What happened to Tom Jackson on ESPN, and where is he now?

Joshua Rogers October 4, 2022
What happened to Tom Jackson on ESPN, and where is he now?
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The former Denver Broncos linebacker carved out a stellar broadcasting career post life in the NFL. However, the 71-year-old has not been seen on TV for a while now. So, what happened to Tom Jackson on ESPN, and where is he now?

Tom Jackson is a former NFL linebacker famous for his time with the Denver Broncos, and his role in their Orange Crush Defense.

Jackson was selected by the Broncos in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL draft. He played for the franchise from 1973 to 1986, playing in 191 total games.

His NFL career in more detail

During his career he made three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances (1977-1979) and was a First-Team All-Pro selection twice.

He also helped lead the team to appearances in Super Bowl XII and Super Bowl XXI, although they would lose to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants respectively.

Jackson ranks third only to Jason Elam and John Elway on the team’s all-time list of games played. He was inducted in the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 1992.

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Jackson’s broadcasting career and later retirement

Tom first joined ESPN as one of its first NFL studio analysts in 1987.

Alongside Chris Berman, Jackson worked on Sunday NFL Countdown from 1987 to 2015, earning several Emmy awards along the way.

Johnson’s TV work was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015 when he received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

However, Tom retired from ESPN after the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

At the time he told ESPN: “I have been blessed in my adult life to work for two companies, the Denver Broncos and ESPN, to do two things that I love – play football and talk about football.

“Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying.

“The friendships made are too numerous to mention, but I know that many of them will last a lifetime. I also want to thank all the fans who supported me over the years and made my job so enjoyable.

“This move just comes at a time when the priority of my life is spending time with my family.”

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

He briefly returned to TV in 2019

However, just three years later, Tom returned to NFL Primetime in 2019.

At the time ESPN announced that Berman and Jackson would return for a new digital-only edition of NFL Primetime, streaming weekly throughout the NFL season on ESPN+.

So, what happened to Tom Jackson on ESPN and where is he now?

Many fans were excited at the prospect of seeing Jackson back on their screens in 2019.

However, his stint was short-lived, prompting fans to question what happened to Tom Jackson on ESPN.

Well, in September 2020, Tom announced that he’d be staying away from the studio because of covid.

It’s certainly understandable given Tom’s age (he’s 71), and makes sense that he’d want to limit his chances of coming into contact with covid.

Instead, Berman continues without Tom, and is joined each Sunday by Booger McFarland.

It’s uncertain whether Tom Jackson plans to return to ESPN, if he ever will. For now, though, he continues to live in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife, Jennifer.

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Joshua is a Senior Sports Writer at GRV Media with over five years of experience in online writing and editing. After receiving a BA (Hons) in Ancient History and an MA in Sports Journalism, he became a writer for a leading social publisher with over 7 million Facebook followers. Joshua then joined Reach PLC, covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online and regional publications like the Liverpool Echo. He then moved to a social media marketing agency and content studio, Brave Bison, acting as Website Editor for The Hook. Joshua now oversees all sports content on The Focus, specializing in NBA, NFL, F1, and tennis, while also keeping a close eye on his beloved Manchester United.