Randy Cross

3 Super Bowl Rings, CBS Sports Announcer, Shot Put Record Holder & More

Season  1Episode  681 MinutesDecember 20, 2023
Click to Watch Youtube Video

Step into the captivating world of the Interesting Humans podcast as host Jeff Hopeck delves deep into the riveting life of Randy Cross, a gridiron gladiator who transcended the bounds of the NFL to conquer the airwaves as a revered CBS Sports broadcaster.

Join us as Randy unveils the exhilarating odyssey from his early days as a second-round draft pick to the pinnacle of sporting glory, clinching three Super Bowl rings alongside the legendary Joe Montana.

But it’s not just about touchdowns and trophies; Randy opens up about the driving force behind his success – his unwavering dedication to family – and offers insights into the remarkable chapter he’s scripting in his life today.

Don’t miss out on this spellbinding journey through the highs and lows of Randy’s extraordinary life and career. Tune in now and prepare to be enthralled!


Key takeaways from Randy:

  1. Learn how to be adaptable. Being versatile can open up more opportunities and help you navigate through various challenges.
  2. Perseverance is crucial, especially when faced with adversity. Life often presents challenges, but with perseverance and resilience, you can overcome them and achieve your goals.

 

Tune in to hear more inspiring stories from fascinating individuals.

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Timestamps:

0:00 – Drafted in the second round.
04:52 – Baseball interest from an early age.
05:41 – Starting at a new school.
15:09 – Multi-sport athletes and college recruitment.
23:39 – Mentors during his high school years.
25:01 – Playing football and doing track.
26:13 – Weightlifting and Track & Field.
31:19 – Speed and timing in shotput.
35:15 – Medical malpractice insurance business.
37:30 – Weightlifting and side jobs.
43:24 – The draft call experience.
47:52 – Coaching changes in the NFL.
53:37 – Playing for Jeff.
56:55 – Versatility in sports.
01:03:26 – Retirement and Super Bowl memories.
01:09:29 – Podcasting and diverse topics.
01:11:19 – The evolution of player safety.
01:15:32 – Talking about football chemistry.
01:19:16 – John Madden and CBS sports.


Transcript:

Testing. What’s that? He goes, well, you do pull ups, chin ups, bench press. How many, you know, maxes at two and a quarter. So I did one pull up. I did two chin ups and I did two reps at two and a quarter. And that’s really not very good, especially for a guy that’s got drafted in the second round.  And I’m walking out of the weight room and Manny looks at me and goes, are you trying to get me fired?

I said, coach, that’s the best I can do. I’ve never lifted weights. He looks at me and goes, why didn’t you tell me that when we’re drafting?  I might’ve, I might’ve done something else to be honest with you. But I went out and I saw I ran at that 40, like four, seven, five. And he looks at me and he goes, okay, you may not get me fired.

He goes, but you better be pretty damn good.

Hello everyone. You’re listening to the interesting humans podcast. I’m Jeff Hopech, your host. And today we have Randy cross on the show. Some may know him by his three super bowl rings with Joe Montana. Others may know him as CBS sports broadcaster, or even the Randy cross podcast. I know Randy from walking our Siberian Huskies together.

We played golf the very first time that I ever joined a country club of the South in 2010. We’re neighbors, we’re friends, but most of all, Randy’s a passionate family man and truly. An interesting human. All right, Randy, thanks so much for being here today. We’re going to have such a great show.

Thank

you.

It’s my pleasure. Let’s start off

anywhere. Where are you at in life

now?  Um, I, you know, be honest with you. I’m I’m in a place that it’s kind of uncharted territory. Um, for at least recent generations of the males in my family. Uh, cause my dad passed away at 60. He was born 24, 67.  His dad passed away real early.

He was like 30 when he died. Um,  you know, I’m almost 70, I’ll be 70 in April  and, you know, I feel good working out, still working, still working with CBS, doing the football thing.  Um, I’ve got, you know, something that’s been unusual for me is I only have one job  because I’ve always done a lot of different things at the same time.

And I’m, you know, my podcast. You know, the Randy Cross  podcast is getting going again in January, so I’ll be ramping that back up. Good. Yeah. That’s exciting. So that’s kind of in a nutshell, that’s kind of where I’m at. I’ve got two granddaughters and all my kids, you know,  you know, you’re, you’re familiar with Kelly and Crystal and Brendan, they’re all back in the city.

They’re all living here again. Yeah. Congratulations. Which is great. That’s awesome. You know, and they’ve all recently bought new homes.  So you’re

seeing them a great bet, seeing the

grandkids. Yeah, well, Patrice gets to see them a lot.  Football season. I don’t get to see anybody a lot  because of my schedule during football.

I’m home Wednesday afternoons. and Sunday afternoons. Yeah. Awesome. And the rest of the fall. You’re out. I’m going to the airport or coming home from the airport somewhere or going to a game or going somewhere. So yeah, it’s pretty

crazy. Special. That’s awesome. Well, thank you. So I want to go all the way back to young Randy childhood.

Let’s talk about, um, what, what was that like? What are some early memories you might have from growing up?

My earliest is kind of only a semi memory.  Uh, and part of it’s, I think, by virtue of the fact that I’ve seen old pictures.  Um, cause I was born in Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.  So, my dad was acting on Broadway, and in an old, it used to be called Playhouse 90.

It was basically early television is what that was, and it was all live stuff and it was all plays and some of the great actors and directors and everybody were working in New York at this time doing that stuff. Cool. Um, yeah, so we lived in Brooklyn. We lived about two, three blocks from Ebbets Field.  Um, so I, I, and I don’t know if it’s a created memory, but I have vague, vague memories because we moved.

I was born in 54  and we moved to LA or back to la ’cause of the, the TV business sort of blossomed in la Mm-Hmm. . In about, about the same time the Dodgers and Giants left New York, so about 58. So I was four or so. Yeah.  So I remember driving little spurts of being in a car driving across the country. Yeah And then get in LA when I was little, you know,  so I grew up spent all my spent all my youth in Los Angeles Yeah, and on

the West Coast.

All right sports Was there anything any interest you had from an early age that you can recall? Baseball. Baseball? Loved

baseball. Interesting. From what age? Gigantic Dodger fan. Oh  Till this day. Well, yeah, one of my favorite Pictures of my dad and I. It was an old picture and it’s in my mom’s, my sister has this book, the picture.

It’s got, I mean, the book, it’s got all the pictures in it. It’s my dad and I in the right field bleachers at Ebbets Field,  and I’ve got one of these and it just looks scratchy looking at it. It’s like, it’s all wool, you know, like a baseball uniform, a little Dodger uniform with him.  Uh, yeah. It’s special.

Yeah. Yeah. But I was a huge baseball fan. Playing it as well? I played, I played nothing but baseball. Um.  Right up until high school. And then in high school

you got into? High

school I, I started playing football. I didn’t, I played football by default. Okay. Because my dad told me.  I was leaving public school and it was back in the old days, um, you’re probably too young for this, but it used to be like the B9 and the A9, like A was the second half of the year.

B was the first half of the year and it staggered. So I had started school early. So I started early. So my last, my ninth grade, I was in the B9. And we went to summer, and I’m getting ready to go into summer, you know, I’m in summer mode. And my dad says, oh, by the way,  next week you’re taking this entrance exam for Crespi.

And  Crespi is this Catholic all boys school near where I grew up.  And I was like, no.  And he goes, he says, you’re going. I said, if you make me take that test, I’ll fail it. I guarantee you, I’ll fail it.  I do not want to, A, I don’t want to be a priest, and B, I don’t want to go to Catholic school, and I sure as hell am not going to go to an all boys Catholic school.

And he says, uh huh, it’s not optional. It’s not. And I, I’d had Not bad,  uh, behavior issues, but I was easily influenced.  I was your typical young, you know, youngster. Right. Um, and I had some pretty crazy friends and he says, you go in. So I said, okay, sure. I’ll take the test. Yeah. So he drops me off on a Saturday morning.

