Legendary sportscaster Irv Cross has reportedly passed away at the age of 81 years old. His son, Matthew Cross, confirmed that his father passed away near his home in Roseville, Minnesota over the weekend. Cross is best known for his work on national television as a sports analyst. He was the first Black man to serve in this role with a broadcast network.
"All of us [at the network] are saddened by the news of Irv Cross' passing," network executive Sean McManus said.
"Irv was a pioneer who made significant contributions to the storied history and tradition of [our network] and, along with Phyllis George and Brent Musburger, set the standard for NFL pregame shows with The NFL Today."
Cross spent nearly 25 years working NFL sidelines from coast to coast. While there, he worked alongside legendary sports broadcasters like Brett Musburger, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder and Phyllis George. In 2009, he became the first Black man to win the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
"He was a true gentleman and a trailblazer in the sports television industry and will be remembered for his accomplishments and the paths he paved for those who followed," McManus added.
In addition to leaving his mark on television, he had a successful NFL career. During his nine-year playing career, Cross suited up for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams. Lining up at defensive back, he made two Pro Bowls.
"No one ever had a bad thing to say about Irv," Musburger tweeted.
"He led the way for African Americans to host NFL and other sports shows. Rest in peace my friend."
Cross was one of 15 children. He leaves behind his wife, Liz, eight siblings, four children and a grandson. No cause of death has been shared with the public.
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