August 27, 2013, 5:17 pm
Irv Cross played eight years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams. After a great career in the NFL that included two Pro Bowls, Cross became the first full-time African American sportscaster and he went on to a legendary career in sports broadcasting. He joined Chad on Flight 750 Tuesday to talk about his great career and his work with the Pro Football Retired Players Association.
“I never really gave a whole lot of thought at the time. I just wanted to come in and do the best job I could. And hopefully if I did a good enough job it might open up opportunities for other people. And as it turned out, that’s exactly what happened.”
Cross also talked about the misunderstood perception of his former broadcasting partner Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder.
“Jimmy was accused of being a racist. He was not. I mean the guy had a heart as big as the room you’re sitting in. For him, his handshake was as good as a signed contract. And I think that he was really hurt when he did misstate that blacks were born to be able to jump higher and run faster and all that kind of stuff, but he had seen that somewhere else and simply repeated it. But Jimmy for years had given an awful lot of money to various non-profit organizations, particularly with African Americans to help them with scholarship aid. And he had a very big, generous heart.”
Cross also talked about being around some of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. In his mind, it’s hard to say that Joe Montana is anything but the best QB ever.
“I’ve been around some great quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Norm Van Brocklin…Joe was tough as nails and people didn’t seem to realize that. He was a real tough guy and smart as heck and just had a great delivery. He told me once, 'I like to throw the ball into a basket and pretend that that’s Jerry making a circle with his hands. And that’s what I’m trying to hit.' He was very accurate. He was a good athlete. He was a good high jumper. He just had great skills.”
And finally Cross talked about his work with the Pro Football Retired Players Association and the Greater Good Fund.
"We needed to get a pool of money to be able to direct it to the players who really need it. I’m talking about guys who really need it. There’s people who say they made a lot of money but they blew it. Well in some cases, that’s true, but in some cases you just made bad decisions – You save your money, you go into business, your business fails, then all of a sudden one thing leads to another and you have a lot problems. What we wanted to do is have a pool of money set aside to be able to meet that need for those guys to help those players and their families through real tough times. That’s what’s called our Greater Good Fund.”
This was honestly one of the best interviews we’ve ever had
on the show. So do yourself a favor and
check it out and for more information be sure to check out www.profootballretiredplayersassociation.com.