Former NFL cornerback and football commentator Irv Cross, national television’s first Black man to serve as a sports analyst, passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. Cross was a commentator for CBS for nearly a quarter century between 1971-1994. Cross’ death was mentioned by network brass on Twitter.
“All of us at CBS Sports are saddened by the news of Irv Cross’ passing,” a statement from Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports said. “Irv was a pioneer who made significant contributions to the storied history and tradition of CBS Sports and, along with Phyllis George and Brent Musburger, set the standard for NFL pregame shows with THE NFL TODAY.”
“He was a true gentleman and trailblazer in the sports television industry,” said McManus, “and will be remembered for his accomplishments and the paths he paved for those who followed.”
Fellow sportscaster Brent Musberger offered his words about Cross. Cross played most of his playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles after being drafted in 1961 after playing college football at Northwestern University. Cross was in the Pro Bowl in 1964 and 1965. He would later play a few years with the Rams from 1966 to 1969, when he returned to the Eagles, then later retired.