Posted November 20, 2013

Dan Dierdorf to retire from broadcasting at the end of the 2013 NFL season

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Dan Dierdorf has worked as an NFL broadcaster since 1984.

Dan Dierdorf has worked as an NFL broadcaster since 1984. (Rick Scuteri/AP)

Dan Dierdorf said he nearly didn’t work as an NFL broadcaster this year.

“The reality is, from a physical standpoint, it’s too much for me, especially the travel,” Dierdorf told SI.com from his home in St. Louis. “I have two artificial knees, two artificial hips, nerve damage in my legs, and it’s a struggle for me to walk. That’s the reality of it. Ask anyone who has seen me go through a press box.”

On Wednesday CBS announced that Dierdorf, the NFL’s longest tenured announcer, will retire from broadcasting at the end of the 2013 season. He has worked as an NFL broadcaster since 1984, a journey that started as a color analyst for KMOX’s Radio coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals and NFL games for CBS Radio Network. Dierdorf had a brief stint with CBS Sports from 1985 to ’87 before joining ABC’s Monday Night Football for 12 years. He returned to CBS Sports in 1999 and currently serves on the No. 2 team with play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel after a long tenure with Dick Enberg.

The 64-year-old Dierdorf said his health and attitude are good but his body is breaking down regarding travel. He said he has been dropping hints for the past year to his friends and colleagues that this would be his last season in the booth and he called CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus last Wednesday to make it official. He will continue to work this season for CBS and will get at least one playoff assignment. Dierdorf praised his on-air partner Gumbel, his producer Mark Wolff and director Bob Fishman, citing them as family. “It was pretty obvious I caught Sean off-guard,” Dierdorf said. “I don’t know why he thought I was calling, but he didn’t think I was calling to tell him that. If another network called me and offered me some spectacular job, I just can’t do it. It’s not realistic. And in some ways it makes it easier. It makes it easier to leave knowing I can’t do it physically.”

Like most broadcasters who worked for such a long tenure — Peter King profiled him for SI in 1991 – Dierdorf had his supporters and detractors. He has been a skilled analyst on line play, but also one prone to talk incessantly during a broadcast. “I am well aware of being criticized in the sense that I have grown kids and they tell me they see this on Twitter or that,” Dierdorf said. “I am relatively unfazed by that. I don’t go on message boards and I don’t have a Twitter account. I understand how it works. Very few people take the time to go on there to say how much they like someone. It’s generally a negative but I also know it is like the old saying — familiarity breeds contempt…. I will tell you the truth: Fifteen or 20 years ago it would have bothered me. Like anyone else, whenever you saw something critical, it hurt your feelings a little bit. But when you have been doing it as long as I have and been on the firing range as long as I have, I have reached a point where I am pretty much unfazed by it.”

Dierdorf said that the advent of high definition television was the biggest broadcasting change in his professional lifetime. “I would tell you from doing my job that it is more difficult now than anytime since I have been doing that and for one reason only –30 years ago the amount of time we had between plays was like forever,” Dierdorf said. “The play clock was 45 seconds and it did not even start until the guys were part-way back to the huddle. You could do two and three relays and you had a long time in between plays to communicate whatever it is you wanted to get across to the viewer. Now, the accelerated play clock, hurry-up offenses, the tempo, you have a lot of quarterbacks that snap the ball with 15 or 20 seconds left on the play clock, and what that means is everything from the analyst perspective has been compressed. Where maybe you used to have 30 or 35 seconds to make a cohesive point, now you might have 10 or 12 seconds. It doesn’t sound like much to a casual viewer, but trust me, it is.”

Dierdorf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 following a 13-year playing career as a standout offensive lineman with the St. Louis Cardinals (he was also a two-time All-Big Ten tackle at the University of Michigan). In 2008, he received the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

“For 43 NFL seasons Dan Dierdorf has been a consummate professional both on the field and in the broadcast booth,” said McManus. “Very few people in any profession can boast a Hall of Fame playing career and Hall of Fame broadcasting career.”