I go in and I take the test. I fly through this thing. I mean, I just fly through it. I’m the first one done.  Put it in the teacher’s little box at the table, give him the pencil back, say, I’ll see you later, we won’t be seeing each other again. Went back, went out, called my dad, said, okay dad, you can come get me.

He goes, would you quit? I said, no, I just finished. He goes, you finished already? I said, yeah. He goes, oh.  You were kidding. I get, um, yeah, I was serious. Because I did basically just almost do designs on the pages, you know, like B, A, C, D, E, F, G, I was going up and down and doing all this stuff, filling in answers.

And, uh, turns out I get a 93.  Oh my goodness. So, I’ve gone, I’ve gone from doing, like, average in public school to now I’m in, like, the A grade. Right, by guessing. The A group by guessing. And I’m taking, like, French, I’m taking Algebra, this is 9th grade, I’m taking French and Algebra, and Advanced English, and all these other classes, and it takes me about, I Half a semester of my freshman year.

Right. And I get these grades back and the teachers call my parents in and go, we might want to put him in some different classes. I’m not quite sure if he’s ready for this load right now. He’s, um, but I, I said, Hey dad, I know nobody. Right. Nobody. There was a kid, a kid named Mike Capetta lived around the corner from us.

His dad was a barber  and big Catholic family. And, and he says, Mike’s going. I said, well, good for Mike. Right. You know, I said, I don’t want to go.  He goes, look, it’s, you’re going.  And what you want to do is you want to go out for football.  He says, this school has less than 400 students in it.  So do the math.

If there’s 50 guys going out for football, half the freshman class is going to be on the field for two weeks. Practicing before school ever starts. Right. So you’ll get a chance to meet all those guys,  meet the other guys in the other classes and whatnot, so you’ll be okay once school started. Yeah. And I went, all right.

So I went out for football. Yeah. And, you know, having the usual delusional,  um,  at least beliefs of my ability, I, I decided I was gonna be a quarterback.  Because I was always a quarterback when we played, like,  there was all these games, there was a big  grass lot by the liquor store in our neighborhood, and we’d play these tackle football games, and I was always the quarterback because I could throw the best, and I wasn’t necessarily that big, I mean, freshman year I was  Like five, beginning of freshman year, I was 5’7 and I weighed about 165 pounds.

So I was a little on the chubby side.  Um, and I thought I could throw the ball and I could throw the ball. What I didn’t know was they ran like an option offense and never threw the ball. And the coach sat there and he looked at me and he watched me play and he watched me run and he  kind of puts his arm around me after practice about the third day.

And he goes, you know, you’re not going to start at quarterback. Yeah. He goes, but if you move over  closer to the ball,  we can probably start you over there.  And I said, you mean offensive line? He goes, yeah. I said, no, no, no, no, no. I ain’t playing that. I said, I’ll play on the defensive side. Right. How about that?

I’ll play that. Right. Cause I could run really good. And my freshman year and I played my freshman year and my freshman year, I went from five, seven, 165 pounds  in August  to in late April, May, I was six one  and I weighed about 185 pounds. Ooh. So I spent the better part of my freshman year with. either ice packs or heating pads on my knees and my back.

I mean, I was like growing like nuts. I mean, you could, my dad used to laugh and say, you know, I can almost see you grow laying on the couch,  but that’s how football started.  And then later that year,  I was, I wanted to go out, I was really good at basketball.  Okay. At least I thought so. Yeah. Uh, and I was always really good at baseball.

So I said, you know what? I’ll, I’ll, I’ll play football, then I’ll play basketball, then I’ll play baseball.  And you know, I went out and we’re doing a PE class and I’m running and I could always run pretty good.  And one of our coaches, which I didn’t know at the time was the head track coach and he’s also an athletic director, a guy named Bill Leeds.

He’s watching me run, he’s watching me do stuff, and he comes up to me and he says, Kid,  you ever run track?  I said, Nah.  And he goes, Uh, I saw you throw the ball, you can throw pretty good.  Yeah. And he goes, you ever throw a shot put?  I looked at him. I said, what’s a shot put? Right.  And, you know, I, I threw, so he, he, they, they teach me, they get some amazing, and I owe all the success I’ve ever had in athletics goes back to, in my opinion, um, attention to detail and work ethic.

And they really hammered that into our heads in that, you know, we watched. Films. And we’re talking about the old film films. Film films. Yeah, film films.  You know, that made that great sound that put you to sleep instantly.  But there was a, there was a great shot putter back in those days named Randy Mattson.

Okay. He was an Olympic champion, world champion, world record holder. And he had this style,  um, of throwing the ball, throwing the, the shot put. So we studied that. So we, and we just,  we spent two hours, never, never throw the shot the first couple of weeks. Wow. Just working on technique and working on that.

And it was the same kind of, and these are some of the same coaches that also coach football.  So they had the same approach to football. Yeah. Because they never had the biggest guys. They never had the fastest guys. But, you know, the, the technique was always perfect and, you know, everything just hummed.

Right. So I did that and I did really well my freshman year. Okay. Throwing the shot put. Throwing the shot put. Okay. My sophomore year, um, as a 10th grader, I didn’t play varsity.  I played, uh, JV and played okay. Did pretty well, um, and then started throwing the shot put as a 12 pound shot put. And I threw it my sophomore year like, I don’t know, 56, 57 feet,  which, you know, I had no point of reference, but I guess it was pretty good.

Um, and, and so I kept doing that. And that turned into even more football, but it was constant. So it turned into year round and it was the same two or three guys, same two or three coaches,  you know, it would, the, the, the days of the 12 man high school coaching staffs wasn’t quite in vogue back then.  But it was, you know, and that’s sort of what I, like I said, I kind of owe everything I’ve ever done sports wise to that mentality.

That mentality. Right there. Interesting. What, any major highlights during, during those years? Win states? Win titles? Yeah.

Yeah. I mean, my, my senior year, we had a really, really good team. Um, we lost in the semifinals  and in state and we had, and this is a school with 300 and at this time, I think we had 390 students.

390 boys.  Um, and on that football team, we had 12 guys  play division one football. Oh my

goodness. Yeah.

Like eight of which scholarship, like other guys that had played to some degree somewhere. Wow. Were they

multi sport like you? Pretty much. Yeah. Yeah.

Usually. Yeah. You know, cause it’s such a small school.

You had to have, everybody had to play everything. Sure, sure. But I mean, like my athletic director, I was getting ready to play baseball and basketball.  And he said, look, you’re gonna, I think  You can be really good at this. He’d never seen me do it.  And he goes, but I’ll tell you, I’ll be honest with you. If you want to play baseball and basketball, I’ll just have them cut you.

And then you can come do track with me. Right. Right. I said, nah, you gotta be kidding me. He just sat there stone face and goes, oh no, I mean, I’m the athletic director. I can have them cut you. Wow.  That’s so great.  Good recruiting tactic.  But yeah, my senior year, I mean my junior year, I was throwing the shot and we had done pretty good in football and I was throwing against these two guys from Newport Harbor High School, which is in Newport Beach, Southern California.

Um, and, uh, one, one of the guys, uh, Stevens is his last name. He won the state. He won state,  and the second place guy was a guy named Terry Albritton,  and both these guys were much bigger than me. In fact, Terry was, you know, 6’5 270 pounds, which in 1972  or 71 is a pretty big person. Um, and, you know, he got second, I got third.

In the state. Wow. And the next year, you know, like I said, we, we lost in the semis in football and I went into throwing the shot  and I threw the shot like 67,  6 and something, you know, change. Okay. And that was number two in the country  and I won the state. I beat this Terry Alperton in the state finals.

And it was a big deal. In fact, my high school track team, we had the guy, we won state in the shot put, we won the pole vault, and we had a second place guy in the high jump.  And there were only three of us, and we ended up finishing like third in the state for the teams. A little, a little a little off in the school.

