In that book, he thoroughlyÂ detailed his disgustÂ with the sportsÂ that his voice had defined, takingÂ no prisoners amongst their administrators and media â especially those who he worked alongside at ABC.Â In an era with three television stations, and without specialized sports talk radio andÂ Internet, Cosell, at one point or another, was a broadcaster onÂ Monday Night Football, the World Series, scores of prominent heavyweight boxing matches, the Olympics, and the Kentucky Derby. âObviously, though, many of my critics in the sportswriting fraternity were afraid of their myopic little world being imperiled, and they lashed out at me with a vengeance. "I speak my mind," he said. Before the start of the 13th round, Howard Cosell, who called the fight for ABC-TV, said, “This is as brutal a mismatch as I think I’ve ever seen.” Cosell was so disgusted by the fight that he quit covering boxing. "I nearly fell over laughing when I read that statement.
Mr. Cosell, who had been in failing health, died of a heart embolism, said his grandson, Justin Cohane.
With allÂ theyâdÂ achieved in sports television, the later years should have been their gracious victory lap. Cosell’s own background as a lawyer added a professionalism that the entire market was evolving into. Dunphy was sparse in words, allowing the action to tell the story and he merely commented on what was in front of him. As for Cosell, boxing was a mere prop to his pomposity and verbage. Cosell was the catalyst, setting the tone of the game while egging on Meredith. Cosell was a bitter,hateful guy, but I loved him :D
Cosellâs legal opinion was that the NFLâs bylaws requiring three-quarters of owners to approve aÂ franchise relocation left the leagueÂ vulnerable to antitrust laws, where necessitating a simple majority mayÂ not have.Â Given that Rozelle was an ardent defender of The Shield, and that Davis was his white whale, anybody who was not 100% on his side in this dispute was the exact opposite. While Dunphy reported the event in front of him, Cosell was always a pundit first. . Back then, we all hated him.
Forced to apologize, Cosell never recovered and his career on Monday Night Football soon ended. Six days later, on December 2, 1982, Cosell announced his decision. With a unique deep Bronx voice, Cosell did not have the matinee look made for television. From I Never Played the Game: While Cosell was polarizing â according to a 1983 Frank Deford SI cover story, a TV Guide poll had âfound him, indisputably, the most liked and disliked announcer in sportsâ a few years back â he had been, by this point, a massive American celebrity for nearly two decades. Mr. Cosell had so little vanity that he used to hang his toupee on a hatrack when he was off camera. Cosell could no longer tolerate sleazy promoters like Don KingÂ and Bob Arum â who remained disruptive forces in the sport long after Cosell was gone; King fleeced Mike Tyson out of millions while Arum has been a major factor in the fact that Mayweather-Pacquaio has taken so damn long to happen â and called on the television networks to stop airing boxing until there was federal regulation of the sportÂ to ensure standardization of fighter ratings, medical examinations, and safety precautions.
". Many of the issues that he railed against inÂ Never Played are still relevant 30 years later. In Cosell’s mind, these athletes were not not qualified journalists nor did they pay their dues before making the jump. As the 70’s wore on, Cosell's popularity started to wane. Insecure about hems voemce. To Mr. Cosell, criticism was just another form of homage. None of them, by the way, dared mention that I was forfeiting between $500,000 and $1 million a year by walking away from boxing. Ironically enough, it would be Cosellâs perceived favoritism towards league office nemesis Al Davis in his quest to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles against the wishes of the NFL that was the catalyst for the deterioration of Cosellâs relationship with Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Cosell gave Rozelle emmmense credemt for buemldemng the league emnto a behemoth (accordemng to Cosell, annual televemsemon revenue aloneÂ soaredÂ from $4.6 memllemon emn 1962 to $400 memllemon emn 1982), and referred to hemm as âthe femnest commemssemoner emn the hemstory of professemonal sport,â but came to resent the orchestrated manner emn whemch Rozelle massaged hems reputatemon emn the medema. I lack mediocrity. Cosell's impact can be measured in many ways. In all I've read about him, from independent & bias sources makes it clear to me that he was a terrible broadcaster & journalist and that what made him so bad was precisely what he believed made him so great. His opinionated style of journalism gave rise to the present shock jock style of journalism. "This is as brutal a mismatch as I think I've ever seen," he told the television audience during the fight.
