Remember Heidi? She's the rosy-cheeked bundle of joy who knocked a dramatic Jets-Raiders game off the tube 15 years ago, seconds before Oakland came from behind to win. The little brat. How could she be so sweet and nasty at the same time? In her spirit, we hereby present our second annual Heidi Awards for the best and the worst in sports TV in 1983. Heidi ho, and away we go....
THE BEST LIVE TELECAST—Redskins vs. Cowboys, Dec. 11 ( CBS). A near-perfect show. Pat Summerall and John Madden were incisive, yet didn't make the game out to be the SALT talks. The replays were restrained and wonderfully revealing, with the one of Tom Landry yelling "No! No!" on the sideline likely to become a classic.
OUR FIRST GUTTER BALL AWARD—To ABC for giving the incorrect winner of the Southern California Pro Bowlers Open in June. ABC flashed a graphic identifying Don Genalo as the champ instead of Jimmie Pritts. Commentator Nelson Burton realized the goof and started shouting as ABC was cutting away to a commercial. Chris Schenkel corrected the record during the wrap-up, but by then thousands of viewers probably had gone to the alleys.
HEIDI MEMOREX AWARD—To Howard Cosell for adamantly denying in the third quarter of a Monday Night Football game that he had called the Redskins' Alvin Garrett a "little monkey" in the second quarter. The remark was innocent, the denial ludicrous. It's the age of videotape, Howard. Gotcha!
MOST MOVING TELECAST—The International Special Olympics in August (ABC). Producer Amy Sacks and announcer Frank Gifford created a show that touched our hearts.
PEST OF THE YEAR—Ronald Reagan. He's a nice guy and all, but he monopolized the phone for five minutes, 53 seconds after the World Series by talking to everyone in the locker room except the security guards. He also droned on for 2:48 after the Super Bowl. They'd better take the phone off the hook with an election year coming up.
BEST COVERAGE—For one shot, NBC producer Larry Cirillo's explanatory view of Dolphin Cornerback Don McNeal falling down as John Riggins of the Redskins skirted left end and ran off with the Super Bowl title. For general reporting, CBS's coverage of the Wayne Rollins vs. Danny Ainge "Tree Bites Man" incident during the NBA playoffs. Director Bob Fishman came up with replays following the free-for-all, suggesting that Rollins may merely have been defending himself.
THE JAMES WATT AWARD—To Tom Brookshier ( CBS). Following a promo for the N.C. State vs. Louisville game, Brookshier said: " Denny Crum has a great team at Louisville. They have a collective IQ of about 40, but they can play basketball." Dishonorable mention to John Brodie ( NBC). When the Jets' Mark Gastineau did one of his post-tackle whoop-de-dos this fall, Brodie declared: "He looks like he's got palsy."
BEST EDITED TELECAST—Great American Bike Race in April (ABC). The show captured a wonderful part of the human spirit and the essence of competition.
TITANIC AWARD FOR DISASTER AT SEA—To ABC for its coverage of the Kentucky Derby. Darkness knocked out the isolated cameras, Jack Whitaker had to have the person he was interviewing tell him the next question, and Cosell talked on as Bill Hartack, buffeted by the wind, tried to shield him (and his toupee) with an umbrella.