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Brent Musburger

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Brent Musburger
Musburger at Cassell Coliseum in January 2007
Brent Woody Musburger

(1939-05-26) May 26, 1939 (age 85)
Alma materNorthwestern University
Years active1968–present
Arlene Clare Sander
(m. 1963)
FamilyTodd Musburger (brother)

Brent Woody Musburger (born May 26, 1939) is an American sportscaster, currently the lead broadcaster and managing editor at Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN).

With CBS Sports from 1973 until 1990, he was one of the original members of their program The NFL Today and is credited with coining the phrase "March Madness" to describe the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament while covering the Final Four. While at CBS, Musburger also covered the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, the World Series, U.S. Open tennis, and The Masters.

Joining ESPN and ABC Sports in 1990, Musburger continued to cover the NBA Finals, as well as hosting Monday Night Football and providing play-by-play for Saturday Night Football and the SEC Network. He covered the Indianapolis 500 motor race, U.S. Open and British Open golf, the FIFA World Cup in soccer, the Belmont Stakes in horse racing, and the College Football national championship among other big events. In January 2017, he left the ESPN and ABC television networks after 27 years, briefly retiring from play-by-play of live sports before returning as the play-by-play voice of the Las Vegas Raiders from 2018 until 2022.

Raised in Billings, Montana, he is a member of the Montana Broadcaster's Association Hall of Fame.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Musburger was born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in Billings, Montana, the son of Beryl Ruth (Woody) and Cec Musburger.[2][3] He was an umpire for minor league baseball during the 1950s. He was also a boyhood friend of former Major League pitcher Dave McNally. His brother, Todd Musburger, is a prominent sports agent.

Musburger's youth included some brushes with trouble: when he was 12, he and his brother stole a car belonging to their mother's cleaning lady and took it for a joy ride. His parents sent him to the Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota.[3] Educated at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, he was kicked out for a year for owning and operating a car without a license.[3]

Musburger began his career as a sportswriter for the now-defunct Chicago American newspaper, where his editor was the legendary sportswriter Warren Brown. In 1968, Musburger penned a column regarding Tommie Smith and John Carlos's protest of racial injustice in the United States with a Black Power salute on the medal stand during the 1968 Summer Olympics. In it he stated "Smith and Carlos looked like a couple of black-skinned storm troopers" who were "ignoble," "juvenile," and "unimaginative". In a 1999 article in The New York Times, Musburger stated that comparing the two to the Nazis was "harsh", but he stood by his criticism of the pair's action:

Did [Smith and Carlos' action] improve anything? ... Smith and Carlos aside, I object to using the Olympic awards stand to make a political statement.[4]

According to Carlos, Musburger never apologized:

We are talking about someone who compared us to Nazis. Think about that. Here we are standing up to apartheid and to a man in Avery Brundage who delivered the Olympics to Hitler’s Germany. And here’s Musburger calling us Nazis. That got around. It followed us. It hurt us. It hurt my wife, my kids. I’ve never been able to confront him about why he did this. Every time I’ve been at a function or an event with Brent Musburger and I walk towards him, he heads the other way.[5]

Carlos later told Jemele Hill during a 2019 discussion that "Brent Musburger doesn't even exist in my mind. He didn't mean anything to me 51 years ago. He doesn't mean anything to me today. Because he's been proven to be wrong."[6]

In 1968, Musburger began a 22-year association with CBS, first as a sports anchor for WBBM radio and later for WBBM-TV. In the mid-1970s, Musburger moved to Los Angeles and anchored news and sports for KNXT (now KCBS-TV); there he worked alongside Connie Chung as a co-anchor on KNXT's evening newscasts from 1978 until 1980, when he joined CBS Sports full-time.

In 2020, Musburger told the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast that he has always won while betting the length of the Super Bowl national anthem by having his friends attend the rehearsal the day before the game and time it: "Some people have lip-synched it and that was an easy win because that recording is automatic."[7]

CBS Sports (1973–1990)[edit]

Beginning in late 1973, Musburger was doing play-by-play for CBS Sports. He started out doing regular season National Football League games (future The NFL Today co-host Irv Cross was also doing NFL games at that time as well). Musburger was paired with Tommy Mason or Bart Starr, who provided the color commentary. A year later, Wayne Walker would be paired with Musburger in the booth.

By 1975 at CBS, Musburger went from doing NFL play-by-play (and other items, mostly on CBS' Sports Saturday/Sunday programs) to rising to prominence as the host of the network's National Football League studio show, The NFL Today. Suddenly, Musburger began to cover many assignments for CBS Sports. Among the other events he covered, either as studio host or play-by-play announcer, were college football and basketball, the National Basketball Association, horse racing, the U.S. Open (tennis) tournament, and The Masters[8] golf tournament. He would even lend his talents to weekend afternoon fare such as The World's Strongest Man contests and the like. Musburger also called Major League Baseball games for CBS Radio.

