USA TODAY Sports
The world has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. (Hell, that has changed dramatically over the past four years. And over the past four months.)
On the evening of December 8, 1980, few vehicles other than word of mouth spoken word in wall phones existed to quickly spread the news. That night, Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon outside Lennon’s apartment building in New York City.
The announcement came courtesy of Howard Cosell of Monday night football. Here’s a great look behind the scenes to the decision-making process that led Cosell to break the news.
“Remember, this is just a football game, it doesn’t matter who wins or loses,” Cosell said that night. “An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed by ABC News in New York. John Lennon, outside his apartment building on New York’s West Side, perhaps the most famous of all The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead in His arrival. Difficult to return to the game after this information flash, which we have to assume as part of the duty. ”
The game had three seconds left in settlement, with the Patriots and Dolphins tied at 13. New England kicker John Smith trotting the field to prepare for a winning field goal provided the context for the game. Cosell’s narration. Miami blocked Smith’s kick, and the Dolphins won on a first possession basket in overtime, 16-13.
“The press was talking about two things [after the game]”Smith told ESPN.com in 2010,” the fact that we lost the game and had a lead in the fourth quarter, then that changed for John Lennon. It puts things in perspective.
It put things in perspective for the millions of people who learned of Lennon’s murder while watching the game. And it sparked several days of shock and disbelief across the country and beyond.
The Beatles became a global phenomenon in the early 1960s, a prolific, revolutionary and charismatic quartet who revolutionized popular music. It is strange to think that this will be news for some who read these words.