Former NFL Today host Phyllis George dies
By: Mike Stiles - Monday, May 18, 2020

Phyllis George (center) with (left to right) Brent Musburger and Irv Cross (photo courtesy of reddit.com)

(UNDATED) - Phyllis George, the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS' "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. Her children, Lincoln Tyler George Brown and CNN White House correspondent Pamela Ashley Brown, remembered George as "the most incredible mother we could ever ask for." Miss America in 1971, George joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross in 1975 on "The NFL Today." Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder later was added to the cast. Musberger tweeted that "Phyllis George was special. Her smile lit up millions of homes for the NFL Today". Musburger also says "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.'' Each Sunday afternoon, "The NFL Today" aired three live versions of the half-hour pregame show; one at 12:30 p.m. ET for the East, another at 1:30 ET for Midwest stations and again at 3:30 ET for the West Coast, in addition to brief halftime breaks during the long afternoon. George spent three seasons on the live pregame show, returned in 1980 and left in 1983, winning plaudits for the warmth of her interviews with star athletes. She also covered horse racing, including the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, hosted the entertainment show "People" and co-anchored the "CBS Morning News." She was briefly married to Hollywood producer Robert Evans in the mid-1970s and to John Y. Brown Jr. from 1979 to 1998. Brown owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and the NBA's Boston Celtics and served as the governor of Kentucky. From Denton, Texas, George attended the University of North Texas for three years then went to TCU after earning a scholarship as Miss Texas in 1970. In her 2002 memoir, George wrote that a male friend told her sportscasting wouldn't work because it was a man's job. George even acknowledged knowing nothing about the industry and having no experience or another female mentor to follow.