Collinsworth in 2017
|Born:||January 27, 1959|
|Height:||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Weight:||192 lb (87 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1981 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Anthony Cris Collinsworth (born January 27, 1959) is an American sports broadcaster and former professional American football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons, all with the Cincinnati Bengals, during the 1980s. He played college football for the University of Florida, and was recognized as an All-American. He is currently a television sportscaster for NBC, Showtime, and the NFL Network and winner of 15 Sports Emmy Awards. He is also the owner of Pro Football Focus, a sports statistic monitoring service.
Collinsworth was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Abraham Lincoln "Abe" Collinsworth (who was born on Abraham Lincoln's birthday) and his wife, Donetta Browning Collinsworth. Abe, known as "Lincoln" in high school, was one of the top scorers in Kentucky high school basketball history and played for the Kentucky Wildcats "Fiddling Five" that won the 1958 national championship. Both of Cris's parents were educators; Donetta was a teacher, and Abe was a high school teacher and coach who later became a principal and eventually the superintendent of schools for Brevard County.
The family, which also included Cris's older brother Greg, moved to Titusville, Florida from Ohio in 1963, when Cris was four years old. He grew up there, and he and his brother attended Astronaut High School while their father was the principal. Cris Collinsworth was a high school football All-American quarterback and the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A 100-yard-dash state champion for the Astronaut War Eagles in 1976.
Collinsworth's combination of height and speed attracted the attention of college football programs throughout the South, and he accepted an athletic scholarship from coach Doug Dickey to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Though he was recruited as a run-first quarterback for the Gators' option offense, Collinsworth threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Gaffney against the Rice Owls in his first game, a toss which remains tied for the longest touchdown pass in NCAA history.
Florida had struggled to score in Collinsworth's freshman season of 1977, so Coach Dickey decided to transition his team from a run-oriented offense to a more balanced pro set attack for 1978. Collinsworth was moved to wide receiver, where his new position coach was former Gator quarterback Steve Spurrier in his first year as a coach. Though Florida's offense did not improve enough to save the jobs of Dickey or his coaching staff, Collinsworth flourished in his new role. He was named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and was named both a first-team All-American and a first-team Academic All-America in 1980. Collinsworth was a senior captain on the 1980 Gator team that posted the biggest one-year turnaround in NCAA Division I football history at the time, improving to 8-4 after posting a 0-10-1 record in 1979, Charlie Pell's first season as Florida's head coach. Collinsworth finished his collegiate career by being named the MVP of the 1980 Tangerine Bowl.
During his career at Florida, Collinsworth caught 120 passes for 1,937 yards. He scored 14 touchdowns receiving, two rushing, one on a kickoff return, and threw two touchdown passes. He also returned 30 kickoffs for 726 yards for an average of 24.2 yards per return. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1981 and was inducted into the University of Florida Student Hall of Fame the same year. He was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1991, and as part of a recognition of 100 years of Florida football in 2006, The Gainesville Sun recognized him as the No. 12 all-time Gator player.
Collinsworth was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round (37th pick overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft, and spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Bengals. He surpassed 1,000 yards receiving four times (in 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986) and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1981, 1982 and 1983. At six feet, five inches in height, Collinsworth often created mismatches against much smaller cornerbacks. In addition to his height advantage, Collinsworth was a legitimate deep threat due to his speed.
In Super Bowl XVI, Collinsworth caught five passes for 107 yards, but committed a costly second quarter fumble when he was hit by San Francisco defensive back Eric Wright. The fumble would be immediately followed by a 92-yard 49ers touchdown drive, and San Francisco won 26-21.
In 1985, Collinsworth signed with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League (USFL), but the contract was voided when he failed the physical due to a bad ankle. He returned to the Bengals and played for them until the end of the 1988 season, catching three passes for 40 yards in Super Bowl XXIII, the final game of his career. He finished his eight-season NFL career with 417 receptions for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns in 107 games.
After his retirement as an NFL player, Collinsworth began a broadcasting career as a sports radio talk show host on Cincinnati station WLW. Initially, he was a guest host for Bob Trumpy (also a Bengals alumnus), but took over the show full-time as Trumpy accepted more television assignments. He then became a reporter for HBO's (now Showtime's) Inside the NFL in 1989.
In 1998, Collinsworth joined the NFL on Fox team after NBC lost their broadcast rights to CBS. After several years as a color commentator on the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show, Collinsworth was assigned to the network's lead game broadcasting crew (teaming with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman) in 2002. He worked on Fox's Super Bowl XXXIX telecast three years later. Collinsworth was also the host of the television show Guinness World Records Primetime during his stay at Fox.
In 2006, Collinsworth could be seen on three networks during football season. In addition to co-hosting Inside the NFL on HBO, he returned to NBC as a studio analyst for that network's Sunday night NFL coverage and did color commentary on the NFL Network. He also served as color commentator for NFL Network Thursday night games (and one Saturday-night game) alongside play-by-play man Bryant Gumbel and Bob Papa.
In the NBC broadcasts of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Collinsworth appeared alongside Bob Costas as a commentator on numerous occasions. Collinsworth and Costas paired again during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. He also continued his work on Inside the NFL when it debuted on its new home on Showtime.
Collinsworth was the color commentator for Super Bowl LII, where he suffered backlash due to his supposed biased commentary to the New England Patriots. On the two touchdowns that led to replay reviews, Collinsworth said that both would be overturned even though both stood. He was criticized after failing to notice Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz became a runner. He also said that he gave up on the replay reviews. Fans were less than pleased at his commentary. A couple days later, Al Michaels defended Collinsworth, saying that it was the rules that were at fault and not Collinsworth.
Collinsworth received a Sports Emmy Award in April 1998 as "Outstanding Studio Analyst" and his second in 1999. In 2001, he was inducted into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame. He was also recognized with his third and fourth Sports Emmy Awards in 2003 and 2004 as "Outstanding Sports Personality/Studio Analyst." In May 2006, he added a fifth with an Emmy Award again in the category "Outstanding Sports Personality/Studio Analyst" for his work on HBO. Collinsworth served as a correspondent for NBC Sports coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Collinsworth earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1991. He lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, with his wife, Holly (Bankemper) Collinsworth, an attorney, and their four children. His son, Austin Collinsworth, is a former football player and team captain at the University of Notre Dame. Another son, Jac, also attended Notre Dame and was a features reporter for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown before joining his father at NBC, where he alternates with Mike Tirico and Liam McHugh as a co-host on Football Night in America.
On March 12, 2011, it was reported that Collinsworth was among 83 people rescued from Jeff Ruby's Waterfront restaurant in Covington, Kentucky, when the floating restaurant tore loose from its moorings and began to drift on the Ohio River, only to be stopped by the Brent Spence Bridge that links Ohio to Kentucky. Collinsworth also has a steak named after him by the same restaurant.