Since the news was first reported by an ABC affiliate, it was quickly picked up by the network, which was currently broadcasting the fourth quarter of the aforementioned Dolphins-Patriots game. Legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell was shaken by the news and unconvinced that announcing it on-air was the right thing to do. As revealed by a 2010 segment of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” (via Newsday), Cosell was persuaded to make the announcement by his partner, Frank Gifford, who told Cosell, “You’ve got to. If we know it, we’ve got to do it … Don’t hang on it. It’s a tragic moment, and this is going to shake up the entire world.”

So that was that — with three seconds left in the game, the score tied at 13, and the Patriots’ kicker lining up for a potential game-winning field goal, Gifford announced (via Newsday), “I don’t care what’s on the line. Howard, you have got to say what we know in the booth.” Cosell obliged, and in his trademark clipped, newsman-like style, he intoned, “Yes, we have got to say it. Remember, this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous, perhaps, of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Dead on arrival.”