SI Vault
William Taaffe
December 26, 1988
Believe it or not, it was two decades ago last month that NBC cut away from a dramatic New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to show that little bundle of joy named Heidi traipsing through a meadow in the Alps. What better way to celebrate her 20th than to hand out our annual Heidi Awards for the best and worst in sports TV for 1988? So Heidi ho, and away we go....
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December 26, 1988

'tis The Season For Heidi To Spread Her Cheers And Jeers

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?BEST-EDITED SPECIAL—The masterpiece by NFL Films president Steve Sabol on the Columbia football team's losing streak. The show appeared this fall on the syndicated This Is the NFL series. Full of feeling and emotion, it spoke not of winning but of endurance, courage and honor.

?WORST-EDITED SPECIAL—ABC's Super Bowl pregame show. With the exception of a piece on Super Bowl rings, it was a motley mess that often had little or nothing to do with football or America's fixation on the game. NFL players on Dennis Conner's yacht? A reporter visiting Mexico? Live shots of the masses in Beijing hustling to work on the subway? Give us a break.

?THE TIP-TOP SECURITY BADGE—To the West Virginia state police for their performance during the West Virginia Breeders Classic horse race, which was broadcast on ESPN but produced by Thoroughbred Sports. When director Doug Wren ordered his stage manager over an open headset to "shoot the governor—someone has to shoot the governor!" two troopers pulled out their guns to protect Governor Arch Moore. "I thought I was about to be shot," said interviewer Chris Lincoln.

?REPLAYS OF THE YEAR—1) The grisly shot of diver Greg Louganis cracking his head on the Olympic springboard. 2) Isiah Thomas kissing Magic Johnson before Game 3 of CBS's telecast of the NBA Finals.

?AIRHEAD QUESTION OF THE YEAR—Heidi likes the one Bill Swan-beck, sports reporter for KDFW-TV in Dallas, asked Cowboy wide receiver Everett Gay immediately after Dallas's 43-3 drubbing by the Minnesota Vikings: "Was it the play-calling?"

?THE HEIDI MONIKER MEDAL—To ESPN's Chris (I'll Never Be Your Beast of) Berman. Among his '88 creations were: Wally (Absorbine) Joyner, Cookie (Days of Wine and) Rojas, (Riders on the) Storm Davis, Walt (Three Blind) Weiss and Greg (Life Is a) Cadaret.

?BEST PREDICTION—Beano Cook, who stated on WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh that the Washington Redskins would beat the Denver Broncos 41-10 in the Super Bowl. Washington won 42-10. Cook has also predicted that West Virginia would win the national college football championship this season. Stay tuned.

?OUR FIRST SHABBY TREATMENT TROPHY—To NBC for the way it handled Joe Garagiola. Garagiola, whose contract ran through the end of the year, resigned last month after the network left him twisting in the wind. NBC wanted to postpone his renegotiation until it had a new contract with major league baseball; in fact, CBS got the contract, but Garagiola, a 26-year veteran with NBC, deserved better.

?Finally, our coveted HEIDI SPITTOON FOR BONEHEADEDNESS IN LOCAL SPORTS COVERAGE—To Denver stations KMGH and KUSA, which each had a reporter and cameraman accompany Bronco wide receiver Rick Massie, who has claustrophobia and is unable to fly, on a train to San Francisco, where Denver had a game against the 49ers. When the cameras began shooting, Massie became frantic just two miles outside of Denver and tried to escape from the train while it was moving. The Broncos charged that the lights, cameras and microphones had helped bring on Massie's attack. According to Massie, the two stations agreed not to run footage, but KUSA sent its tape to ESPN and CNN, both of whom aired it nationwide.

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