Howard Cosell

Broadcaster and legendary sports-journalist

 

"Every person working in sports journalism today owes a tremendous debt to Howard Cosell. His greatest contribution was elevating sports reporting out of daily play-by-play and placing it in the larger context of society."
-- Roone Arledge, former President of ABC Sports


ABC Monday Night Football (MNF)

"HELLO AGAIN, EVERYBODY, THIS IS HOWARD COSELL SPEAKING OF SPORTS"

"to voices what the Grand Canyon is to ditches.… "
-- Dave Kindred, Sports Journalist, author

 

Whether revered or reviled, Howard Cosell was just as good at creating an audience as he was at alienating it, and that was just what professional football needed.

It's time for the late Howard Cosell, and devoted NFL football fans to see Howard Cosell receive proper recognition in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio in return for his exceptional contributions to the game of professional football. The Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

 

"Howard Cosell was Monday Night Football. Without Howard Cosell, there was no Monday Night Football." - Director MNF, Chet Forte

Cosell was an iconic combination of pioneering sports journalist, color commentator and broadcast legend. True sports enthusiasts remember Howard Cosell for many different reasons. To some Cosell is remembered for his notable commentary reporting directly from the Olympic Village in Munich during the "Black September" murders in 1972, for others it was covering Muhammad Ali and the world of boxing at large, and still others for Cosell's interviewing John Lennon of the Beatles during a MNF game on December 9th, 1974, and almost exactly six years later, sadly announcing Lennon's death during another MNF game on December 8th, 1980. The exciting manner with which Cosell delivered his weekly "Halftime Highlights" recap of Sunday's games from the day before is still viewed with reverence in the sports broadcasting industry today. Hollywood actors and actresses, governors, and Presidents would seek out Cosell in the ABC broadcast booth just for an interview. Who else but Cosell had interviews with the great NFL players and coaches like Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Fran Tarkenton, Franco Harris, O.J. Simpson, Don Shula, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and many others.


           It was over thirty years ago that John Lennon of the Beatles rock band was shot dead in front of his Manhattan apartment on December 8th, 1980. Howard Cosell announced it at the end of the Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins scored on the first possession of overtime to win 16-13.

"Remember, this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses," Cosell told TV viewers. "An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous, perhaps, of all the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead ... on ... arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which in duty bound, we have to take." --HOWARD COSELL

As fans watching the game on TV listened to Howard Cosell deliver the stunning news, all they saw was Patriots kicker John Smith preparing for a field goal attempt. Meanwhile, players and fans inside the stadium were not aware of that Howard Cosell had just announced the shooting death of John Lennon on national television.

Other people may recall the comment "Look at that little monkey run!" about Washington Redskins kickoff-return specialist Herb Mul-Key.  Mul-Key wore the number #28 on his jersey before Darrell Green.

 

 

 
Mark Ribowsky's new biography,
"Howard Cosell - The Man, the Myth and the Transformation of American Sports"

 

 





"He's a seminal figure not only in sports, but all of television."
--Dick Ebersol, former president of NBC Sports


"If Howard said, `I'm going to get the newspaper,' it sounded like an exciting event."
-- Producer, director, Woody Allen


"Howard Cosell was Monday Night Football. Without Howard Cosell, there was no Monday Night Football."
-- Chet Forte, former Director of ABC Monday Night Football


"No one has had a greater impact on sports-casting and television sports journalism."
-- George Steinbrenner, N.Y. Yankees


"When the complete book on sports-casting in the 20th Century is composed, Howard Cosell has earned the longest chapter. His influence in sports-casting has been profound."
-- Sportscaster, Dick Enberg


"If Howard Cosell picked you for a Monday Night Football highlight, you were big."
-- Matt Millen


"Cosell is the franchise. He may also be the most valuable property in American sports. There's no question that Howard Cosell was the most important sports journalist of our time, and because so much of what he did transcended sports, he was one of the most important journalists... period."
-- Sports Journalist, SportsWorld Magazine, Robert Lipsyte


"I remember him as someone who was an important journalistic figure, and I think to deny that is to let your prejudices get in the way."
-- Author, Frank Deford


"He became a giant by the simple act of telling the truth in an industry that was not used to hearing it and considered it revolutionary."
-- Monday Night Football Creator and former President of ABC Sports, Roone Arledge