But it was cool to do that, and I, that was my first chance to travel was my, like my junior year. I actually got to take flights and go to national meets. Sure. Because I had thrown pretty well. Right. Um, which was fun. And then recruiting,  I got pretty heavily recruited. Yeah. Um,

but for track, you got recruited for track.

For both. Okay.

Track and football. Yeah. Yeah. I got, in fact, my, my senior year in high school, Nebraska won the national championship. And that was my first choice.  Uh, UCLA was my second choice.  Um, Texas was my third choice and UCLA and Texas were going to let me do both. And Alabama was my fourth choice.

And I know the one school that my parents and my school and everybody else wanted me to go to  was Notre Dame.  And they recruited me and they wanted me to come there. But, you know, I just looked at the coach and I said, I just spent four years. In an all boys Catholic high school, there is no shot I’m going to an all boys college.

And he goes, well, St. Mary’s is right next door. I said, I don’t care where it is.  I’m not doing this. Now why,

why did everybody else, uh, want you to go to Notre Dame?

Um, Catholic. Okay. Big family. Yeah. Notre Dame football. Um, you know, that’s back in the era of Parsigian days and, you know, some of those, the golden days of Notre Dame.

Right. Yeah. It was, it was really cool. Plus my dad had a lot of really good friends  that were huge Notre Dame fans. Yeah. Yeah. And UCLA fan. Sure. Because he was. Yeah. Um, so one of the highlights of getting recruited was getting to sit at lunch with John McKay and tell him I didn’t want to come to SC  because my dad wouldn’t let

me.

Would Notre Dame have let you play both? No.

No. Notre Dame, Alabama, SC,  they were real specific. If you come here, you’re playing football.

You’re playing football. So at this point in your life, you’re in high school, dual sport.  Crushin it at both of them. Tell me about Randy in this era, away from sport.

Awkward. Okay? Awkward. Very

awkward.  Um. I can relate. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, um, kinda thick glasses. Simply faced. Yeah. Um. Yeah. It was.  Plus they had sent me to an all boys high school, so I didn’t exactly have, I didn’t have game to start with. Yeah. Yeah. And then it went on hiatus. It was like, you won’t be needing this.

Um, yeah. So I,  it was, I was very awkward. Yeah.

Very awkward. Family, siblings.

I have, I from a family of seven kids. Okay. Wow. Um, yeah. Yeah. Kind of a  different story of the whole thing. How old were you in the birth order? I’m number two. Number two. Number two. Number one was my older sister was five years older than me.

She, she was born in LA before when my, my parents met in LA. My dad was with the first Marines in Guadalcanal.  And got discharged in San Francisco  and  couldn’t find a job and had a buddy that said, come on,  come work with me on the, in the merchant Marines.  So he steamed up and down the West coast of North and South America doing wild stuff.

I mean, like running guns and all just crazy stuff. You should tell these stories. Be going, whoa. Wow. Um. And then he had another buddy, he’s in LA, and his buddy says, Hey, you gotta,  I’m gonna be an actor,  cause you ought to try this. He goes, you’re good looking, they’re gonna love you.  So he gets in an interview with this agent.

And he goes in for the interview and that’s where he meets my mom. My mom’s this agent’s secretary. Wow. So they end up getting married and that’s when, you know, my sister’s born. They moved to,  they moved to New York, you know, because the business is basically outside of the movies, you know, the business is now in New York, you know, so yeah, that’s.

It was wild. It was a, it was different. I had a big, big,  and my family story’s a little bit different too. Very different. I mean, I have an older sister that ran away from home  at 14, 9th  grade  or 15. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.  We’re in the San Fernando Valley in LA and she goes to Haight Ashbury  and she hangs out in Haight Ashbury and my parents can’t find her.

And she did that for a couple years. Yeah. And I remember she came home.  She was a senior in high school and it was like,  she’d been living by herself for a couple of years.  So it wasn’t quite used to the,  the discipline or anything else happening. Right. Um, and she ends up, she ends up going back to San Francisco and  she had a rough life there really.

Cause she got in trouble with drugs and all kinds of, she ended up passing away from HIV. Oh, um,  I don’t know, in the late eighties, early nineties. Yeah. Yeah. It was a, I mean, she, yeah, but the rest of the kids, I mean,  had five sisters and one brother. My brother was the youngest. Yeah. Anybody here? Yeah. Uh, no.

No, none of them. Uh, they’re all in California.  They’re all stood. Those are my brother is no longer with us and my oldest sister passed away and the other four are,  well, one lives in Oregon, I should say.

Okay. So West Coast. It’s all West Coast. Yeah. Okay. Any mentors to speak of during that part of your life?

Um,  yeah, I mean, I, I’d say my athletic dad, athletic director that Bill leads  was about the most encouraging person. Um, yeah. I had in

my life. Speaking, he was, you felt he was speaking truth at least to you or  tough love, I guess. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Cause I mean, I had no plans. No plans. I had, I planned on going to high school and getting out of high school, but I had no plan.

Sure.

Was he helping on the academic side as well, or was it more just sport? Both.

Okay. Both. He, he was, you know, you can get this. If you do this, right. As far as the school stuff went, I was like, okay, yeah, I understand that.

So as you’re looking out, let’s, let’s say as a senior in high school,  Did you have any idea what the next 10 to 20 years of your life were going to look like?

No clue. None. Okay, so what happened then as a senior?

Um, I decided I’m going to go to UCLA,  which kind of bummed my mom out at least. She loved, I don’t know if you remember Tom Osborne, he was the head coach at Nebraska for years. He, at that point, he was the offensive coordinator. There was a guy named Bill, Bob Devaney was the head coach.

Um,  she loved Tom Osborne, because that’s the, that, that guy told the truth. He’s the nicest man. I trust him with you.  And were they going to let you play both? Uh, no, they wanted me to just play football. And they, they, when I got recruited there, the reason I really ultimately didn’t go there,  like I said, I grew up in LA.

Um, it was 28 below zero that weekend I was there. In Nebraska. Oh my goodness. I got off the plane, I had a parka  on over, like a Hawaiian shirt, I walked off that plane and about turned around and got back in and said, no, take me home. That decision was easy. Yeah, yeah, it was really, it was a very simple, very

simple decision.

So you choose UCLA and I’m assuming it was a, I guess a full ride or scholarship? Oh

yeah. Yeah, no, it was, it was, it was a duel.  The understanding was I could play football.  And I could also do track and throw the shot, which was kind of unusual, cause that usually meant you couldn’t spring football,  which  to me sounded perfect.

So I go to the first day of track practice and they’re like, okay, we’re going to have you throw some and we’ll do some drills and there’s some drivers good at drills and do all that. And I got this. So now it’s a 16 pound shot.  Okay. And it was 12 in high school. It was 12 in high school. Okay. And I should preface this by saying, at this point, and now for another four or five, five years  after my freshman year,  I never lifted weights.

Wow. You never, never touched a weight. Nothing.  Got near him every once in a while. Every time I lifted him, I got sore. So I stopped. Sure. Um, but I never lifted weights. So I, I get out there and I throw this, I throw the 16 pound shot. It’s like 60, 61 feet.  And this very legendary, uh, track coach, field event guy named Tom Tellez, who was Jim Bush was the head coach and Tom Tellez was field events.

And he was like, Oh my goodness, this is going to be fun.  Um, he goes, let me take you on, let’s go into the stands.  I want to show you our weight room.  So I go in this weight room and they’ve got all these Olympic, big, thick plate tents.  rubberized, great looking stuff. I’m like, man, that’s really cool. And he goes, well, come on, we’re going to get you go through a war.

I did. So it’s the worst I’ve ever felt in my life. I did this preliminary workout the next day. I thought I would, my arms and legs are going to fall off. And I was like, I don’t think I can do this. I might just play football. Right. Um, So instead of, you know, and I, I said, I dabbled a little bit, but  I went into the coaches.

