Cris Collinsworth
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Cris Collinsworth

Cris Collinsworth
refer to caption
Collinsworth in 2017
No. 80
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1959-01-27) January 27, 1959 (age 62)
Dayton, Ohio
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school:Astronaut
(Titusville, Florida)
NFL Draft:1981 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:6,698
Yards per reception:16.1
Receiving touchdowns:36
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 16 Sports Emmy Awards.[1] He is also the majority owner of Pro Football Focus.[2]

Early life

Collinsworth was born in Dayton, Ohio,[3] the son of Abraham Lincoln "Abe" Collinsworth (who was born on Abraham Lincoln's birthday) and 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.[4]

The Collinsworth family, including Cris and his younger brother Greg, moved from Ohio to Melbourne, Florida in 1963, when Cris was four years old.[4] They moved to nearby Titusville in 1972 where he and his brother attended Astronaut High School while their father was the principal.[4][5] Cris was successful in multiple sports for the Astronaut War Eagles, and during his senior year in 1976, he won the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A 100-yard-dash state championship and was named a high school All-American quarterback.[6]

College career

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.[7] 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.[7]

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.[8][7] 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.[7] 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.[9][10][11]

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.[7] He also returned 30 kickoffs for 726 yards for an average of 24.2 yards per return.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14][15][16]

Professional career

Collinsworth was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round (37th pick overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft,[17] and spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Bengals.[18] In his first season, Collinsworth was the team's leading receiver and set the Bengals franchise record for receptions by a rookie with 67, the most by an NFL rookie wide receiver in 21 years.[19] 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 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) in height, Collinsworth often created mismatches against much smaller cornerbacks. In addition to his height advantage, he was a legitimate deep threat due to his speed.

In Super Bowl XVI, Collinsworth caught five passes for 107 yards,[20] 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 through 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.[3]

Broadcasting career

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.[21]

In 1990, he became a part of the NBC network's NFL broadcasts, as well as some of the college programming.[22] He joined the NBC pregame show in 1996.[22]

In 1995, he appeared on HBO broadcasting at Wimbledon with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, and Barry MacKay.

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.[22] He worked on Fox's Super Bowl XXXIX telecast three years later.[22] Collinsworth was also the host of the television show Guinness World Records Primetime during his stay at Fox.[22]

In 2006, Collinsworth could be seen on three networks during football season.[22] 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.[22] 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.[22]

In the NBC broadcasts of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Collinsworth appeared alongside Bob Costas as a commentator on numerous occasions.[22] Collinsworth and Costas paired again during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.[22] He also continued his work on Inside the NFL when it debuted on its new home on Showtime.[22]

Collinsworth is also the color commentator on Madden NFL 09 and Madden NFL 10 with Tom Hammond, as well as in Madden NFL 11 and Madden NFL 12 with Gus Johnson.

In 2009, Collinsworth filled the color-commentator role vacated by John Madden on NBC's Sunday Night Football,[23] and as of 2020 is in his twelfth season of the high-profile telecast.

Collinsworth was the host of Inside the Vault on WGN America.[22]

Collinsworth is on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.[24]

Collinsworth was the color commentator for Super Bowl LII, where he suffered backlash due to his supposed biased commentary favoring 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.[25] A couple days later, Al Michaels defended Collinsworth, saying that it was the rules that were at fault and not Collinsworth.[26]

Awards and honors



Personal life

Collinsworth earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1991.[22] He lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, with his wife, Holly (Bankemper) Collinsworth, an attorney, and their four children.[22] His son, Austin Collinsworth, is a former football player and team captain at the University of Notre Dame.[27] 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 and hosts NASCAR on NBC Coverage as the host or features reporter on site from the tracks.[28][29]

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.[30] Collinsworth also has a steak named after him by the same restaurant.[31]

See also


  1. ^ "Cris Collinsworth wins 15th Emmy, gets animated".
  2. ^ Best, Neil (October 10, 2015). "Cris Collinsworth liked using Pro Football Focus, so he bought it". Newsday. Melville, New York. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b, Players, Cris Collinsworth. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Abraham Lincoln Collinsworth's Obituary on FloridaToday". FloridaToday.
  5. ^, Players, Cris Collinsworth Archived February 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  6. ^ "Astronaut High's Cris Collinsworth; Winner Of Multiple Emmy Awards, NFL Pro Bowler". January 16, 2017. Retrieved 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 82, 87, 91, 96, 99, 100, 124, 127, 139, 143-145, 147-150, 158, 159, 162, 165, 173, 180 (2011). Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  8. ^ "Spurrier Joins Gator Staff". The Naples Daily News. UPI. December 21, 1977. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Otterson, Chuck (December 21, 1980). "Gators Roll To Victory In Tangerine". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2017 – via
  10. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1980-1984 Archived November 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  11. ^ Norm Carlson, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 95-96 (2007).
  12. ^, College Football, Cris Collinsworth Archived October 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  13. ^ University of Florida, Student Affairs, Hall of Famers. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  14. ^ Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 12 Cris Collinsworth," The Gainesville Sun (August 22, 2006). Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  15. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  16. ^ "Seven to be inducted into UF Hall of Fame," The Gainesville Sun, p. 8C (April 4, 1991). Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  17. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1981 National Football League Draft. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  18. ^ National Football League, Historical Players, Cris Collinsworth. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  19. ^ Green, Ted (January 23, 1982). "Center stage". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). (Los Angeles Times). p. 2B.
  20. ^ "Super Bowl XVI - San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals - January 24th, 1982 -".
  21. ^ Shapiro, Leonard (September 17, 2008). "Collinsworth Finds New Life on Showtime's 'Inside the NFL'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Cris Collinsworth Bio". NBC Sports. Archived from the original on December 25, 2009. Retrieved 2011.
  23. ^ Weprin, Alex (April 16, 2009). "Cris Collinsworth Tapped To Replace Madden". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved 2011.
  24. ^ "Our Board of Directors". Jefferson Awards for Public Service. 2010. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved 2013.
  25. ^ Reinhard, Katherine (February 5, 2018). "Fans call for head of Cris Collinsworth over 'bias' play-by-play". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ Tornoe, Rob (February 8, 2018). "Al Michaels defends Cris Collinsworth on Super Bowl catch calls: NFL must 'clean this up'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ University of Notre Dame, Football, Roster, Austin Collinsworth Archived June 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  28. ^ "Jac Collinsworth Joins ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown". Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "Mike Tirico will fill in for Al Michaels during Sunday Night Football 'bye weeks'". Retrieved 2020.
  30. ^ Michael McCarthy, "Cris Collinsworth rescued from runaway floating restaurant," USA Today (March 12, 2011). Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  31. ^ "Cris Collinsworth among 83 rescued". ESPN. Retrieved 2013.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Madden
NFL on Fox lead game analyst
(with Troy Aikman)

Succeeded by
Troy Aikman
Preceded by
John Madden
NBC Sunday Night Football
game analyst

Succeeded by

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