Howard was a true original. He rose like a screeching comet and left a trail that no modern broadcaster has ever dared to follow.
There will never be another like him.
-- NFL Films, Steve Sabol


"He was a fine gentleman."
-- Russ Francis, receiver, former New England Patriots


"I found him to be genuine in his compassion. I'll never forget him for that."
-- Daryl Stingley, former New England Patriots


"Howard Cosell was a colorful guy. The broadcaster's death is a sad day for sports. I did not, and do not, take exception to anything he said about me in the broadcast. Matter of fact, I am pleased that he singled me out for such favorable attention."
-- Washington Redskins wide-receiver, Alvin Garrett


"Howard Cosell was a good man and he lived a good life. I have been interviewed by many people, but I enjoyed interviews with Howard the best. We always put on a good show. I hope to meet him one day in the hereafter. I can hear Howard now saying, Muhammad, you're not the man you used to be. I pray that he is in God's hands. I will miss him."
-- Former heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali 
 


 

Howard Cosell's Awards



1974 Emmy Award nomination from the National Academy of  Television Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Achievement in Sports Programming - Nominee

1976 National Chairperson to the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

1984 Ronald Reagan Media Award

Howard Cosell: "Speaking of Sports" - two-minute, daily radio show (1961-1992)

Howard Cosell: "Speaking of Everything" - weekly hour-long, radio show on Sunday nights in New York by Ohlmeyer Communications (1988)

“ABC SportsBeat” from 1981-1986, a half-hour TV show, won 3 Emmy Awards

Cosell placed at number one on David J. Halberstam's list of Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers on Yahoo! Sports

Voted in the "Top Ten" by American Sportscasters Association (ASA)

1980 Announced John Lennon's death on MNF 12/08/1980

1993 American Sportscasters Hall of Fame

1993 National Sportscasters and Sportswriters (NSSA) Hall of Fame

1993 Inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

1995 ESPY Awards recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award (by ESPN)

1995 Sports Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

1996 Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Award

2007 Induction to The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in New York

2010 International Boxing Hall of Fame - Canastota

Historian for the Friars Club

Editor of the New York University "Law Review"

Poynter Fellow at Yale University for "significant contributions in the media"

Excellence in Sports Journalism Award, presented by the Northeastern University School of Journalism

Founder of Legend Productions TV production company


Howard Cosell Sports Documentaries:

     "A Look Behind the Legend" about Babe Ruth

     "The Polo Grounds: Requiem for an Arena" (April 1964), about the demolition of New Yorks historic Coogans Bluff Polo Grounds. Horace McMahon narrates this special review of the history of the Polo Grounds. Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, Willie Mays, Joe Louis, Floyd Patterson, Ken Strong, Arthur Daly, Frankie Frisch, Leo Durocher, Jack Dempsey and Carl Hubbel review the fabulous past of the Polo Grounds, a great arena where everything but Polo was played. Produced by Howard Cosell. (52 minutes)


     "Grambling: One Hundred Yards to Glory" a Golden Eagle Award winner about the history of Grambling College football

     "Run to Daylight" Vince Lombardi and Green Bay Packers training camp, Howard Cosell and Lou Volpicelli (1964)
     (Run to Daylight "the most highly acclaimed TV sports documentary ever" - Lawrence Linderman - Playboy Mag.)

     "Mickey Mantle: A Self Portrait" Interview style documentary on Mantles obsession with death and dying. (August 1965, 25 minutes)


     "Johnny Keane: The Yankee From Texas"

     "Whitey Ford: A Self Portrait" (April 16, 1966)

     Other player self portraits on Jim Brown, Wilt Chamberlain, Pancho Gonzales, Ralph Houk




Author of four books:
     -Cosell (1973)
     -Like It Is (1974)
     -I Never Played the Game (1985)
     -What's Wrong With Sports (1991)

 

 


Howard Cosell's induction to the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame (2007)

 

"Every person working in sports journalism today owes a tremendous debt to Howard Cosell. His greatest contribution was elevating sports reporting out of daily play-by-play and placing it in the larger context of society."
-- Roone Arledge, former President of ABC Sports

 

 

 

 

 

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