Imagine: John Lennon And The Orange Bowl

December 8, 1980 — John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota in New York. If still alive, the ex-Beatle would be 77.

John Lennon’s death was one of those seminal events where you remember exactly how you first heard the tragic news.

That night, I was at the old Orange Bowl in Miami to see the Miami Dolphins face the New England Patriots in Monday night football.

Late in the fourth quarter, famed broadcaster Howard Cosell informed the nationwide audience on ABC-TV that Lennon had been shot.

No public announcement was made at the Orange Bowl. There were no cell phones, no text messages, no wireless Internet to deliver the story.

The game went into overtime, and the Dolphins win 16-13 on a 23-yard field goal by Uwe von Schamann.

It was a beautiful December South Florida night.

After the game, I took a bus back to my car, drove home with the radio off. Still hadn’t heard about Lennon.

The next day, as I was driving in to work the sports desk at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, I turned on the radio. Every station was playing Beatles music and John Lennon songs.

Finally, one of the DJs reported that Lennon had been shot and killed the night before.

At work of course Lennon’s death was the only topic of conversation. I still remember the rock & roll writer at the paper writing his piece on Lennon.

And the story that referred to John as “The Thinking Man’s Beatle.”

John Lennon was just 40 years old when he was killed. Although he is gone, he is still with us in his music.

Happy Birthday, John.

John Lennon and Joe Pepitone: Born The Same Day

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4 Comments on “Imagine: John Lennon And The Orange Bowl”

  1. TC says:

    Rick, my youngest daughter was born in New York Hospital the day before Lennon was killed. In hearing about what had just happened, the nurses there were devastated. Sean Lennon, John and Yoko’s only child, was born at NY Hospital a few years before. The nurses involved said John was a sweet guy and very grateful to the staff. As an aside, the idiot who murdered him was inspired by a hatchet-job article in Esquire about Lennon’s ‘selling out.’

  2. sportslifer says:

    Tom, that’s a great story. It’s interesting how people remember that day, where they were and what they were doing.

  3. elliotluber says:

    Actually, the Cosell announcement was very controversial. They were all tying to convince him to announce it, but he flatly refused, only agreeing to do it when Don Meredith was going to do it instead. Cosell was getting really great press for the announcement so someone leaked the tape where he was refusing to interrupt the game — when made a fool of him for this statement “This is only a football game, but…”

    • SportsLifer says:

      Thanks Elliot. I missed the broadcast since I was at the game, but I do recall Lennon appearing in the booth with Cosell, Dandy Don and Frank Gifford a few years before his untimely death.

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