Howard Cosell—the man largely responsible for making modern sports commentating into what it is today and turning football spectating into a careful, tedious study (all while wearing some of the loudest ties)—damn near ruined the game. At a time when the only truly analytical approach to football was being conducted by mobsters calculating the betting spread, his beat-like commentary did something terrible. Harnessing his brash personality and deliberate way with words—and his unchecked arrogance—the law-degree-totin’ foulmouth changed the very nature of how we understood the action on the field. Much of this handiwork involved his ongoing, televised war of words with “Dandy Don” Meredith in primetime. Gone were the days when football was simply football. A new era was ushered in, and with it came the number-crunching sideline savants who bled the game dry of its blue-collar bravado and replaced it with a pedantic, stat-sick approach. Non-athletes were not only welcomed into the press box as vaunted experts, but came carrying a condescending tone toward the battle-hardened veterans who once lived and breathed the game to the utmost. Read More
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