Terry Donahue was the guy that recruited me to UCLA. Okay. Cause he went to college with all my high school coaches. They all played on the UC, the 66 Rose Bowl team for UCLA.  So, and I went into his office like the day after that, I said, coach, I think I want to just concentrate on football. I’m not sure how this track thing is going to work out.

It’s just, it hurts too much.  Um, so I just, you know, from then on, I played football and you know, my idea of working out. In the off season, what did not involve weights, I, we’d go to poly pavilion,  you know, legendary basketball, volleyball, all that. And we’d play pickup basketball and two man indoor volleyball.

Um, that was your workout getting just great shape, right?

Sure. Great shape. Right. So you’re not lifting big weights, not lifting

anything. Wow. And didn’t, didn’t lift all through college. And what

did you, you got recruited to play

what position? I got recruited, um, like most high school athlete linemen, you play defense usually.

Okay. At least back in the day, but it’s, it applies now. Um, and when, as soon as I got to UCLA. Yeah. They were like, we might put you on the other side  on offense. See what you can do. Cool. Because my, my freshman year, I played defense on the freshman team.  And then.  That spring,  Terry Donahue comes up to me and he goes, Hey, I want to teach you a couple things here.

First of all, I want to teach you how to long snap.  He goes, good, if you can do this, you can do this forever, anywhere.  Um, he goes, and eventually it’ll make you a lot of money. And we write about almost everything except for the money.  Because nowadays they have long snappers, that’s all they do.  Back then, you were a bonus.

If you were a guy that could snap, you’d save him a roster spot.

So you’d  play center and snap, or what other position? I

played, well, at that point I was playing center my sophomore, it was going into my sophomore year, I played center. Okay. And long snapped and short snapped. So I did all the snapping from my sophomore year  through both punts and extra points and field goals until my twelfth year.

Middle of my 12th year in the NFL, I had tweaked my knee and they used, brought this other guy in to do the punt snaps, but I still did the field goal and extra points

and all that.  Yeah. One, one question for reference on the, uh, on the shot put. So the first day you went to college, you said you threw 61 feet with a 16 pounder.

What, what are people out there throwing? Was that like a record kind of throw?

Right there for not a record, but it was as good as probably anybody my age at that point was doing. Wow. Um, except for Terry Albert.  Terry Albritton, the guy that I beat in state,  when we were juniors in college, so in 1974, he set the world record,  uh, threw it like 72 feet.

With a 16 pound shot. With a 16 pound shot. I mean, he was monstrous. What’s the

main skill set there?  If you weren’t lifting weights? What

is it? Well, for me, the reason, it was that That repetitive,  I had such good technique, I had, I’d always had really good kind of fast twitch.  So, once I got the technique down, I could do it  More violently and quicker right

than anybody else.

So it’s it’s speed and timing. It’s speed going round

timing and you just you explode Yeah, and that thing just pops out and it was like that’s cool. Yeah. Yeah. I mean it  it was it was nuts Yeah, it was really nuts. And yeah, he had the he sets the world record our junior year in high school in college  Does he still have it?

Uh, no. No, there’s a great, there’s a great American out of Oregon who is now throwing it around 75, 76 feet.  Yeah, he’s a, yeah, he’s a,  gosh, I want to say he’s six,  six, five, three, 40  and has about 8 percent body fat. Wow. He’s a monster.  He’s a monster and he’s, he’s really good. And that’s an unappreciated athletic event.

Oh,

yeah. Yeah. So, Randy, then, away from sport through college, what did that look like?

Uh, train wreck. Train wreck? Okay. Train wreck. I can relate there, too, perfectly. Train wreck. Train wreck. Um, freshman year, I did not exactly overachieve. Academically.  Uh, sophomore year, I managed to do worse.  Um, had to, I found myself having to  go to like JC classes to get extra credits.

Sure. So I was  It’s just so I could be eligible for spring and everything after the next year. Um, yeah, I wasn’t  looking back at that. It was like, well, what the hell were you thinking? Right. I wasn’t thinking, right. That’s the thing. Did you have to work or anything through college? Um, not, I always had jobs, always had great jobs.

I mean, they paid really well and yeah. You know, just, just fun things to do. How

about, how about stuff like relationship with family and folks and stuff like that? Your parents throughout college? Yeah, it was.

Relatively close or? With the, with the siblings, yeah.  And my mom. Okay. But my dad, no. Not as much dad.

Not even close. Got it. My, uh,  my dad had a, just a ferocious drinking problem. Alcohol issue. Yeah. And that’s why he, he was an actor for years and years and years. And that basically ended his acting career.  And he had to, he basically became a, you know what a grip is  or a, you know, a stage hand.  That’s basically what he became in Hollywood.

He was moving sets and, Oh, like literally, literally, literally, Oh, he was why he, he had to work and watch other people act, which had to be torture for him because of. Because of his drinking. Drinking. Yeah. Yeah.  He, he, well, no, he, he,  I think it was about my senior year in high school, we had a bit of a confrontation  in the hallway at our house and  I picked him up off his feet  and put him against the wall and  kind of gave him, this is where I’m coming from.

I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to be around you. I want nothing to do with you. Yeah.  Put him down  and walked out.  And that was it. And he, that’s the night he went to his first AA meeting.  And he got his chip,  you know, like a month later  and he did it for the rest of his life. I mean, he was clean and sober for  27 years, something like that.

And he was the guy, I mean, he was the go to guy in the,  you know, in AA and whatever you want to call the organization, whatever you want to call the, yeah, I mean, he was the guy every time somebody had a problem, he’d call my dad, my dad would go help him. So he’d, he’d leave the house in the middle of the night, just go with some guy.

Some guy would be getting ready to go off the deep end and my dad would go, go help him. That’s great. Yeah. Yeah. But that was, that was sort of the whole family dynamic for the better part of that. And then he, he had a great friend, in fact, the same friend that had suggested he try acting  a name, the guy’s name was Jerry Milton,  got into the insurance business  and he decides he’s going to start an insurance company.

It’s called the doctor’s company.  It’s a medical malpractice insurance company and sort of the hook that he designed was that it was owned and operated by doctors.  So they had their own board, they had their own, and it was highly successful out in California. And he hired my dad.  ’cause my dad was always a really great people person.

He could talk to anybody.

Yeah. Mm-Hmm.  .

You know, my dad did fantastic fact that was the last 20 years of his life was in the medical malpractice insurance business with his buddy. Yeah. And it went really, really well. So, and that’s what I did. I mean, when I got drafted, I mean,  I  tell this story all the time where my, my junior year we’re having our pro day.

And that’s usually for the guys that are seniors to be previewed for the draft. So I run like a 4 7 5 40, and at this point I’m 6 3, about 60.  And a legendary scout personnel guy from the Dallas Cowboys named Gil Brandt  comes up to me  and he says, Son, do you realize?  Next year’s draft, you’re going to go in the first or second round.

And I looked at him and I kind of went, really? Yeah. No kidding. Cause I had never even thought about it. Never even occurred to me to play pro football. Right.  And you know, okay.  And he walks away and Terry Donahue is my offensive line coach. Comes up and all he does is he slaps me in the back of the head.

He goes, what have I been telling you? He goes, now you’re interested? He goes, I’ve been telling you that since you were in high school.

Now, did it work? The question is, did it work? Yeah. Did you, did you truly believe that one after he said it? Yeah, I did. And then did you walk away and say, okay, now I finally know what I’m going to do in my

life.

I, I was going to give it a shot.  You know, I never really, I hadn’t watched a whole lot of football, professional football. I was, I loved college football, but I hadn’t watched much pro ball. Um, and I got drafted by San Francisco,  uh, in the second round  on their first pick. Cause they, they had traded for Jim Plunkett, the quarterback at New England.

