At any rate, he does not insist upon being the whole show. He has brought the television sports documentary to adulthood by hiring talented writers and then keeping his nose out of their work. "Documentary writing is lousy work," says Jerry Izenberg, who wrote Cosell's Pro Football's Shotgun Marriage: Sonny, Money and Merger, a highly acclaimed study of the war between the football leagues, "because what happens is you get a producer-director who puts together a lot of film clips and then says, 'Write a script.' Cosell, on the other hand, puts the horse in front of the cart, and you don't end up writing bridge lines for guys catching passes."
Laying plans for Sonny, Money and Merger, Cosell called his talent together. "What's your concept for the music?" he asked a short Middle European named Vladimir Selensky.
"First of all," said Selensky, "you do not want football music. You want something totally different."
Cosell glanced at an ad salesman in the room. The salesman's eyes carried an alarm that cried, "It'll never sell!"
"What do you have in mind?" Cosell patiently asked Selensky.
"I want storm clouds. I want tension. I want an all-is-not-well feeling."
Silence blanketed the room. Selensky turned to Izenberg, searching for support. "What do you think?" he asked.
"I like it," Izenberg said.
"You," Selensky informed him, "have a soul. You may call me Vlady."
Cosell, measuring the convictions of his talent against those of his ad salesman, instructed Selensky to put together the storm clouds and bring them in. When Selensky did so, Cosell listened to no more than five bars. "Perfect!" he cried and walked away, knowing that the music (which was to endow the football war with all the intensity of a midwinter battle at the gates of Moscow) was in the hands of a professional.