Last weekend was a significant lifetime moment for two of my colleagues at Fox Sports.
Jimmy Johnson, the former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and John Lynch, who was my partner on NFL telecasts for two years, were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Finally, John Lynch HOF
The week started with a special presentation by Fox Sports paying homage to my career after announcing my retirement in March.
Originally, when asked to appear at the football seminar, I was reluctant to do so. Not masquerading under the guise of false humility, which I abhor, I wanted to leave my retirement after a long five-plus decade as a broadcaster simply and quietly, with little fanfare.
But my boss, Eric Shanks, Fox Sports CEO, and Executive Producer, insisted that I show up one last time at our gathering of 200 broadcasters and production crew to see them in person and say a few words.
In retrospect, it was a lifetime highlight.
The edited videotape package which lasts a bit more than 12 minutes can be viewed on my website, DStockton.com or by clicking here: [Dick Stockton Tribute Video Link]
I am proud of the way it was put together, edited brilliantly by a master at his craft, PT Navarro, who produces all the non-game elements of every one of Fox Sports’ major events, and was my producer of NFL games for three of my 27 seasons with the company.
Viewing it, I never put it into the context of the many events I covered, but was overwhelmed at the volume of partners I had in so many events.
It showed the likes of Matt Millen, my partner for my first eight years at Fox, Troy Aikman, Darryl Johnston, Mark Schlereth, Charles Davis, Tim McCarver, at Fox, Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, Hubie Brown, Kevin Loughery, Jim Kaat, John Madden, Hank Stram, and Paul Warfield at CBS.
Troy presents Jimmy
It included special appearances by Joe Buck, Al Michaels, Bob Costas, John Lynch, Brent Musburger, Johnny Bench, Pat Riley, and Fox’ first Executive Producer Ed Goren, who brought me over from CBS where not every assignment was a bed of roses.
It was presented by decades, and it started with a tribute by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II on my time in the late 60’s in Pittsburgh.
Art Rooney II
It wound up with still photographs from my collection, provided by my great wife Jamie, and her own comments at the finish.
With the strains of Frank Sinatra singing “Young at Heart”, in the background, the emotion of it all was revived up. And with the two of us smiling together in a black and white picture, everyone knew, especially me, why it was easy to step away and go on and continue to enjoy our life together.
I then spoke to the throng, telling stories of experiences with some of those I worked with, and explained what I would miss in retirement.
It wouldn’t be the games. I will remember some of the sterling moments, but not all of the contests.
It wouldn’t be the athletes, believe it or not. Some provided those remarkable instances.
They would come and go.
But the people I worked with, week in and week out, year in and year out, they would be missed.
And especially the company. Fox Sports.
They weren’t even a full-fledged network when they won the rights to the NFL in 1994.
They are, to me, the best to do it.
And they are finest I ever worked with.
There is an air of fun and enjoyment everyone feels who toils for Fox Sports. I said I wished everyone in our business could work at Fox once time in their careers.
Why? Simple. They allow you to do your job without second-guessing.
They support your efforts. They don’t shower you with praise, or criticize off-moments of a telecast.
They let you do your job.
That’s what they did with me for 27 years.
And I will be forever grateful.