Dick Lynch, who twice led the National Football League in interceptions as a defensive back for the New York Giants and who later spent 40 years as a radio broadcaster for the team, died Wednesday September 24th at his home in the Douglaston section of Queens. He was 72.
The cause was leukemia, his son, John Liam Lynch, said. Lynch was a Giant for eight seasons, from 1959 through 1966, playing cornerback on teams with Y. A. Tittle and Frank Gifford and on the same defensive unit as Sam Huff, Jim Katcavage and Dick Modzelewski.
These were years when the team was often the second best in the league, four times advancing to the championship game and four times losing, in 1959 to the Baltimore Colts, in 1961 and 1962 to the Green Bay Packers and in 1963 to the Chicago Bears. In 1961 and 1963, Lynch intercepted nine passes, leading the league both times, and in 1963 he returned three of them for touchdowns, earning a place on the All-Pro team.
After the 1963 season, the Giants’ fortunes went into a prolonged downturn. The team did not reappear in a championship game until the 1986 Super Bowl, so for many fans the squads of Lynch’s tenure became emblems of the franchise’s past glory. It was this pedigree that helped make Lynch a fan favorite as a color commentator in the broadcast booth. Like Phil Rizzuto, the Yankees shortstop who became a beloved announcer, Lynch mixed football analysis with meandering stories about his playing days and greetings to his family and friends.
As he himself acknowledged, he often mispronounced names — a former Giants kicker, Brad Daluiso, gave him particular problems. And he regularly entertained listeners with malapropisms. Once he spent nearly an entire broadcast referring to the Houston Texans as the Houston Astros. During the Super Bowl of 2001, which the Giants lost to the Baltimore Ravens, he renamed the Baltimore quarterback, calling him Kent Dilfer, rather than Trent.
Richard Dennis Lynch was born in Oceanside, N.Y., on Long Island, on April 29, 1936. He played football at Notre Dame — on offense, as a halfback, as well as on defense, where he scored the only touchdown in Notre Dame's upset of Oklahoma in 1956, ending the Sooners 47-game winning streak. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins, for whom he played in 1958. He was traded to the Giants before the 1959 season.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 46 years, Roz; a sister, Myrna Caruso; two brothers, F. Kevin Lynch and Dennis Lynch; four daughters, Jennifer Lynch, Nancy Lord, Rosalie Nester and Cynthia Lynch, and 11 grandchildren. Another son, Richard, was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Lynch was in the broadcast booth for all four of the Giants’ appearances in the Super Bowl. The last game he announced was the team’s Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots last February.
“I think it was an unbelievable joy for him,” Bob Papa, Lynch’s broadcast partner for 13 seasons, said in an interview Wednesday. “Dick really bonded with this team. I think it reminded him of the championship teams he played on that lost. At the end of the game, there was a look of tremendous satisfaction on his face. He looked almost proud.”
Source: New York Times.com