Born into poverty in Hammond, Indiana, not much was expected from Irvin Acie Cross. But with much hard work and dedication, he put together one of the most incredible life stories imaginable.
After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1961 out of Northwestern University, Cross went on to have a nine-year career in the NFL, appearing in two Pro Bowls. After retiring, he joined the Eagles as a coach, and remained so until 1971 when a rare opportunity came along.
Without any national TV experience, Cross was hired by CBS Sports as an analyst and commentator, becoming the first African American to work full-time as a sports analyst on national television. He then joined NFL Today in 1975 with Brent Musburger, former Miss America Phyllis George, and sports bookie Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, and the show would go on to win thirteen Emmy Awards that first year.