He went to San Francisco. So they trade for me or they trade for him and I’m, I’m their first pick in the second round and I go up to,  to go get interviewed for after the day, after the draft, I get the airline ticket and all that stuff to come on up or have them pick you up.  I’ve got hair almost down to my shoulders.

I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt with a long sleeve t shirt underneath it, jeans and flip flops. And I walk in the facility and this coach, kind of a hard ass guy named Monty Clark, great guy, great man, really, really gruff, big, gigantic, 6’6 300 pounds.  He looks at me and kind of shakes his head and goes, God, what have I done?

What a welcome. Yeah.  And so he goes, this better be impressive. So we have the press conference  and you know, I could speak, I could always speak to reporters and I never had a problem with that. And so he goes, okay, now we’re going to go to our testing  and I went, testing, what’s that? He goes, well, we, we do, you do.

Pull ups, chin ups,  bench press, how many, you know, maxes at two and a quarter  and whatnot. And then we’ll go out and we’ll run.  It’s okay. So I did one pull up,  I did two chin ups,  and I did two reps at two and a quarter.  And  that’s really not very good, especially for a guy who just got drafted in the second round.

Right, second round. And I’m walking out of the weight room and Manny looks at me and goes, are you trying to get me fired?  And I looked at him, I said, what? He goes, what was that? And  I said, coach, that’s the best I can do. I’ve never lifted weights ever.  He looks at me and goes. Hold on one second. And the head scout, this guy named Red Hickey, who was with the Niners now, who was also the next Dallas guy,  he brings him in, he goes, this guy says he’s never lifted weights.

And he goes, oh yeah, that’s true.  He goes, well, why didn’t you tell me that when we’re drafting?  I might’ve, I might’ve done something else to be honest with you. But I went out 40, like 475, which for an offensive lineman back then was pretty damn good. And he looks at me, he goes, okay.  Okay, you may not get me fired,  but you better be pretty damn good.

And I, you know, my first day of practice, my first year, my rookie year, the guy that had started the year before me had also been a rookie and he blew his knee out in practice.  So I kind of became the starter by default. And back then we had six preseason games. There was only 14 regular season games. So you reported to camp a month before the first game, the first preseason game.

And you did double days  until the fourth  preseason game. So you did two months of double days  before you broke camp.  And I, I remember I was laying in the hallway at San Jose state, which is where we had our camp for my rookie year.  And I had a period of about two or three days where I was just about to get up.

Just hand my stuff in  and say, screw this. I don’t want to do this. Right. This is. Not for me. It’s not what I had in mind,  um,  but you know, I got done with that and my, my rookie year went pretty well  and I went to work.  I started, I had a pretty good idea that football might work out, but I wasn’t real crazy about only having one option.

So I went to work with the medical malpractice insurance company in  sales, the same company, the doctor’s company. So I was in sales for a couple of years and then I worked as I worked in the underwriting department  some other times, um, for, and I did that. So in the off season, I always worked, I always had something going on,  which.

You know, now it seems so outdated and even, even then,  you know, I tell people what I made my first, my first contract at San Francisco, my salaries were 27. 5.  36 and 45,  but in that, in those days, it was decent money. I didn’t have to work in the off season, but I, but I had such a paranoia  about not having, you know, you better cover your butt.

So, you know, I always had a, a separate company or a separate job on the side when I played, whether it was later on, I got into the commodities business. Um, specifically silver,  um, for, for  decades.  The silver recovery business was like a non, it didn’t exist.  Um, but everybody that dealt in photography,  that’s all silver on the back of the film in the old days.

So you could reclaim the silver from the fluids. Sure. So I had a buddy that taught me how to do that. And the same people that did that, there was also aluminum, all sorts of recyclable stuff.  And, you know, it was, it was better money, I made better money doing that than I did playing football. You did? Yeah.

Oh my goodness. It was crazy.

What, what’s it like on the, what’s the draft call like?

Yeah, that’s a, that’s an interesting story. Um, I’m sitting in my, my parents kitchen  because, you You know, that wasn’t invited to wherever it was. They didn’t have those drafts. It wasn’t that big a deal back then. It was, you knew that in somewhere in New York in a hotel, there was at that time, 28 teams  getting together to draft.

In fact, no, it was.  Tampa and, uh, Seattle, that was their first year in 76. So they were the new teams. Um,  but it was somewhere in a hotel and I got a phone call.  Um, God, and I could keep track on the radio where they were. They were somewhere in the twenties and Cleveland  was like the next pick. Okay. So I get a phone call from a guy.

He, he had been the head coach at a university in the San Fernando Valley, Cal State Northridge.  And he was now the offensive line coach at the Cleveland Browns.  And he calls up and he says, Hey, wanna get your thoughts on  our picks coming up? We’d like to probably bring you into Cleveland  as a, as our first round draft pick.

And I went, uh, idiot that I am. Um, I said, Cleveland, like. And Ohio  kind of snows there, doesn’t it?  So it was not exactly a sales job by me. Um, he was like, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. He goes, okay, we’ll get back to you. So needless to say, they drafted a fullback from, uh, which worked out great for them from Purdue.

Um, but San Francisco, San Francisco called me probably  12,  14 picks later in the second round. Yeah.  Um,  and I was, I didn’t even know what to say. I was all right. Great. Yeah. You know. Just accept it. I know you’re in the Bay Area. I know it’s in San Francisco. You know. Sounds good. Yeah. We’re going to send you, we’re going to  go down and buy you an airline ticket, go to the airport tomorrow and come on up here and we’ll have an interview, you know, a press deal.

It was, yeah, it was much lower key. Yeah, that it is now because there were no combines or anything like that. Sure.

See, so you’re drafted. You move out at this time. You have family.

No, no, I just, uh,  I’m single. Okay. I met Patrice.  The off season of my second year.  Okay. Off season,

a second year. So you met out in, in the Bay Area.

In the Bay Area. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.  Your second year, um, you set a three year contract to

agree. Okay. First, the first year is a three year deal and the head coach is fired.  Eddie DeBartolo buys  the 49ers  in January of 77.  First thing he does is he fires the head coach and he hires this guy named Joe Thomas.

Who was a maniac,  um, just legendary  tear teams down. He knew, he knew how to rebuild them supposedly. Sure.  You know, that’s who Eddie hired to be general manager. And I’ve, I have a hard time saying anything bad about Joe cause.  I was one of his guys, I think he evaluated and he said, look, this guy can play, that guy can play.

This guy can play. Yeah. So, you know, anytime they had to go give a speech out in the community or do anything or get involved, he’d go, Randy, go do that.  Great. But I mean, yeah, that was, that was a second year. I mean,  and they fired that coach.  They did. Guy’s name was Ken Meyers. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the Rams.

He’s there one year. We go, first year, Monty goes 8 and 6, Ken Meyers goes 5 and 9, they fire.  So now we’re going into 78. And now we’re playing 16 games.  Two more games. Yeah, two more games they add.  So they hire a, uh,  they hire a guy named Pete McCully who is an offensive coordinator for the Redskins.  Um, he lasts eight games.

They fire him.  They hire our running back coach, a guy named Fred O’Connor.  And he coaches eight games and they fire him.  Yeah, so all these people act like coaches never got fired before. Right. Bill Walsh was hired in 79, January of 79 by Eddie DeBartolo.  And that was  Going into my fourth year in the NFL, he was my fifth head coach.

Five and four. Five and four.  So, it was like, it was one of the great stories was his first speech to us at training camp.  He basically got up there and he goes, I know what you’re all thinking.  I about lasted the last few guys.  I’ll go play somewhere else if I can’t play for this guy.  He kind of sits there and he looks around the room,  he goes, this is by far  the worst team  in the worst roster in the NFL.

If you can’t play for me, who the hell are you gonna play for?  And everybody in the room was kind of like, I mean, he might have a point there. He might have a point.  But, yeah, it was, it was a clown show. Yeah. The first four years, it was  just crazy. Just,

just. What was it like, what was it like playing

for him?

