Dan Dierdorf was a six-time NFL Pro Bowler and made a fine transition into his broadcasting career. That chapter of the 64-year-old's life ended in retirement on Saturday, Jan. 11, following the New England Patriots' 43-22 divisional playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium.
The impressive, seamless transition Dierdorf made from the gridiron for the St. Louis Cardinals franchise from 1971-83 to television won him widespread acclaim. In 2008, he won the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-TV Award—a prestigious accolade for excellence in broadcasting.
For the Canton, Ohio, native, being enshrined as a player in the class of 1996 had to be a dream come true, but Dierdorf's prowess as an analyst was recognized as being similarly exceptional.
Even without any affiliation with their organization, the Patriots honored Dierdorf during the game, per ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss:
As Saturday's game ended on the air, Dierdorf expressed his gratitude for CBS and how it was essentially his destination of choice as a sportscaster:
That was something Dierdorf didn't expect or want to happen during the game, per The Boston Globe's Chad Finn on Friday, Jan. 10:
I don't think we're doing anything because this is about playoff football, the Colts and the Patriots, not about me. That would make me uncomfortable. This is a playoff football game. That's where our focus should be. The NFL is going to go on without me being in a booth every Sunday. I would not want to clutter the end of a game by making it about me.
However, Dierdorf's partner, Greg Gumbel, decided to take time to acknowledge Dierdorf's legacy in the final minutes of the contest, which was appropriate since the outcome was well in hand.
ESPN's Mike Greenberg and plenty of other personalities and sports journalists paid tribute to Dierdorf as his constant 43-year career came to a close:
It's difficult to imagine Dierdorf not being associated with the NFL and weighing in with his opinion after so many years in the spotlight.
However, he has put in many consecutive years in a row and can enjoy his retirement with a rare combination of having massively successful careers on and off the field.