Their primary interest was carrying on their hateful, twenty-five-year-old literary pogrom against me and the hell with examining the sordid situation that prompted my decision.â. OwnersÂ wanted more. "[/QUOTE] ", When told that his fight with Holmes had driven Cosell out of professional boxing, Cobb said, "If I eliminate heart disease, if I walk on water, if I come up with a cure for crippled kids, I can't image a greater gift to mankind. Notes: For him, the boxing match was the event and he was the storyteller. âIn almost every case, itâs the fans who get ripped off. After he left boxing, Cosell would cite numerous studies on his SportsBeatÂ programÂ about brain trauma that the fighters endured, and continued to advocate for federal regulation. My favorite Cosell story involves Tex Cobb's comment, when he heard that Cosell was going to quit covering boxing, after Cobb's near…, great stuff..thank you Put an ex-jock in the booth, and their clichÃ©-ridden presentation of a game is the least of their sins. However, he had threatened to quit many times over the years, but Roone Arledge had always indulged his ego and talked him out of it. In the middle of the 70’s, ABC had Cosell star in his own variety show but the show bombed. How many times must the viewing public be subjected to the same old worn-out bromides? Sure enough,Carter hit a little dink in front of the center fielder for a hit. âCosell did have a lawyerâs logical clarity,â Robert Lipsyte, who wrote for the New York Times, as well as forÂ Cosellâs short-lived variety show in the mid-70âs, andÂ recently finished hisÂ stintÂ as ESPNâs Ombudsman, told me. Thanks for the great write up. In 1984, Muhammad Ali, of whom Cosell was the most attached to of anybody throughout his career in broadcasting, was diagnosed with Parkinsonâs. In any event, this was about the final straw for Cosell on theÂ Monday Night Football broadcast. Cosell's opinions and his confidence that made him a star. McCarver has done this sort of thing numerous times, and to dislike McCarver is really to dislike baseball.McCarver truly set the gold standard for baseball commentary, just as John Madden did for football, and Bud Collins for tennis. One strength that Cosell possessed was his ability to report off the cuff. By standing parallel to the game and owing nothing to it, by demystifying it, by bullying it and not being bullied by it, Cosell made it into an Event. As a result of their lack of training, most of them are blessedly lost when trying to establish a storyline for a telecast â i.e., detecting trends, keying on the personality and experiences of a player as they relate to his performance on the field, knowing his strengths and weaknesses, recalling the flow of events from earlier in the game and from other games in other years. The focus on personalities was successful, especially after he joined ABC's "Wide World of Sports" as a boxing commentator, frequently interviewing an Ali who was at the peak of his fame, some of which rubbed off on Mr. Cosell. Jackson was the straight man, calling the action while acting as a referee. At the end of his chapters on boxingÂ inÂ I Never Played the Game, Cosell called for boxingâs abolition. Cosell hadÂ remained contributing to baseball coverage and hosting SportsBeat, the journalistically acclaimed magazine-style program that was something of a precursor toÂ Outside the Lines.Â When the book came out and had the obvious ripple effect of juicy quotes highlighted in reviews, Cosell and ABC were no more. What made the Monday Night Football a success was the tension between the “jock” Meredith, who provided the comic relief to Cosell's pomposity.
There was no middle ground but make no mistake, Cosell was the first broadcaster who actually made a difference in the rating of a sporting event. "I tell it like it is," was the way he put it in a signature remark that was often challenged but never to the point where Cosell would back down. Theyâve isolated the setback one-on-one against the linebacker, and you canât let them get away with that. In a way, this movie signaled a changing of the guard.
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