Former Miss America became a trailblazer for women in sports journalism with The NFL Today on CBS
Phyllis George, the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS program The NFL Today and served as the first lady of Kentucky, has died. She was 70.
A family spokeswoman said George died Thursday at a Lexington, Kentucky, hospital after a long fight with a blood disorder.
Named Miss America in 1971, George joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross in 1975 on The NFL Today. George spent three seasons on the live pregame show, returned in 1980 and left in 1983, winning plaudits for her warmth of her interviews with star athletes.
“Phyllis George was special. Her smile lit up millions of homes for the NFL Today,“ Musburger tweeted. “Phyllis didn’t receive nearly enough credit for opening the sports broadcasting door for the dozens of talented women who took her lead and soared.”
From Denton, Texas, George attended the University of North Texas for three years, then went to Texas Christian University after earning a scholarship as Miss Texas in 1970.
The industry discovered her after she co-hosted Candid Camera and the Miss America pageant. She received a 13-week option from CBS in 1974 without a defined role. But a popular interview with reluctant Boston Celtics star Dave Cowens soon earned her a three-year deal and paved the way to her breakthrough role the next year on The NFL Today.
Neal Pilson, a former president of CBS Sports, called George’s hiring as part of The NFL Today team a groundbreaking decision that changed the face of sports television. To read more go to the link below: