by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Upper Saddle River, NJ
Long-time New York football broadcaster and ex-Pro Bowl punter Dave Jennings died at his home in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
He was 61.
According to his sister Susan Jennings, his only immediate survivor, the cause was complications of Parkinson's disease, which he has been battling for two decades.
Jennings was born in Manhattan on June 8, 1952 to the former Deborah Hunt, a pianist and music teacher, and Manson Jennings, was a college professor and administrator who became president of Southern Connecticut State College (now Southern Connecticut State University).
He played basketball at Garden City High School on Long Island. Later at St. Lawrence University in northern New York, he played both football and basketball. Undrafted out of college, he joined the New York Giants after being cut by the Houston Oilers.
Jennings played for the Giants for 11 seasons, from 1974 to 1984, during which they went 56-104.
He made four Pro Bowls, including three straight from 1978-80. He led the NFL in punts (104) and punting yardage (4,445), and in 1980 he led all punters with a 44.8-yard average.
He finished his playing career with three seasons with the Jets from 1985 to 1987.
Holding the Giants' records for punts (931) and yards (38,792), Jennings was inducted into the Giants' Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium in 2011.
Overall, his punts traveled 47,567 yards, more than 27 miles, the 11th-highest total in N.F.L. history.
After that, he made a smooth transition to the radio booth, working Jets games from 1988-2001 before joining Bob Papa and the late Dick Lynch in the Giants' radio booth from 2002-07. He quickly became known for his encyclopedic knowledge of NFL rules.
Jennings was diagnosed with what was then considered to be a "mild" form of "young onset" Parkinson's in 1998, three years after he first noticed the symptoms in his right foot.
The disease progressively took its toll and became much worse in recent years and months, according to several of his friends.