THE HEIDI AWARDS
William Taaffe did a wonderful, humorous job of highlighting the best and worst of sports telecasting in 1982 (TV/RADIO, Dec. 27-Jan. 3). In particular, I commend him for recognizing Al Michaels as the best announcer. As a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, I have always enjoyed Michaels' knowledgeable, exciting and unintrusive style. And anyone who had the pleasure of hearing Michaels during ABC's telecasts of the 1980 Olympic hockey games must certainly share my sentiments.
BARRY J. GOLDMAN-HALL
Santa Clara, Calif.
One of the awards Taaffe offered in his otherwise amusing column was the "Heidi Award for Persistence" to CBS for "sticking with The NFL Today week after week, strike or no strike." The fact is that The NFL Today was off the air for the final two weeks of the strike. NBC Sports' NFL '82 was the only NFL pregame program not to be interrupted. During the strike NFL '82 was televised live each week and was never off the air.
THOMAS S. MERRITT
Director of Sports Information
National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
New York City
I humbly accept your Heidi Spittoon for Bad Taste in Local Sports Coverage, but giving me your feeble award can't erase the fact that you guys blew the entire coverage of the Slaughter of the Hogs '82. Not one word on Texas' 33-7 win over Arkansas. Where were you guys? Hanging out on an otter farm somewhere? Who cares!
It's only fair that I return the favor and dole out Vic's Brick to SI. Vic's Brick is thrown at national sports publications that display poor editorial judgment in crucial football situations. Hook 'em, Horns!
Please add to your Heidi Awards, under the category of Most Heartwarming Shots, the regular-season finale between the Orioles and Brewers on ABC-TV. Howard Cosell finally did something profound by persuading his producer to keep the cameras on for the spontaneous, heartwarming, tearful ovation the Memorial Stadium fans gave Earl Weaver for his many years of outstanding service to the Orioles and the city of Baltimore. It was one of those rare historic moments captured live on TV.
One of the winners—or losers—you overlooked for your Heidi Awards was ESPN, in the category of Least Intensity. ESPN covered, via tape delay, the NCAA Division I championship soccer game between Duke and Indiana. As SI reported (The Hoosiers Hung in There, Dec. 20), this was one of the most exciting college soccer games ever played, going eight overtimes and 159 minutes before Indiana triumphed 2-1. For some reason, ESPN decided to cut the first seven overtimes, depriving viewers of 60 minutes of nail-biting drama and excitement.
Your list of the Heidi Award winners was amusing, but even a casual reader of SI must wonder how you can stand behind criticism of cheesecake on network shows. William Taaffe said, "Cheesecake shots of the cheerleaders prancing in the surf...were ludicrous," and he also attacked "unexpurgated low-angle shots of cheerleaders." Every year at about this time SI seems more than proud to publish cheesecake shots of models prancing in the surf under the lame guise of some sports theme.