I forever have it as a reference for how good it can be. Most everything today seems so bland and shallow in comparison.

  10. I remember when she started for many fans it was a novelty like “They’re really going to put an woman on the broadcast team?” But right off the bat it changed to “Hey, she’s pretty good.” RIP Phyllis. A fine charming lady and a real pro.

  11. RIP, Phyllis. You were a true pioneer, Opening up opportunites for many women.

    You will be missed.

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