Dierdorf said he will stay involved in the game in some capacity, including possibly working in his hometown in St. Louis. He also wants to work a Michigan game in the radio booth with his college teammate, Jim Brandstatter, the longtime analyst for Michigan football. “I can’t just stare at the walls,” Dierdorf said. “I’m too young for that.”

48 comments
CoryMack
CoryMack

He was really the only analyst I can say I actually enjoyed listening to. Good luck to him in the future.

JudyReese
JudyReese

Thanks for your expertise & hard work. Good luck to you in the future and hope you get to work a Michigan game.

gmoar1350
gmoar1350

What a relief this will be

He actually ruins the game

For me

MikeCollins
MikeCollins

Not the best announcer but he brings a blue collar view off the game

minus40
minus40

I will never forget his shameless self promotion for the HOF while I the MNF booth. I didn't like his announcing style and I say good riddance.

jo_pines@yahoo.com
jo_pines@yahoo.com

Absolute  worst broadcaster ever, actually annoying to listen to most of the times...not sure why these shows think great football players make great broadcasters...  MeShawn Johnson???  Dieon Sanders??? My lunch isnt long enough to list them all!

evanrc
evanrc

You are my favorite broadcaster, best of luck with your future career

JeffreyKrieger
JeffreyKrieger

Look- not saying he does not know football- but listening to him speak is painful. As a broadcaster- just like Simms, and Theismann... Just terrible!!!!!  Thank you for stepping away from the mic!

arizjoe
arizjoe

Dan was a great offensive linemen and  consummate professional who learned all the positions from people like Bo Schembechler and Don Coryell.   He passed on all that knowledge and all that technique to the laymen.

Sure he talked a lot, but he also was very incisive, and occasionally very funny.  Dan Dierdorf was a credit to his hometown of Canton, Ohio.   I will remember his intelligence, humor and what a nice man he was.   You don't hear any NFL people knocking him.  A great guy.

Jonathan T
Jonathan T

I would rather listen to Dierdorf than to listen to Phil Simms any day of the week.  Simms thinks he is so perfect and right about everything.  He can't let Jim Nance get one over on him.  Simms needs to stay at home so no one has to listen to his blabbering.

JubJub
JubJub

Any chance he could take the rest of the CBS team -- and I mean everyone except perhaps Esiason -- with him?

PatrickBatemanVP
PatrickBatemanVP

Title should be "Viewers wont have to mute CBS games next year".

toddknoll402
toddknoll402

i live in pittsburgh, and our local football coverage is awful.   maybe they can retire too.   

EmilyGreenwood
EmilyGreenwood

"I just have to say one of the most  prolific announcers i have ever seen in my life time."

 signed me Dan Deirdorf

kpsmitty
kpsmitty

He was staying in the same hotel as us a few years ago in Seattle and I was shocked at how crippled he was. I realized how later in life how much these guys suffer. 800 hundred mill was a steal for the league and thats only for head injuries not for all the other ailments.

beds0744
beds0744

thank god. one of the biggest blowhards of all time. he must  be related to somebody in the business

GaryOstrowski
GaryOstrowski

Thank god, he was by far one the worst announcers EVER. He was painful to listen to, he may quite possible be mentally handicapped.

DoubleR
DoubleR

class act...THANK YOU Dan for all the great years, you made listening and watching football alot more enjoyable then most who do it today. You brightened the sport of football for many

SS3
SS3

Thank God he's quitting.  Dildorf is one of the most over rated obnoxious broadcasters.  Can't stand him; tv's on mute for any game i watch that he's announcing....

riley8
riley8

No better word in my opinion to describe his announcing style:  pompous.

TomHerrin
TomHerrin

Dan was one of the few commentators I actually learned from. Yes he talked alot, but he helped make more than one announcer tolerable. I, for one, will miss him. Fair winds & following seas, Dan!

dwb_alpha
dwb_alpha

Dan was the only thing that made Greg Gumbel (a.k.a. THIS SIDE/THAT SIDE) games tolerable.  Enjoy retirement, Dan; you are appreciated and will be missed.

