THREE FOR THE SHOW
Thanks for a fine article on the best team of sportscasters the announcing profession has ever seen (What Are They Doing with the Sacred Game of Pro Football?, Oct. 25). The Cosell-Gifford-Meredith trio defies the law of averages. How could such different personalities combine to form such a well-balanced machine? Edwin Shrake has done a fabulous job of giving us all a clearer picture. With Dandy Don, Fancy Frank and Headache Howard sitting up in the booth, ABC Monday night football will last longer than Ed Sullivan.
Your article on Howard, Frank and Don was superb! Thanks! It was like having an extra Monday night. NBC's Carl Lindemann obviously has been so anesthetized by Curt Gowdy's endless, inane jabbering that he is unable to revive until Tuesdays. Too bad for him.
ROBERT M. WATERSON
Thank you for revealing the saga of those three stooges on ABC. How Roone Arledge can allow Dandy Don and Horrible Howard to turn Gifford into Frivolous Frank is inconceivable to me.
Listening to a TV executive's explanation of why he has done something is always an exercise in credulity, at best. Roone Arledge states that he hired Howard Cosell because he wanted a commentator people would notice. To not notice Cosell would be tantamount to ignoring a case of diarrhea, which is not to say that Arledge did not accomplish what he intended. Actually, what he did accomplish was to give us more of what we don't want on TV by exercising his own misjudgment of his program and his audience. Arledge chose to overlook the fact that Monday night football broadcasts would be successful in any case, simply because the sport is so popular.
The TV viewer—and sport, for that matter—does not need Cosell. Now if we could convince Arledge of this, we could all go back to just watching the football game, which was the whole idea to begin with, wasn't it?
JOHN R. HUDSON
No sense wasting a lot of words on the "two nuts and a gentleman." I am glad that I can personally attend the Nov. 1 Packer-Lion game and watch a classic confrontation instead of listening to one on ABC.
As for second-guessing critical third-down plays, ABC has the Dandy who never won a critical game. Frank is a poor substitute for Keith Jackson and Howard is a poor substitute for anyone. Chet Forte has the answer: cure it with a switch.
Your article could foster a revolution among the long-suffering viewers of sports telecasts. Messrs. MacPhail, Lindemann, Arledge and Forte have created something of a monster in the guise of their color analysts. Radio-type play-by-play announcers are irritating to the television viewer, and color analysts, individually or in teams, are generally disgusting. The average viewer is content with a competent announcer who relates the hard facts of the contest, and he has little patience for such things as philosophical examination of the assumed thinking of game participants. I suggest the networks color their color analysts silent.
C.D. SPILLMAN JR.
What Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Dandy Don Meredith are doing with pro football is bringing it down to its proper level. Carl Lindemann notwithstanding, pro football is entertainment, pure and simple. The only difference between the Super Bowl and Love Story is that in the movie you already know who is going to die. In the Super Bowl you let the players settle that matter for themselves.
Second-rate football games, like second-rate motion pictures, tend to bog down in mid-story. So the producers must improvise a bit. But instead of employing the traditional cries of "This is the greatest game of all time," Cosell, Gifford and Meredith criticize each other, tell jokes or deliver rambling monologues consisting of 12-letter words for the enlightenment and edification of the viewing audience. This is so unusual among sportscasters, especially NFL people, that it is bound to be popular.