The NFL Today[edit]

But it was Musburger's association with The NFL Today that made him famous. During his tenure, CBS' NFL pregame show was consistently the #1 rated pregame show. One of the signatures of the program was Musburger's show-opening teases to the various games CBS would cover, along with live images from the various stadiums. Musburger's accompanying intro to each visual, "You are looking live at ..." became one of his catch phrases. In promoting the network, his voice often tailed off on the last letter of "CBS" ("C.B. eeezz"), creating another catch phrase.

Musburger made headlines when he got into a fist-fight with The NFL Today's betting analyst Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder in a Manhattan bar on October 27, 1980.[9] However, the fist-fight incident was quickly regarded as water under the bridge as the two cheerfully appeared on The NFL Today the following week wearing boxing gloves on camera.[10]

CBS departure[edit]

By the late 1980s, Musburger was CBS's top sportscaster. He was the main host and play-by-play announcer for the NBA Finals, college basketball, college football, the Belmont Stakes, and the College World Series. He also hosted a New Year's Eve countdown for CBS. Musburger is regarded as the first broadcaster to apply the term March Madness to the annual NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournament.[11]

Early in 1990, CBS underwent a significant management change. During the early morning hours of April 1, 1990, Musburger was fired from CBS. His final assignment for CBS came the following evening, doing play-by-play for the 1990 NCAA men's basketball final, which was Duke versus UNLV. When the game was completed, Musburger thanked the audience and CBS Sports, and the analysts that he had worked with through the years like Billy Packer, who was standing next to him.[12]

At the time of his firing (which he originally thought was an April Fools joke), Musburger had been set to handle play-by-play duties for CBS's television coverage of Major League Baseball later that month; he was replaced by Jack Buck[13] in that capacity. His position at The NFL Today was filled by Greg Gumbel. His position as the lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball was filled by Jim Nantz.

ABC Sports and ESPN (1990–2017)[edit]

Following his dismissal from CBS, Musburger considered several offers, including one to return to Chicago and work at WGN-TV, ultimately settling at ABC. With Al Michaels entrenched as ABC's top broadcaster, Musburger focused on college football and basketball. After his hiring, ABC's merger with ESPN under the Disney umbrella allowed him[14] to work on ESPN as well (increasingly since 2006), including Major League Baseball,[15][16][17][18] NBA games, ESPN Radio, golf tournaments, horse racing, the Indianapolis 500, Little League World Series, soccer games, college football, and even some NFL games (including hosting halftime duties for Monday Night Football and Wild Card round games). Musburger was also the main studio host during ABC's coverage of the 1998 World Cup and the 2006 World Cup, was briefly the studio host for ESPN and ABC's NASCAR coverage and has hosted Tour de France coverage for ABC.

Major League Baseball[edit]

In 1995, Musburger called Games 3-5 of the American League Division Series between the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees alongside Jim Kaat for ABC in association with The Baseball Network. The fifth and decisive game went into the bottom of the 11th inning before Edgar Martínez won it for Seattle with a double that scored both Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr., sending them to the League Championship Series for the first time in their franchise's history.

No balls and a strike to Martínez. Line drive, we are tied! Griffey is coming around! In the corner is Bernie. He's going to try to score! Here's the division championship! Mariners win it! Mariners win it!

Musberger's call, dramatic as it was, incorrectly implied that Bernie Williams fielded the double in left. Bernie was playing center field at the time. Gerald Williams was in left field playing the ball and making the late throw back to the infield.

Musburger and Jim Kaat later called Games 1-2 of the 1995 American League Championship Series, while the rest of the games were called by Bob Costas and Bob Uecker on NBC.

College football[edit]

Brent Musburger departs the College GameDay bus in Austin, Texas, in 2006

Musburger's college football duties for ESPN and ABC have included calling seven BCS National Championship games (2000, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014).

Beginning in 2006, Musburger called ABC Sports' college football prime time series, along with analysts Bob Davie and Kirk Herbstreit. Musburger called the 2007 Rose Bowl, taking over for the retired Keith Jackson. He also called games on ESPN during his time at ABC.

