Remembering Chris Mortensen


Chris Mortensen, a renowned journalist with nearly four decades of experience covering the NFL, passed away on Sunday at the age of 72.

A Legend in Sports Journalism

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro expressed deep sadness over the loss, highlighting Mortensen’s role as an industry pioneer and dedicated team player. Known for his unparalleled skill and passion in NFL coverage, Mortensen was a respected figure among colleagues and fans alike.

Battling Cancer with Grace

In 2016, Mortensen bravely disclosed his battle with Stage IV throat cancer. Despite his health challenges, he remained committed to his work, even breaking the news of Peyton Manning’s retirement. The legendary quarterback paid tribute to Mortensen as a true icon in the field of sports journalism.

A Fond Farewell

Following his retirement after the NFL Draft last year, Mortensen prioritized his well-being, family, and faith. His impact on the sports world was evident as fellow analysts and friends shared heartfelt memories of his kindness and love for the game.

Legacy of Excellence

Remembering a Legend in Sports Journalism

Chris Mortensen, a legendary figure in sports journalism, received the Dick McCann Award from the Professional Football Writers of America in 2016. This prestigious honor was renamed to the Bill Nunn Jr. Award in 2021, recognizing his long and distinguished contribution to the coverage of the game. Each year, the award is presented during the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies in honor of his remarkable career.

A Trailblazer in the Industry

Mortensen’s extensive career in sports journalism saw him work for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1983 to 1989. During his time there, he covered the Atlanta Falcons from 1985-86 and provided league-wide coverage until 1989. Moving on to The National in 1989, Mortensen spent nearly two years with the publication before taking on roles as an NFL columnist for The Sporting News and a contributing writer for Sport magazine. Additionally, he served as a consultant for CBS’ “The NFL Today” in 1990.

A Personal Tribute

Falcons owner Arthur Blank paid a heartfelt tribute to Mortensen, expressing his gratitude for knowing him since his days at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Calling Chris a personal hero, Blank highlighted Mortensen’s professional excellence and personal grace that left a lasting impact on many in the sports community. Mortensen’s ability to face life’s challenges with grit and determination serves as an enduring inspiration to all who knew him.

Legacy and Remembrance

A native of Torrance, California, Mortensen began his journalism career at the South Bay Daily Breeze in 1969 after serving two years in the Army. His contributions to the field were unparalleled, earning him accolades as one of the greatest reporters in sports history. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter mourned Mortensen’s passing, remembering him as not only a top-tier reporter but also an exceptional individual. Mortensen’s legacy will live on through his work and the lasting friendships he cultivated throughout his career.

A Fond Farewell

Chris Mortensen is survived by his wife, Micki, and son, Alex, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations of sports journalists to come. His dedication to the craft and unwavering commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on the world of sports journalism and beyond. As we bid farewell to a true legend in the field, we remember Chris Mortensen with admiration and gratitude for his immense contributions to the industry.

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