Brent Musburger will call his final game as a broadcaster in Rupp Arena on Jan. 31 when Georgia plays at Kentucky on ESPN. The 77-year-old legendary broadcaster announced his retirement on Wednesday with a release through ESPN.
Musburger says he’s retiring to Las Vegas to help his family start a sports handicapping business, which comes as no surprise to anyone that’s watched him call a game with not so subtle references to the point spread or total.
“What a wonderful journey I have traveled with CBS and the Disney company,” Musburger said. “A love of sports allows me to live a life of endless pleasure. And make no mistake, I will miss the arenas and stadiums dearly. Most of all, I will miss the folks I have met along the trail.
“But the next rodeo for me is in Las Vegas. Stop by and we’ll share a cold one and some good stories. I may even buy!”
Musburger’s retirement comes suddenly, which is a bit surprising considering he’s such a legendary figure in the industry. Musburger gives less than one week notice to the public for his final game, rather than a year-long swan song like we saw from CBS’ Verne Lundquist this college football season.
Next fall will sound very different for college football fans without Musburger or Lundquist. Lundquist’s disappearance from the college football airwaves brings feelings of sadness and like we’re losing our sweet uncle who always had snacks, Musburger’s departure brings more mixed feelings.
Many of us grew up on Musburger’s calls and have a reverence for him, but it’s impossible to look past the problematic side of Brent. The ogling of women shown in the stands was not so much endearing as it was creepy, and he reached his most problematic during the Sugar Bowl when he tried to stand up for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon right after the video of Mixon punching a woman was released.
Some will speculate that Musburger’s sudden departure is due to that incident, as it does seem strange that he didn’t have a farewell tour across the nation for a final season. Remembering Musburger will be a bit of a tricky balancing. Few things brought a smile to my face more than hearing “you are looking LIVE…” to start a broadcast or him giving Kirk Herbstreit a “Kirk, my man” in the Saturday night booth, but there were the cringe-worthy moments or times where you outright felt embarrassed by Brent.
If Verne Lundquist was the sweet uncle you loved listening to tell stories, then Brent Musburger was your uncle that you remember fondly for sneaking you beers, teaching you to play inside numbers and hard eights, but also would say things that made you feel very uncomfortable at times. So, it feels right that to find him you’ll have to head to Las Vegas.