CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

Whoa, Nellie! Keith Jackson talks Cosell, college football and cotton

"Howard did throw up all over Meredith's cowboy boots," he recalls of that tumultuous night in the "MNF" booth.

"It was 28 degrees in Philly and Cosell had been drinking for three hours," he says.

Jackson says he never got nervous before a telecast, yet kept a slip of paper in his pocket with a few prompts, because he'd seen other broadcasters freeze during openings, and those slips of paper would become a security blanket.

Any other tips for today's broadcasters?

"They talk too damn much," he says. "You wear the audience out."

And, even more importantly:

"You must tell the truth," he says of both broadcasters and coaches. "You must be truthful to yourself and the values of the game that got you there."

In the meantime, the Rose Bowl game is marking its centennial this year. Let's hope its organizers, and Jackson's old employers at ABC/ESPN, make the most of him on this anniversary. After all, he's getting around pretty well these days.

And like the Rose Bowl itself, he'll always be the granddaddy of them all.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

twitter.com/erskinetimes

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