Um, playing for him was  wonderful. I mean, from the first day. Yeah. The first  OTAs in the off season. Mm hmm. You got in the huddle, you sat in those meetings, and you looked at his offense, and you kind of went, Huh, that’s interesting. That should work.  And you’d get there and you’d run it and, you know, in 79 is his first year he drafted Montana  and Joe’s not even starting his first year.

Steve DeBerg’s our quarterback and Steve DeBerg is one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the league. Going for a bunch of yards, throwing for touchdowns.  Um,  there was something about Joe you can,  when he ran the offense, it was just different. Different. Cause he could run. I mean, he was, he was really quick.

Yeah. And even back then, they were actually running quarterbacks. They didn’t just invent them 10 years ago. Um, but yeah, you, you, you felt different. We just, we couldn’t play dead on defense.  If we didn’t score 40, we couldn’t win a game.  So 78, we were 2 14 before he gets there.  79 were 2 14,  but I tell people all the time,  78 team might have been the worst football team in the history of the NFL.

I know it’s the worst 2 14 team in the history of the NFL. The 79 team might be the best 2 14 team in the history of the league. Because things are tarned. Because we could, we could score, we could move the ball, we could do things.

And that was

Montana? That was Montana. Yeah. And by the, by later in the year, and then 80,  DeBerg gets traded  to uh, Denver.

And Joe gets the job. And we ended up 6 and 10. And we had like a, just a horrendous run. Like an 8 game losing streak in the middle of the year. Oh. That, you know, Bill Walsh is, in fact one time he’s coming down the hallway.  And we always, you know, those of us that were there in the early days, we had great relationship with them  and we’re outside the meeting room.

And I said, coach, how’s it going? He goes, be honest with you.  I don’t know how much longer I can do this.  Right.

Whoa.  Wasn’t

expecting that. We better fix this now. No, shouldn’t we? Um, but yeah, he was, um, he was something. Who was the

feared at, at this, in this era, who was the feared defensive player?

Um, in this era, it was easy.

It was the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Any particular player? Um,  mean Joe green, Jack Lambert. Um, Bernie Holmes, Mel Blunt, uh, Donny Schell, uh, they were, they were really good. In fact, 78, which was the first year that Eddie owned the team, we played the first Monday night game  in Pittsburgh and they beat the bejesus out of us.

Um, and then fast forward three years later,  we’re playing  virtually the same team, except these guys are now three years older.  Um, and two years removed from the world championship. Um, and we returned the favor in Pittsburgh early. And that was the, that was the first time. I mean, we beat the Skins. We were one and two.

We started the year. We went to Washington and then we beat Washington.  And it was like, hey, cool. All right, we can do this. This offense is working. This is working. We went to Pittsburgh and beat them. It was like, hey.  There’s no limit. If we can beat these guys at their place, we can beat anybody. And then two weeks later, we played Dallas  at our place  and just ran them out of the house.

We beat them, I think, like 42 to 21  or something. Yeah. Yeah. Um.  And that was the year of the catch and all that,  cause later on in the year when we met him in the NFC Championship game,  um, remember Ed Tutal Jones made a comment, he says, well,  those youngsters have no idea what they’re in for,  cause they won the early game, but they didn’t play the real Cowboys.

Okay. Sure.  No big deal. What

was

it like playing for Jeff? Um, it was  like a cheat code. Really? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I played with a lot of really good players,  um, specifically, I mean, three guys that stand out to me that skill guys were Joe,  Jerry, and Roger Craig  kind of changed how people looked at those positions.

Um,  Joe was, you know, you knew what he had done at Notre Dame in that cotton bowl game and all that. Um, and you knew what he could do because of what he did. Those first couple of years when he was young, you know, when we were all young, um,  then he started doing things  and  you got into games. And in fact, in that NFC championship game, you know, our final drive, which set up, you know, the, the big pass to Dwight Clark and whatnot,  you’d come out of the huddle, that’s when it started where you could actually see in the other guy’s eyes.

They weren’t, they weren’t afraid of Joe.  But they knew they were screwed.  Wow. They knew he was that kind of an advantage.  And, you know, I, I didn’t, it was  30 years  till I saw another guy like that. Until

Brady  came along. Until Brady came along. Unbelievable. He seemed really calm. Is that

accurate? Yeah, yeah.

I mean, he was, he got,  the bigger the spots got, the calmer he got.  And the more composed he got.  And  he, he, he, he’s got a great, he’s  got a great personality, obviously, cause he’s done extremely well in life in general. But, you know, he also  talked more shit than anybody else I played with. Easily, not even close.

And what’s an example, if you were lucky, he would, he would, he wouldn’t be talking shit to who you were playing against because they were always getting mad, you know, like we’re playing Dallas. Randy White, Hall of Fame, legendary defensive lineman.  Randy White  puts a pretty good hit on him after, you know, he completes a pass, but Randy hits him hard.

And he goes to get,  help Joe up.  And Joe looks at him and goes, Randy,  dang,  I didn’t even know you were out here until now.

And John Ayers, John Ayers, who’s the left, John Ayers, who’s the left guard, playing over Randy White, grabs him by the arm and pulls him back in the huddle and goes, do not give him anything else, to get mad about it, or.  Yeah. And he, he did that stuff to defensive players all the time. Right. Well, it didn’t matter.

It could be Randy White. It could be Lawrence Taylor. It could be anybody.  Yeah. But it was,  he was, he was a cheat code back in the day. How about

your position?  Walk us

through. Yeah. What is it? It’s well, you know, I, I had a different  versatility in sports.  Is something that is coveted, but I believe way underappreciated.

Yeah. Cause I talked about, you know, when Terry Donahue told me I should long snap and learn how to snap as a center. Right. So my sophomore year, I played in college. I played center.  Alternated with a guy named Art Kuhn who had played for the Seattle Seahawks for about eight years.  My junior year, I played guard,  and I was all Pac 8 and all that other fun stuff.

My senior year, we had a bunch of really good offensive linemen.  So we had two offensive lines.  We’d go the first two series with the first line, and then the second line would come in for two series, and we’d alternate the whole game like that. We just wore people out. We ran for 400 yards a game. I mean, it was pretty impressive.

Um, but on the first line, I was the right guard.  On the second line, I was a center.  So when I got drafted, Monty Clark, who was, uh, he had coached Jim Langer at Miami, the head coach,  he says, you’re going to be my center  because you’re going to be my Langer.  And I was like, okay, sure.  No problem.  You know, he goes, I’d like you to wear 62.

Cause that was Jim’s number.  Sure. No problem. I can do that. So my, you know,  people always come up, they, they hand me my, this card and they say, this is your rookie card. And I look at it, I’m wearing 51, and I go, Nope, that’s not my rookie car. My rookie car, I wore 62.  But then, when Walsh got there, and I played, I played center my second year.

My third year, I played half the year, ninth game, I broke my ankle.  I broke my wrist the week before, I broke my ankle in Washington, so now I’m done for the year.  So, Walsh gets hired, he hires this offensive line coach from the San Diego Chargers by the name of Bob McKittrick,  um,  who’s another one of those best things that could ever happen to you kind of things, a guy that was steeped in the whole techniques and everything else that I’d been raised with, cause all my coaches, he had a UCLA background, he was Tommy Protho’s coach.

He’s a great guy. Line coach at UCLA and Oregon State and it was a whole reproduction of what I’d done in high school and college. So it was great for me  But he he says You’re gonna be guard  or you can run too well And we’re gonna have we’re gonna run these two guard sweeps and traps and powers and everything else  So, you know  all the time I played 13 years  And I played, uh, three and a half years at center.

My last year and a half  and my hat, my first two,

basically.  So the  bookends, so to speak. Yeah.

