Trailblazing sports journalist Jeannie Morris dies at age 85

Longtime sports journalist Jeannie Morris, a pioneer for female reporters who became the first woman to report live from the Super Bowl, died Monday. She was 85. 

Morris passed away at her condominium in Chicago. She had been undergoing treatment for appendiceal cancer.

“My mom had a stack of accomplishments. She woke up every morning curious, grateful and spring-loaded to say, ‘Yes,’” her daughter, Holly, told the Chicago Tribune. “That inspires me the most. The levity and bravery she brought to the last weeks of her life was a master class in dignity.”

Morris began her career writing the Chicago's American column, "Football is a Woman's Game" and it was written under the name, "Mrs. Johnny Morris" — her then-husband NFL player Johnny Morris. 

Jeannie Morris worked for 24 years as a reporter, producer and host for the Chicago-based stations, NBC-owned WMAQ and then at CBS-owned WBBM.

In 1975, Morris became the first woman to report live from the Super Bowl. 

In 1975, Jeannie Morris was the first woman to report live from Super Bowl IX. (Photo: Associated Press)

In a 2015 interview with the Chicago Bears, Morris described an era when credentials used to read: “no women or children allowed in the press box.”

Morris also wrote several books, including: "Brian Piccolo: A Short Season," "Adventures in the Blue Beast," and "Behind the Smile: A Story of Carol Moseley Braun’s Historic Senate Campaign." 

Morris is survived by her four children — Dan Boorman, Debra Dimick, Holly Morris, and Tim Morris — and seven grandchildren.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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