Wednesday, December 08, 2010

30 Years Since Lennon's Death

Thirty years ago today Mark David Chapman shot Beatle John Lennon to death outside his Dakota apartment in New York City. The news of Lennon's murder was most prominently told to the country by sports announcer Howard Cosell on ABC's Monday Night Football.

Thirty years can dull a person's memory of an event and they certainly did mine. Until I researched Lennon's death this morning, I had completely forgotten that one of the contestants in "that" Monday night football game was the New England Patriots. On that now infamous night the Pats lost to the Dolphins in overtime 16 to 13.

Here is a brief summary of the game from wikipedia...

The Dolphins got revenge in a 16-13 overtime win at the Miami Orange Bowl. The Patriots clawed to a 13-6 lead in the fourth quarter, then the Dolphins forced overtime with a David Woodley throw to Nat Moore in the fourth, then Uwe von Schamann won it with a 23-yard field goal in the extra quarter.

Chapman fired five hollow point bullets at Lennon missing him once and hitting him four times. Two bullets hit Lennon in the left lung immediately adjacent to the aorta. After being hit the ex-Beatle staggered a few steps then fell to the ground and bled to death. When Lennon arrived at the Roosevelt Hospital he was pronounced "dead on arrival" at 11:15 PM.

The announcement itself of John Lennon's death by Cosell was somewhat surrounded by confusion and controversy.

Yoko Ono begged the hospital not to report that Lennon was dead until she had informed their son, Sean, who was at home at the time. Not knowing of this request, it so happened that a reporter from ABC's New York affiliate, Alan Weiss, was in Roosevelt Hospital following a motorcycle accident, and confirmed that Lennon was dead. He called ABC News, who relayed the news to Roone Arledge, the executive producer of ABC's nationally-televised Monday Night Football. The confirmation was overheard by Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford, who were calling a game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. In a brief conversation amongst themselves during a timeout, Cosell expressed apprehension over reporting Lennon's death on-air, but Gifford convinced him it was the right thing to do. Coming out of the commercial, after a brief set-up by Gifford, Cosell made the announcement: (wkikipedia)
Below is Cosell's sad announcement to the world.

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