Anthony Cris Collinsworth was born January 27, 1959, in Ohio, but the family would move to Florida.
People recognize Collinsworth from his appearances broadcasting and in the studio talking about the NFL, but people forget or may not know just how good of a football player he was himself. He certainly had the genes for it. His father, Abe Collinsworth, was one of the top scorers in Kentucky high school basketball history, and played for the Kentucky Wildcats team that won the 1958 national championship.
In high school, Collinsworth was an All-American quarterback and a state champion in the 100-yard dash. He would choose to go to the University of Florida, and star as a member of the Gators from 1977-1980.
Collnsworth was recruited to play quarterback. How's this for a first game: He threw a 99-yard touchdown pass against the Rice Owls, which remains tied for the longest touchdown pass in NCAA history.
He would later switch to receiver in a new offensive scheme. As a receiver he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and a first-team All-American in 1980. During his career at Florida, Collinsworth caught 120 passes for 1,937 yards and 14 touchdowns, while also rushing for two touchdowns and adding one on a kickoff return. In fact, he averaged 24.2 yards per kickoff return.
In 1980 he helped Florida lead the biggest turnaround season in NCAA history, going from 0-10 to an 8-4 bowl team. After his senior year, he was more than NFL ready.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the second round as the 37th overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-5, and fast he was an ideal target. He surpassed 1,000 yards receiving four times in his Bengals career (in 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986) and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1981, 1982 and 1983.
In his first season, the Bengals would make Super Bowl XVI, but barely lose to Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers, 26-21. Collinsworth had 4 catches for 107 yards, but a costly fumble. He would again make the Super Bowl in the 1988 season, but lose again to Montana and the 49ers. That game would be his last as injuries slowed down his career. He had 3 catches for 40 yards in the game.
Collinsworth finished his eight-season NFL career with 417 receptions for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns in 107 games.
After the 1989 Super Bowl, that's when he began his focus on broadcasting and where he still is today. He's won 15 Sports Emmys during his work wth NBC, Showtime, and the NFL Network.
Here's to you, Chris Collinsworth. Happy Birthday.