During the 2013 BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame, a camera turned to Katherine Webb, who was in the stands cheering for her boyfriend, Alabama quarterback, A. J. McCarron. Musburger, impressed with Webb's beauty, remarked, "I'm telling you, you quarterbacks get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow!" and continued commenting in a similar fashion.[19] The next day, ESPN apologized for his comments, saying they "went too far".[20] The controversy died down quickly afterwards, largely due to Webb stating that she was not bothered at all by Musburger's comments. As the Raiders' new radio broadcaster in 2018, Musburger jokingly revisited the incident with a Twitter post welcoming the now-married McCarrons to Oakland after the Raiders acquired AJ from the Buffalo Bills.[21]

Musburger's involvement with Saturday Night Football concluded when he and Jesse Palmer were named ESPN's lead game commentators for college football coverage on the SEC Network in 2014.[22] Musburger nevertheless called some games on ESPN and ABC after that time.[23][24]

VSIN, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2018–present)[edit]

At the 2017 Sugar Bowl, held in early January, Musburger made controversial comments about then-University of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. Mixon had previously punched and broken a woman's jaw.[25][26]

Later in the same month, Musburger announced that he would retire from play-by-play broadcasting[27][28][29] and would call his final game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on January 31, 2017.[30]

Musburger stated he planned to help his family get a sports handicapping business started in Las Vegas, have a sports gambling show on Sirius XM Radio, and enjoy personal travel.[30][31] The new venture, Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) is the first multichannel network dedicated to sports gambling information and is broadcast from a custom-built studio at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.[32] Musburger serves as managing editor of the network, and hosts its program My Guys in the Desert (a reference to his sly mentions of events of interest to bookmakers during his play-by-play).[33] Musburger and his sons sold VSiN to DraftKings in March 2021 while remaining executives and on-air personalities with the network.[34]

On July 17, 2018, it was reported that Musburger would be making his return to the broadcast booth, this time as the new radio voice for the Oakland Raiders under a three-year contract (which included its inaugural season in Las Vegas in 2020), succeeding Greg Papa.[35][36][37] Musburger continued as announcer through the 2021 season.[38]


Musburger has a down-to-earth manner of speaking, often addressing his viewers as "folks". In a Sports Illustrated profile done on Musburger in January 1984, he stressed his hesitance to "pontificate" during his broadcasts. In 2004, CNN Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel selected him as the second-best college football announcer, behind Ron Franklin. Mandel said of Musburger, "His voice will always be associated with some of the sport's most memorable, modern moments."[39]

Musburger has a reputation for pointing out attractive women in the crowds of the games he calls; among those who later rose to fame include Susan “Busty Heart” Sykes,[40] CJ Perry,[41] Jenn Sterger,[42] and Katherine Webb McCarron.[43]

Other media[edit]

Musburger was a reporter in Rocky II and had his role immortalized in a 2006 action figure.[44] He also played the right leg of the fictional monster Scuzzlebutt on an episode of South Park.[45] He also made cameo appearances in The Main Event and The Waterboy. In Cars 2 and Planes, he played Brent Mustangburger, a fictionalized version of himself. He appeared as himself in the episode "Lying Around" on the ABC sitcom Happy Endings.[46] Musburger is portrayed by John Dellaporta and has a voice cameo as himself in the HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.[47]

Career timeline[edit]


