Sandy Grossman, who directed a record 10 Super Bowl broadcasts and spent more than two decades in the TV truck working with announcers Pat Summerall and John Madden, died April 2 at his home in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 78.
The cause was cancer, said a son, Dean Grossman.
When Madden, the former coach, watched film and practices to prepare for calling games, Mr. Grossman was right beside him. That homework paid off when the analyst would make a point on air and the director would immediately pull up the right clip to illustrate it.
Mr. Grossman also directed 18 NBA Finals and five Stanley Cup finals. He won eight Emmys.
His innovations included using music to go into the break during basketball games. After Mr. Grossman played “The Hustle” by Van McCoy, his son recalled, sales of the song skyrocketed, so the musician sent him gold records as a thank you.
With producer Bob Stenner, Mr. Grossman guided the celebrated partnership of Summerall and Madden, first at CBS then after their move to Fox. The understated style of Summerall, who died last April, paired with Madden’s booming enthusiasm became the soundtrack of the NFL’s expanding popularity.
Mr. Grossman embraced watching game film as a director before that was standard practice. Madden recalled how Mr. Grossman began isolating a camera on linemen so the analyst could delve into the nuances of the game. All that preparation made Mr. Grossman like a successful defensive coordinator who’s ready to handle anything the offense brings, Madden said. In his case, that meant sharp, seamless broadcasts.
Sanford Morton Grossman was born on June 12, 1935, in Newark. He graduated in 1957 from the University of Alabama, where he studied broadcasting. He worked as an usher at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan and served in the Army Signal Corps before joining CBS in New York, initially in public affairs. He became a production assistant and later worked his way into directing.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Faithe; four children; and eight grandchildren.
— Associated Press