Come on, cut the Cosell rubbish ("I've Won. I've Beat Them," Aug. 8). You people are just looking for a lot of mail from a bunch of irate jerks. Well it won't work!
How could you put us through the torture of looking at Howard Cosell's face for a whole week?
Shame on you! Why would a first-class magazine put the south end of a north-bound Missouri mule on its cover?
I think the article is best described in the words of Will Shakespeare: "Much ado about nothing."
RALPH B. COLE
Kennett Square, Pa.
August 21, 1983
There's not enough space in the magazine for me to tell you what I think of Howard Co-sell. Instead, I'll tell you how much I love that wonderful knob on my TV set that allows me to change the channel whenever he appears. I'm sure that, as a person, Cosell is a fine man. As a broadcaster, he's the fingernail on the chalkboard of life.
How appropriate that Frank Deford includes a Cosell quotation that sums up how many of us feel about him based upon our exposure to him over the years. Howard said that it was going to be easy to be the "top sports guy in television" because "the rest of them are all asses." It follows that he is the biggest ass of all.
Deford's Cosell would make Boswell throw up, particularly the line, "I've got the public, its respect, its love, its adulation"!
ABC Sports originator and now prominent movie producer Edgar Scherick's comparison of Howard Cosell to Will Rogers is the sort of farcical hyperbole one associates with, uh, Howard Cosell. It is difficult to imagine that, a half century after his demise, posterity's response to Cosell will be anything but "Who?"
Frank Deford says, "Howard Cosell is sports in our time." Is that "sports" as in Battle of the Network Stars?
B. MARK DAVIS
I finished reading Frank Deford's article on Howard Cosell and immediately wondered why I had. Cosell's telecasts, like most journalistic pieces written or delivered in the first person, annoy me. His pompous belief that he is bigger than the events he covers offends me. Mainly, however, he just doesn't interest me. If Cosell is "sports in our time," point me to the opera house.
Frank Deford's article on Howard Cosell was like a Cosell broadcast, a boring diatribe. It is easy to understand why Deford treats Co-sell as a deity: They both revel in superfluous verbiage. I am one of those "poor bastards" who turn off the sound to avoid the cacophony of Howie's one-sided discourse. No, Mr. Deford, I haven't missed the game. You've missed the boat.
Speaking for the "poor bastards" of this country, I believe that the only thing worse than Howard Cosell's profusion of pompous platitudes is journalism without balance. Surely a person as controversial as Cosell could be shown from both positive and negative sides. Deford's insinuations that Cosell's detractors are either unenlightened or anti-Semitic are, in my view, insulting. I hope that we can expect more evenhanded journalism in future articles, or my status as a 10-year subscriber to your once fine magazine will be abruptly changed.
Please don't call me a "poor bastard"! I put Frank Deford in the same category as Big Mouth. I would think the editors would have deleted or reworded that last sentence, or maybe SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is being carried away by self-importance.
JAMES E. STRONG
Howard Cosell does "grab the viewer" and shake him. I would find even a soccer game interesting (soccer being a sport I do not particularly like) if he were announcing it. He is also one of the reasons I enjoy Monday Night Football so much. Deford hit the mark when referring to the people who turn Cosell off. The poor bastards do indeed miss the game. It's their loss.
If proof of Howard Cosell's popularity is needed, let me inform you that one of the impressions people across the country most often do for me is Cosell.
As an impressionist, I'm disappointed that Howard chose not to continue his political career in the Democratic Party. Distinctive voices and mannerisms are my career's life-blood, and the Democrats nowadays are a little lacking in these areas. Cosell for President is an impressionist's dream.
Even those of us who have high regard for Howard Cosell's contributions to sports broadcast journalism are rarely able to disregard his obvious blemishes. It is equally rare to see this complex character given a fair appraisal in any media format. Frank Deford deserves an ovation for presenting a complete picture in limited space. As for Cosell himself, the final paragraph "tells it like it is." Few professionals in any endeavor are worthy of greater tribute. Hooray for Howard!
HARRY W CRAWFORD
Major, USA (ret.)
Being a Cosell fan who openly admits liking Howard, I have for years taken flak from various acquaintances about what a jerk I am for admiring the great broadcaster. Well, thanks to the masterful article by Frank Deford—not to mention Arnold Newman's cover photo—I am going to make all those Cosell detractors eat their words.
Congratulations to Arnold Newman for the excellent cover photograph of "The One and Only." Frank Deford rates strong plaudits, too, for his exceptionally fine article on Howard and his family.
JOHN F. KING
Barry McDermott hit the nail right on the head when he described the steadfast demeanor of Jan Stephenson (The Lady Was Too Hot to Handle, Aug. 8). She is not just another pretty face. After I saw her play at the Boston Five Classic in Danvers, Mass. two weeks ago, one thing struck me: This is no "dumb blonde." She is tough in attitude and, especially, skill. True, looks are important to her. However, winning scores and not frilly hairdos are what made her No. 1.
West Roxbury, Mass.
A GOOD QUARTERBACK
Excitement! That's what Richard Todd causes, and Douglas S. Looney captured it (Wall Street Richard, Aug. I). Todd is what the game is all about. He allows one to cheer wildly, and cry, too, all in a single game. He makes football what it should be, a game. Todd may not win a Super Bowl for New York, but to see him play is worth more than any ticket price.
Until the arrival of my Aug. I issue, 1 thought there were only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Thanks to Richard Todd, I now know there is another: The bottle of 1977 Louis Roederer Cristal champagne Todd has been saving to celebrate a Super Bowl victory will never be opened.
SPENCER VS. ROBERTS
Kenny Roberts and Freddie Spencer (A Doodle Dandy of a Dogfight, Aug. 1) are truly unsung American sporting heroes. As Sam Moses pointed out, they are currently waging the most dramatic battle in international motor sports, displaying talents that are even more awesome than the ultra-tech motorcycles they race.
Just as in Formula I auto racing, the general American public is slow to catch on. But with 70,000 fans at the Laguna Seca National in July (Roberts, Randy Mamola and Eddie Lawson raced, Spencer was withheld by Honda to protect him from injury in view of his slim lead in the world championship), a U.S. Grand Prix can't be long in coming. Perhaps then these extremely talented American racers, the best in the world, will achieve the recognition at home that they deserve.
GARY S. THOMPSON
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.