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Todd Christensen passed away today from complications of a liver transplant.  A devout Mormon, Todd never drank.  It is supposed that the liver complication originated from a gall bladder operation many years ago.

 

Todd Christensen Mustache Alert

Todd Christensen (1956-2013) sporting his trademark bushy mustache and corduroy jacket in a pregame moment on themtn network.

Working with Todd Christensen was the highlight of my 30 year career as a Sports TV Statistician. I met Todd while working as a sports statistician for themtn network that covered the Mountain West Conference for several years.  Todd came in to cover a San Diego State football game and I worked as a statistician for Todd and the play by play announcer.  Most times the color analyst doesn’t use the statistician.  Todd asked for some interesting specialty stats and I fed him as much as I did the PxP announcer.  Todd was memorable for his erudite vocabulary and his strong operatic tenor voice as he belted out the national anthem before the game.

The second game I worked with Todd was a basketball game just a few weeks later.  Before the game, I walked up right behind Todd and he was telling his partner that there was a really good stats guy here at SDSU.  He turned and I thanked him profusely.  He told me that I was as good as any of the statisticians he had worked with in college or NFL games.  I appreciated the challenges he provided and I was proud when he used my numbers to explain a game situation.

The last time I worked with Todd Christensen, he asked me before the game to research the no-huddle offense after an NFL coach made a comment about it that week.  I told Todd that I had no clue about X’s and O’s.  I’m just a numbers guy. Nonetheless, he asked me to do the research.  I did so and I hypothesized the the no-huddle would increase fatigue late in the game and could result in an increased chance of injury.  Todd thanked me.  I left the booth on an errand and came back a few minutes later.  As I came in Todd said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the smartest guy in the room.”   I have been given no higher compliment in my time as that and I received it from no better man.

Todd Christensen was a gentleman of the highest standards and practice.  During his storied career with the Oakland Raiders, he played among players who were called Outlaws.  Todd practice his faith and demonstrated class throughout his career.  Two SuperBowl rings.  Twice, he broke the record for most catches by a Tight End in the National Football League.

After football, Todd went into television and excelled in the booth for NBC paired with the legendary Charlie Jones, ESPN College and finally the last few years with the MountainWestConference network covering his beloved BYU.

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Two Superbowl Rings and twice caught more than 90 passes as a Tight End. A member of the BYU Hall of Fame, During his NFL career, he caught 461 passes for 5,872 yards setting several NFL records for Tight Ends.

There will be an empty place in the booth where Todd brought his eloquence and wit just as there is an empty place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame that should contain his bust.  And there will be an empty place in my heart as I remember the best moments of my career as a statistician that I shared in the broadcast booth with Todd Christensen.

Todd Christensen is survived by his wife and four sons. He was 57.

Bio on Wikipedia

Deseret News in Salt Lake City

LA Times

 

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