Former Cowboys QB and "Monday Night Football" analyst Don Meredith died on Sunday evening at the age of 72. The news was first reported by the Dallas Morning News. The newspaper stated that Meredith had battled emphysema in recent years and suffered a minor stroke in 2004.
"Don Meredith was a Dallas Cowboys original. His wit, charm, and strength of personality were matched only by his wonderful leadership, toughness and athletic skill," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement released by the team. "His persona defined the Cowboys of the 1960s and set the course for what the franchise became. Throughout 50 years of history, the Cowboys legacy has been built by dynamic and colorful personalities who could also compete at the highest level. No one fit that description better than Don Meredith.
"After guiding this team from expansion franchise to title contender, his charismatic style helped build 'Monday Night Football' to a level of popularity that was unprecedented for sports television in America. Few men have contributed, both on the field and as a broadcaster, to the impact that the NFL currently has on our country today more than Don.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and his spirit will be with Cowboys players and fans forever."
Meredith signed with Dallas in 1959, before the organization had ever played a game, and wound up quarterbacking them for nine seasons, leading the team to the NFL title game in 1966 and '67. Over his career, the quarterback threw 135 touchdowns and was a three-time Pro Bowler.
Upon his retirement following the '68 season, Meredith went into broadcasting, joining the "Monday Night Football" booth with Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell in 1970. Except for three seasons (1974-76) when he worked for NBC, "Dandy Don" was a voice of Monday night and even had his own catchphrase, singing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over" when the game was out of reach for one of the teams.
Meredith left the booth in 1984.