But the rest of the other nine years I played at guard and I was, I was, I was  some second team, all NFC stuff at, at center,  but I’d never made all pro at guard. I mean, in center, it was always a guard and whatnot.

Right. You know, fast forward to my end of my career,  I make a Miller Lite commercial,  my first year out of the league,  I’m making this commercial in, uh, we’re in Marina del Rey  or El Segundo at this bar. And I’m watching them put the commercial together, and it’s really fascinating. I’m looking at this, they’re faunting, you know, Randy Cross, All Pro Center, blah, blah, blah.

And I tapped the guy on the shoulder, shoulders,  excuse me. His name’s Bob Giraldi, legendary. Um, he did all those old Miller Lite commercials, did a bunch of others, like high profile stuff. I said, Bob, Bob, Bob,  uh, I was never an All Pro Center.  And he kind of looks over his shoulder and he looks over at the ad agency person and goes.

Can you explain that?  And the ad guy goes, um,  no,  because the, the, the commercial is, you know, I’m in this bar, I’m talking about, you know, I played 13 years, won three Super Bowls, blah, blah, blah.  Nobody knows who I am, but they know my beer.  And just as I’m finishing these lines, this woman walks by and I kind of half bump her and she drops her purse.

And I turn around, I go, oh, excuse me, I bend over.  To pick up the purse and she points at my butt and says, Hey, aren’t you Randy Cross?  So that was the ad.  And so all pro center. And I went,  never all pro center. I was at all pro guard, but never all pro center.  The ad guy squirming and Bob Giraldi goes, okay,  I got a solution.

And I looked at my, okay. He goes, did you, or did you not play center? I said, yeah, let’s say four out of my 13.  Did you or did you not, weren’t you named All Pro? I said, yeah, a couple of times.  It was good, easy, All Pro, Center. You play both. It works. They’re not the same thing.  I thought, okay.  But it was, that was One of the things, that versatility thing can be kind of a, not a curse,  but the majority of people associated me from that moment on with being a center.

Even people that rooted for the 49ers  pictured me or kind of pigeonholed me as a center. And I hear, I see that all the time and it’s like, yeah, I kind of smile and go, yeah.

Is it just as cool winning your third one as it is your

first one? Yeah. Yeah. There’s no, I get asked that question about Super Bowls all the time.

What’s your, you know, what’s your favorite Super Bowl? I said, well, I got three kids too,  and I can’t pick a favorite kid. Right. But the first one’s always special  because it’s the first, I said, the second one was the best team I ever played on.  And the third one was my last game. So last game. Yeah. So that was,  yeah, when I retired.

I  pretty much had thought about it for going into the playoffs  and what a way to end. Yeah, I’ve got a picture. That’s me. Oh, I think we were playing the Minnesota Vikings at Candlestick in the, uh, divisional round  and I’m sort of like, I was looking up at the stands and I don’t know what I was thinking.

I was thinking this might be the last time I’m around this field.  Cause we, we went to Chicago to Soldier Field for the championship game, beat the Bears there.  But yeah, and I, we got to Miami for the Superbowl and I basically told my line coach and I told Walsh on the way out and not being Mr.

Intelligence or perception, you know, I told Bill, I said, I think  I’m going to call it a career after this game  and I’m going to, you know, Wednesday at the press conference, I’m going to announce it.  And he kind of goes, yeah. You know, there’s no telling how, how much we win this game, no telling how much longer I’m going to coach.

And it just kind of goes right over my head. And the day after the Super Bowl, he retires, but, uh,  yeah, obviously the journalistic  scoop wasn’t my strong suit, um, but yeah, it was, it was a fun way to go out, you know, with a Super Bowl, especially the way it happened and  that game’s kind of legendary with the whole John Candy story at the end of the game.

Fascinating. So you played 180 games ish. Yeah. 100, 180. Yeah.  How, how are you physically?

Not bad. I mean, all things considered, I’ve had both my shoulders replaced,  but not from lifting weights. Um, that’s  between all the lifting weights and all the running into stuff for a living probably didn’t help.  Um,  you know, I recently replaced my hip,  but that’s.

Not uncommon for, you know, 69, 70 year old guys. Sure. Um, you know, I bet when I broke my wrist in 78, that it’s still broken. It was a non union fracture that I’ve never gotten fixed.  And just

play through it. I just play.

I wore a brace. I wore a brace on my left wrist  because they wanted to, they wanted to fuse it.

Right. Yeah. I can, I can golf. So it’s not that bad. So you’re good. Yeah.

Awesome. Yeah. So if you didn’t play football.  Take a wild guess looking back. What do you, where do you think you would end it up?

If I, if I had left college and not played in the NFL, I might’ve gone to work in the medical malpractice insurance company.

Yeah. Yeah. And did you love it? I really enjoyed it. Yeah. I love, I enjoyed that. I enjoyed doing. Different things. You know, I enjoyed the silver recovery, the commodities thing. Yeah,

very much. So

business. Yeah, I started, I started my own, um, ad agency and production company  at the end of my career, uh, about 86.

Okay. Um, cause my last three years, um, we did a bunch of large, you know, big box and airlines promotions. Very cool. Uh, for a few years, based out of San Jose. Yeah. And that was, that was great. It was, it was really good timing. Again, this is for another time in my career where I was, I was making decent money on the field by this point.

Right. But I was making more money off the field than I was on it. Not endorsements, not endorsements, business ventures. Yeah. This is pre NIL, pre everything. This is my business on the side. For sure. Um, which  I guarantee you will drive coaches crazy. Because they’d look at me like,  you know, what are you doing?

It’s working out just fine. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about me. I’m, I’m going to be just fine. I’d have done something like that. Um, I may not have planned on playing football.  It worked out pretty

good. Yeah. Great. So, so you announced retirement.  Did you even, did you even have broadcasting as any part of this is what Randy’s going to do for his next episode?

Well,

I’d had my own TV show and my own radio show in the Bay Area.  During, while you were playing football? Probably my last three or four years. Okay.  Um, I started doing an 80, 82 radio  and then I, my own production company came later on 86 or so.  But I had my own, I had a show or an interview show where I’d sit down and interview players and interview coaches and show highlights and do all that stuff.

And it was really cool. And then my, my company produced it. So it was another bonus for that. Sure. Um, and at the end of every football season,  I would put together my little tape. From my shows, my, the stuff I liked and, and whatnot, I’d give it to my agent and he’d send it to the networks  and say, you know, he’s not done, right.

But, you know, when he gets done, he’d love to, you know, get into that business.  And, you know, I was lucky enough,  you know, I.  Got right into it after I got done. So it was more or less

waiting for you. Yeah, as soon as you were

done Yeah, I went I went one one time to New York to basically sit down and have a dinner with a CBS executive  and Talk to them and a week or two later.

I went and interviewed with NBC and HBO for this  New show called Inside the NFL that,  um, Nick Bonacani and Len Dawson had just started doing.  And it was like, Hey, yeah, I could probably  chip in on that. What the heck? But,  you know, it turned out CBS hired me and I didn’t, they hired me for,  like, I had nine games my first year,  but I ended up doing 15  because they just liked what I was doing.

Yeah.  And, you know, from then.  Just kept going.  Yeah, it’s been

a while. Is it gonna keep going?

Yeah, that’s always my plan.  But then again, I’ve been in that business long enough that I think everybody  in that business, their plan is to keep going. Now you have somebody else’s job to tell you, no, that’s right.

Unexpectedly. Yes.  So your podcast, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about that.

Yeah. I started that probably about four years ago. I mean, I’ve taken a break for the last about six months,  but mainly because my, my producer.  Um,  moved, took a job in Detroit, and I was like, okay, I could do this myself, but I don’t have time to do this myself, so I won’t be doing this, so I’m gonna, I’m gonna kick it back up.

