Frank Deford's article on Howard Cosell was like a Cosell broadcast, a boring diatribe. It is easy to understand why Deford treats Co-sell as a deity: They both revel in superfluous verbiage. I am one of those "poor bastards" who turn off the sound to avoid the cacophony of Howie's one-sided discourse. No, Mr. Deford, I haven't missed the game. You've missed the boat.
Speaking for the "poor bastards" of this country, I believe that the only thing worse than Howard Cosell's profusion of pompous platitudes is journalism without balance. Surely a person as controversial as Cosell could be shown from both positive and negative sides. Deford's insinuations that Cosell's detractors are either unenlightened or anti-Semitic are, in my view, insulting. I hope that we can expect more evenhanded journalism in future articles, or my status as a 10-year subscriber to your once fine magazine will be abruptly changed.
Please don't call me a "poor bastard"! I put Frank Deford in the same category as Big Mouth. I would think the editors would have deleted or reworded that last sentence, or maybe SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is being carried away by self-importance.
JAMES E. STRONG
Howard Cosell does "grab the viewer" and shake him. I would find even a soccer game interesting (soccer being a sport I do not particularly like) if he were announcing it. He is also one of the reasons I enjoy Monday Night Football so much. Deford hit the mark when referring to the people who turn Cosell off. The poor bastards do indeed miss the game. It's their loss.
If proof of Howard Cosell's popularity is needed, let me inform you that one of the impressions people across the country most often do for me is Cosell.
As an impressionist, I'm disappointed that Howard chose not to continue his political career in the Democratic Party. Distinctive voices and mannerisms are my career's life-blood, and the Democrats nowadays are a little lacking in these areas. Cosell for President is an impressionist's dream.
Even those of us who have high regard for Howard Cosell's contributions to sports broadcast journalism are rarely able to disregard his obvious blemishes. It is equally rare to see this complex character given a fair appraisal in any media format. Frank Deford deserves an ovation for presenting a complete picture in limited space. As for Cosell himself, the final paragraph "tells it like it is." Few professionals in any endeavor are worthy of greater tribute. Hooray for Howard!
HARRY W CRAWFORD
Major, USA (ret.)
Being a Cosell fan who openly admits liking Howard, I have for years taken flak from various acquaintances about what a jerk I am for admiring the great broadcaster. Well, thanks to the masterful article by Frank Deford—not to mention Arnold Newman's cover photo—I am going to make all those Cosell detractors eat their words.
Congratulations to Arnold Newman for the excellent cover photograph of "The One and Only." Frank Deford rates strong plaudits, too, for his exceptionally fine article on Howard and his family.
JOHN F. KING
Barry McDermott hit the nail right on the head when he described the steadfast demeanor of Jan Stephenson (The Lady Was Too Hot to Handle, Aug. 8). She is not just another pretty face. After I saw her play at the Boston Five Classic in Danvers, Mass. two weeks ago, one thing struck me: This is no "dumb blonde." She is tough in attitude and, especially, skill. True, looks are important to her. However, winning scores and not frilly hairdos are what made her No. 1.
West Roxbury, Mass.