BlueZoo
BlueZoo

Anybody here ever see the film of the great Jim Otto awakening and what it takes for him just to get out of bed in the mornings?  It's one of the most painful pieces of film I've ever watched on an NFL player and it must be just like this for Dierdorf, only Otto is far worse off now, as he had to have a leg amputated because of infection from all the hip and joint replacement surgeries he had.  If you don't care for Dierdorf as an announcer, that's fine.  As a fellow human being, however, please have a little compassion for the suffering he has because of what he gave to the game we love.  Do what is right and don't knock a guy when he's down!

TheSportsFly
TheSportsFly

Thank goodness CAPTAIN OBVIOUS is finally calling it a career. He is and has always been among the worst broadcasters out there. He states the obvious as if he just discovered the theory of relativity. I literally turn the volume off when he's calling a game.

RandySandberg
RandySandberg

Dan is/was a great announcer.  He was wonderful on Monday Night Football.  He brought insight as to how the offensive line was played.  He will be missed.

Kevin11
Kevin11

Although he wasn't THAT bad his whole career, he always came across like some guy who was owed something.

2001mark
2001mark

Alas Dan was colourful but his details were so ridiculous... & he always gets so upset & harps on & on at the dumbest things.  

The best don't harp.  Collinsworth, Emrick, Scully, Shulman... they're intelligent enough to simply tell it like it is & move on.

Harold Reynolds, you're next up on the GO AWAY clock.


djhrinak
djhrinak

Good riddance to another arrogant  Michigan ahole  (Oh, sorry, saying someone who went to Michigan is an arrogant ahole is redundant!).

Flanders5600
Flanders5600

Best news of the day.  He's been terrible for quite some time now.  Completely unlistenable.  But I'll miss insights like this gem from him - "Peyton is a magician".    Travesty that he has been on the #2 broadcast team.   These color guys need to learn that you don't need to fill every moment of air space with talking....

DAN B1
DAN B1

I enjoyed him.  Sad to see him go

Eekster
Eekster

Glad to see him get out of the booth. I have always had to turn off the sound when watching a game he broadcasts


rskins09
rskins09

@BlueZoo    I agree but remember they're being  paid very  well for all the pain and suffering .they endure ..Also  know four, five people - co-workers who had hip replacements -- both - who never played   College or Pro  Football ...So just because you play Pro Football doesn't make you doomed to limp the rest of your life .... Some  ex Pro players like to whine  too much ...Mike Webster  whined  about his injuries for  20 years ..What he didn't say was that he was a king size  drunk  and squandered ALL his  money .... Is that are fault  ? ? ..

lsavage66
lsavage66

Exactly. Good guy. Great player. Horrible horrible as an analyst. Sound down. Dan announces as if he invented the game and you've never seen it.

stagger
stagger

@2001mark I'd nominate Verne Lundquist next on the GO AWAY clock...

GoDonkeys7
GoDonkeys7

@2001mark Glad to see Dan going away as well, but as far as Collingsworth goes, to say he doesn't harp on and on, you must not have seen/heard the Broncos/Chiefs game last Sunday.  Chris couldn't stop harping on how well the Chiefs were doing, despite being down two scores most of the game.

Yes, I'm a Broncos fan, but that was just too incessant to be of any worth.

Mike26
Mike26

@djhrinak ARe you still made about 'bout your rejection letter from Ann Arbor Community College?

lsavage66
lsavage66

Let it breathe. Not enough guys do that.

2001mark
2001mark

@Flanders5600 Tired of his 'When you got a guy like Brady/Brees/Manning/Rodgers in your pocket I don't care who you are, you're going places' schtick.  


Mike26
Mike26

@DAN B1 I USED to enjoy him.  That stopped 7-8 years ago when he became overly infatuated with the "elites" and no one else.

Flanders5600
Flanders5600

@DAN B1 Dan Dierdorf, are you posting about yourself on this page?  Because no on else is sad to see you go

Mike26
Mike26

@stagger @2001mark DAnielsen should go with him too - he's so far up the SEC's nether regions it's amazing that you can even understand anything he says....