  1. ^ "Brent Musburger (1939 – )". Montana Broadcasters Association. Archived from the original on September 9, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  2. ^ "Brent Musburger Biography (1939-)". www.filmreference.com.
  3. ^ a b c "Not Just A Pretty Face". Sports Illustrated. Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network. January 16, 1984. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Richard Sandomir, Now on Film: Raised Fists And the Yogi Love Letters, The New York Times, August 6, 1999, accessed September 10, 2012.
  5. ^ Dave Zirin, After Forty-four Years, It's Time Brent Musburger Apologized to John Carlos and Tommie Smith, The Nation, June 4, 2012, Accessed September 10, 2012.
  6. ^ Tom Schad, Olympian John Carlos on 1968 Brent Musburger criticism: He 'doesn't even exist in my mind', USA Today, May 30, 2019, Accessed June 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Sports Illustrated Media Podcast". Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  8. ^ Beall, Joel (January 25, 2017). "Remembering Brent Musburger's infamous stint with the Masters and golf coverage". Golf Digest.
  9. ^ "Jimmy 'The Greek' Snyder Dies Vegas Oddsmaker Became Fixture On Cbs Sports, But Was Fired In 1988 For Controversial Remarks". spokesman.com. The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE". Sports Illustrated Vault | Si.com. 2019 TI Gotham Inc., a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation. Sports Illustrated Group. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  11. ^ "Brent Musburger explains history of 'March Madness' name". Sporting News. March 15, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  12. ^ Brent Musburger's Final CBS Appearance 1990 on YouTube
  13. ^ Rusnak, Jeff (April 6, 1990). "Buck In Brent At Cbs". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  14. ^ "Brent bounces back". Entertainment Weekly. June 1, 1990.
  15. ^ Foster, Jason (January 25, 2017). "Remember when Brent Musburger called baseball games?". Sporting News.
  16. ^ Townsend, Mark (January 25, 2017). "Brent Musburger's greatest baseball call was one for the ages". Big League Stew.
  17. ^ Sandomir, Richard (October 10, 1995). "PLAYOFFS 95: TV SPORTS;The Wrong Man in the Baseball Booth". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Rabinowitz, Gershon (October 7, 2015). "Revisiting the 1995 Division Series". Baseball Essential.
  19. ^ Video on YouTube
  20. ^ Hiestand, Michael (January 8, 2013). "ESPN apologizes for remarks about McCarron's girlfriend". USA Today.
  21. ^ Gleeson, Scott (September 3, 2018). "Brent Musburger, now Raiders play-by-play voice, welcomes AJ McCarron's 'beautiful' wife". USA Today.
  22. ^ "Musburger, Palmer lead SEC team". March 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "ESPN/ABC College Football Week 8 Slate: No. 2 Ohio State on ABC's Saturday Night Football and Two Top 25 SEC Matchups in Prime Time - ESPN MediaZone". espnmediazone.com. October 17, 2016.
  24. ^ Groller, Keith. "NCAA Football Bowl TV Schedule with announcers: Brent Musburger back at the Rose Bowl".
  25. ^ Mather, Victor (January 3, 2017). "Brent Musburger's Praise of Joe Mixon, Who Punched Woman in '14, Stirs Outrage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  26. ^ "Brent Musburger to Retire From ESPN Next Week". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 25, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  27. ^ Fang, Ken (January 25, 2017). "THE BRENT MUSBURGER TIMELINE". Awful Announcing.
  28. ^ Weber, Jim (January 25, 2017). "FORCED OUT AT ABC/ESPN, MYSTERIOUS NEW VENTURE TO BE FULLY DISCLOSED ON MONDAY". Awful Announcing.
  29. ^ Lucia, Joe (January 25, 2017). "BRENT MUSBURGER IS RETIRING NEXT WEEK". Awful Announcing.
  30. ^ a b Cindy Boren, ESPN official says the network learned that Musburger was thinking of retiring 10 days, The Washington Post, January 25, 2017.
  31. ^ Brent Musburger to Retire From ESPN Next Week, Associated Press, January 25, 2017.
  32. ^ Deitsch, Richard. "Brent Musburger talks ESPN career, new Las Vegas venture". SI.com. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  33. ^ "SN exclusive: Fox planning sports betting show featuring Charissa Thompson, Brent Musburger, Clay Travis". Sporting News. July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Bumbaca, Chris. "Expanding into content space, DraftKings acquires sports betting broadcast company VSiN". USA Today. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  35. ^ Koo, Ben (July 17, 2018). "Brent Musburger reportedly making return to the announcing booth". Awful Announcing.
  36. ^ "You are looking live … at Brent Musburger's return to the booth with the Raiders". Washington Post. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  37. ^ "Brent Musburger agrees to 3-year deal to be Raiders' radio voice". Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  38. ^ Kudo, Hikaru. "How to Watch Preseason Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams". Sports Illustrated Las Vegas Raiders News, Analysis and More. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  39. ^ Mandel, Stuart (July 21, 2004). "College Football Masters of the Mic". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Archived from the original on August 21, 2004. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  40. ^ "The Ballad of Busty Heart, Boston's Super Fan - Boston Magazine".
  41. ^ "Florida St.'s Cowgirls: Where Are They Now?". Lost Lettermen. September 11, 2013. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  42. ^ Hoppes, Lynn (November 17, 2009). "Catching up with: Jenn Sterger". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  43. ^ Pilon, Mary (January 8, 2013). "Musburger Criticized for Remarks About Star's Girlfriend During Title Game". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  44. ^ "Musburger animates Cars 2 - ESPN Front Row". June 24, 2011.
  45. ^ "Scuzzlebutt". June 18, 1998.
  46. ^ Murschel, Matt (November 3, 2011). "Brent Musburger makes cameo on ABC's 'Happy Endings'". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 27, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  47. ^ "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty - Full Cast & Crew - IMDB". IMDb. April 18, 2022.
  48. ^ "Bowl Championship Series - Musburger, Brent". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 18, 2000.
  49. ^ a b c Reiss, Craig (June 1, 1990). "Brent bounces back". Entertainment Weekly.
  50. ^ "I want my Musburger TV". CNN. June 25, 2004. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  51. ^ Pierce, Scott D. (January 12, 2007). "Scott D. Pierce: Move over, football, hoops: NASCAR is back on ESPN". Deseret News.
  52. ^ "Brent Musburger Sports Betting Articles". VSiN. February 7, 2024.


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