But it’s, I’ve always, I’ve always enjoyed  every, I wouldn’t say none of it’s sports,  you know, the vast majority of it isn’t sports.  You know, I love talking to people.  In politics, I love talking to people on the medical side, especially as it relates to head injuries and things like that.  Which is a big thing.

Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I even  have a, have a tendency to occasionally touch that third rail.  You know, and you let politics creep in. Oh, sure.  Who doesn’t?  But yeah, it’s, uh, and I enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. Yeah. And it’s a, it’s another skill. It’s, it’s something that, you know, if you don’t use it, you lose it. That’s it.

That’s it. So, um,  foot, football back then and football today, what would you say to, to like just major fundamental differences?

The, the, the biggest impact over the last, since I’ve been a broadcaster and not a player.  So I started broadcasting in 89  and probably up until about 2000,  it was roughly the same game that I played  roughly.  Free agency had come in.  So the money had dramatically changed Sure. In the early nineties.  Um, but up into the 2000 or so, it, it was basically the same game.

Mm-Hmm.  . Now, you know, a a, a good play that you could look at was Marvin Lewis.  Um, no. Mo Lewis, the linebacker for the New York Jets  hit Drew bled. So,  and he hit him so hard.  He  collapsed lung and bruised a kidney. I mean a liver. I  about killed him. Yeah.  And because of that injury, and that hit, Tom Brady got a shot at New England.

There you go.  And, but, you go back and you look at all the times Brady got just splattered earlier in his career. Sure. And that’s when Peyton’s starting to come on.  And all these high profile quarterbacks in the league, basically the light went on for the league, and they said, If we don’t take care of these guys,  we’re gonna have a, we’re gonna have an issue.

We’re gonna have a health issue. Right. Um. And, you know, I think as they moved along, the game’s gotten safer and safer. So I guess the, the biggest difference is this game they’re playing right now  is compared to the old game is kind of seven on seven with fat guys playing,  you know, and, and, and they’ve, they’ve neutered the middle of the field,  you know, Tom Brady got ripped.

Recently  for calling the game mediocre. Yeah.  And he’s absolutely spot on from the standard that he’d no doubt holds the game too. Right. And honestly, if that’s his opinion, that’s the only opinion that really matters. That’s the only one he’s got to worry about. And that’s it. Um, but the game has, it’s, it’s gotten dramatically safer.

And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the game and say they’ve gotten exponentially bigger and faster. Sure. And stronger  all the training and everything else. I mean, it’s just, it’s physics. Yeah. You take that much mass and you move it that fast.  Somebody is going to get hurt. It’s guaranteed.

Somebody is going to get hurt, but if they hadn’t have changed the rules, somebody would have died on the field. And that would have been a nightmare. And I think that’s part in the back of their mind. I think that was part of the impetus. Right. By Tagliabue,  into Goodell, in the league, and what they’ve done with all these new rules.

Yeah. And, you know, it drives some old football fans crazy. Yeah. Young, young ones don’t know any better. Right. Um, you know, the young ones ought to study, I’d love to sit down with a study group  of like 60s and 70s and 80s NFL films. Oh. And show them highlights of the defenses back then.

I’ll bet.

Unbelievable. They would,  half of them would, you know, they’d wet themselves. Sure. They’d be shuddering. Because it was a totally different game.  Totally different. And it’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. I say that all the time. People go, well, you don’t like the game? No, I love the game. Sure. I’m not.

It’s different. Why bite the hand that’s fed you? I mean, it’s a great game. It’s still a great game. There’s still amazing athletes playing it. It’s just a little safer. Sure. And it’s just a little,  you know, it’s, it’s PG 13. Yeah. It used to be X or R. Now it’s PG 13. That’s a great way to

put it. All right.

Two, two questions left. So take us behind the scenes of a broadcast. What’s

going on? We’ll Yeah, that’s,  that’s always fun. I mean, I, there’s, I still do two types. I do studio show. I do a studio show on Tuesday night called Inside College Football  with a great group of guys. I mean, it’s Rick Neuheisel and Brian Jones and Aaron Taylor and Adam Zucker and that’s semi scripted depending on the producers involved.

Um, but a lot of it is  left up to us. And it’s a lot of it’s the chemistry between us. We’ve been together now, the group of us for 10 or 12 years.  Um, so it makes that, that type of TV is literally fun. I mean, it’s just entertaining and entertains us and us just having a ball. So you’re just

sitting around talking.

Talking about football, talking about playing, talking about not so much about playing because that gets old fast for a lot of people, but you know, I think just talking about the game and our impressions and their experiences and things like that. And then there’s the games. Which, you know, in college football, it used to be Friday, and I did NFL for 20 years, and that meant you left Friday, you did interviews with the home team on Friday, you saw the visiting team on Saturday, all the time you’re studying tapes and reading articles and doing all that, all the information.

Sure.  And the player and coach interviews can be really fun, depending on the individuals. Some of them, because some of them are such characters, it’s just a blast to sit and talk to them. Others act like, you know, you’re imposing.  But that’s fine, you don’t have to talk to them for as long. Um, but it’s, and then the games themselves.

I tell people that just get into the business all the time, especially doing games,  I say you’ve got to not mind 80  90 percent of the stuff you study during the week. Whether it’s the tape you see, the games you see, the articles you read. The information you kind of download into your brain, um, you’re not going to use.

Because you can’t script a game.  A game never, ever really goes like you think it’s going to go. It’s got like a  life of it’s own. It does what it’s going to do and we just follow.

Right. Yeah, one person gets hurt. That could change everything. Yeah. Yeah.

Right. So, but, so the games itself, to me, they’re, that’s the most fascinating, that’s the most challenging  of the, of the two.

The, the studio stuff is fun. That’s just a blast. The games, that’s the challenging part. That’s the, and, and it’s, it’s just like when you watch a game,  you have to be able to look at the game.  Both sides of the ball, 22 guys are on the field.  And when you watch that things jump out at you,  you see guys do things.

You see guys fall. You see this guy make a, make a cut. You see this and it’s just. You know, then you’ve got to be able to talk to your producer and say, I want to see this, this, you know, I want to see this angle. I want to see, you know, you’re going to tell a straight or you’re going to do something, but it’s,  yeah.

And it’s, it’s three hours, very, very intense or three and a half hours now. Um, it’s really intense and it’s one of the best jobs in the world.

Would you, would you do it all over again if you had to?  Oh, yeah,

yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve done for, for sure. Yeah, for sure. The same way you did it. Yeah. I mean, I love  the way I, the way I got into it, the era I got into it.

I mean, I got to sit in CBS sports meetings  in the off season, getting ready for a season  with the greatest announcer ever, John Madden,  who basically ran the CBS sports side of football. Sure. And we did things in those old seminars. You know, TV is,  it’s one of the great opportunities an athlete will ever have,  but it’s also,  they don’t know what they’re doing.

They don’t know what you’re doing. I should put that that way. They don’t know what you’re doing.  And that’s one thing that John always said, you know, we’d have these seminars and we’d go over all this stuff, how to prepare, how to do all this. And it wasn’t them. It was him. Cause he, he basically said, Hey,  no one ever told me any of this stuff.

Sure. And this is how this business works.  And, and that’s the thing, because  And it happens to be something that you can either do or you can’t do. You can learn to be okay. Sure.  It’s almost like, you know, you’ve got this talent from the womb, right? And you’re going to be able to use it on air. Um, but it’s, it’s a crazy, crazy business.

It’s the best. It really is.

It’s a fascinating story all around. Thanks,  Randy. Thank you so much for being here.  I think that was the fastest 90 minutes I’ve experienced in a long time.  If it’s okay with you, we’re going to definitely have you back on the show. I feel like we only hit such a small part of a big, fascinating story.

Yeah. So thanks for joining us. First off. My pleasure. Okay, folks. So thanks for being here on the episode today. Randy Cross. Again, thanks so much for your time. Folks, be sure to like us, leave us a review on any of the platforms that you, uh, get your podcasts and we will see you at our next show.

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