How much of U.S. found out Lennon died 35 years ago

Musician John Lennon, shown on the electronic screen during the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, was 40 when he died.  

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Back in the days before 24-hour news networks and social media, breaking news was disseminated much differently, and 35 years ago today, Dec. 8, was one of the most glaring examples of that.

The Dolphins and Patriots, playing in a Monday Night Football game, took a backseat to the news that John Lennon had been shot and killed. Howard Cosell’s chilling words made the what was happening in the game moot.

"Remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses," Cosell said during the 1980 broadcast. "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 The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Dead on arrival.


"Hard to go back to the game after that news flash."

Cosell was broadcasting the game with Frank Gifford. You can hear the original clip here.

You can read more about that infamous evening here