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Jeannie Morris (1935–2020), first woman to report live from the Super Bowl

by Linnea Crowther

Jeannie Morris was a pioneering sportscaster who became the first woman to report live from a Super Bowl, at 1975’s Super Bowl IX.

Trailblazing career

Morris began working in sports journalism in the 1960s, writing for the Chicago Daily News and Chicago’s American. The then-wife of Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Morris, she wrote her early columns under the byline “Mrs. Johnny Morris.” She moved to sports broadcasting at Chicago’s WMAQ and WBBM TV stations, continuing for decades. Morris often found she had to argue with men to get the access she needed, in press boxes, on the field, and in locker rooms. On one memorable occasion, as she covered a Bears-Vikings game with a press box that explicitly barred women and children from entering, she reported from the box’s roof in a blizzard. Morris was honored with 11 Emmy Awards, and in 2014, she became the first woman to win the Ring Lardner Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism.

Notable quote

“Athletes generally are closer to their mothers. They’ll tell me things they’d never dream of telling a man.” —from an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times

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Tributes to Jeannie Morris

Full obituary: The Chicago Sun-Times

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