MNF moments, No. 12: Cosell and Lennon

AP Photo/Richard Drew

To celebrate the 45th season of "Monday Night Football," a panel of ESPN.com contributors has selected the 45 most memorable moments in MNF history. Follow along as we reveal one per day and count down to this season's MNF debut.

No. 12: Dolphins 16, Patriots 13, OT | Dec. 8, 1980

With three seconds left in a 13-13 game, New England Patriots kicker John Smith headed out to attempt a game-winning field goal. There were significant playoff implications for the 8-5 Patriots, who hadn't beaten the Miami Dolphins on the road since 1969.

"John Smith is on the line," Frank Gifford said before asking broadcast partner Howard Cosell to break the news. "And I don't care what's on the line, Howard, you've got to say what we know in the booth."

Twenty-seven seconds later, no one was thinking about Smith's kick as Cosell announced to the world that former Beatle John Lennon had been killed outside his New York apartment. Cosell's professional tone belied his friendship with Lennon, who had visited the booth six years earlier to promote his and former bandmate Ringo Starr's new albums.

Cosell finished perhaps his most notable call with a perspective shared by his audience: "Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which in duty bound we have to take."

Few remember that Smith's field goal attempt was blocked and the Dolphins won in overtime.