But Jackson decided he couldn't stay away from football and kept broadcasting for the next seven years, primarily calling games in the western part of the country.
Many took to social media to mourn the loss of Jackson, saying Jackson made Saturday college football and the big bowl games "must see TV".
In the 2000s, in his 70s, Jackson was on the call for back-to-back BCS Championship appearances by Miami and his career ended with one of the most iconic games in history, the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC. Jackson called 15 Rose Bowls and 16 Sugar Bowls in his time with ABC.
And he was there for all the big games from decade to decade.
Throwback 1970 NY Jets vs. Cleveland Browns game. Howard Cosell Keith Jackson and Don Meredith called the game action
"Keith Jackson is a man of great character and a legendary broadcaster", former ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheime said when Jackson retired in 2006. Can close my eyes and think of so many of his special calls.
He is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl as "the granddaddy of them all". "One of the greatest to ever do it". There he became a true play-by-play legend, announcing thousands of games in what amounted to over a fifty-year career announcing college football games.
He will remembered for that and so much more.