61 Facts About Howard Cosell


Howard William Cosell was an American sports journalist, broadcaster and author.


Howard Cosell entered sports broadcasting in the mid-1950s, when the predominant style was unabashed adulation, [and] offered a brassy counterpoint that was first ridiculed, then copied until it became the dominant note of sports broadcasting.


Howard Cosell brought an antagonistic, almost heel-like commentary, notably his giving criticism of Terry Bradshaw by suggesting that he did not have the intelligence to win in the league.


Howard Cosell was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to accountant Isidore Cohen and his wife Nellie Cohen; his parents were Jewish.


The name of Cosell's grandfather was changed when he entered the United States; Howard Cosell said he changed his name from "Cohen" to "Cosell" while a law student as a way to honor his father and grandfather by reverting to a version of his family's original Polish name.


Howard Cosell told Garver that the sponsor did not provide any gifts to the guests on the show, but Garver found out later that there were actually gifts, which Howard Cosell kept for himself.


Howard Cosell represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953, Hal Neal, then an ABC Radio manager, asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants.


Howard Cosell hosted the Little League show for three years without pay, and then decided to leave the law to become a full-time broadcaster.


Howard Cosell approached Robert Pauley, President of ABC Radio, with a proposal for a weekly show.


Howard Cosell pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.


Howard Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974.


Howard Cosell expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show, Speaking of Everything.


Howard Cosell rose to prominence in the early-1960s, covering boxer Muhammad Ali, beginning from the time he fought under his birth name, Cassius Clay.


Howard Cosell was one of the first sportscasters to refer to the boxer as Muhammad Ali after he changed his name, and supported him when he refused to be inducted into the military.


Howard Cosell was an outspoken supporter of Olympic sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith, after they raised their fists in a "black power" salute during their 1968 medal ceremony in Mexico City.


Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Howard Cosell had an intellectual approach.


Howard Cosell earned his greatest interest from the public when he backed Ali after the boxer's championship title was stripped from him for refusing military service during the Vietnam War.


Howard Cosell called most of Ali's fights immediately before and after the boxer returned from his three-year exile in October 1970.


Howard Cosell would do a voice-over of that bout, when it was shown on ABC a few days before the second Ali-Frazier bout in January 1974.


Howard Cosell's call of Frazier's first trip to the mat became one of the most quoted phrases in American sports broadcasting history.


Howard Cosell provided blow-by-blow commentary for ABC of some of boxing's biggest matches during the 1970s and the early-1980s, including Ken Norton's upset win over Ali in 1973 and Ali's defeat of Leon Spinks in 1978 recapturing the heavyweight title for the third time.


Halfway through the bout and with Cobb absorbing a beating, Howard Cosell stopped providing anything more than rudimentary comments about round number and the participants punctuated with occasional declarations of disgust during the 15 rounds.


Howard Cosell declared shortly after the fight to a national television audience that he had broadcast his last professional boxing match.


Howard Cosell ripped Economaki for a miscue in an interview with Cale Yarborough for ABC " never let me forget that".


In 1970, ABC executive producer for sports Roone Arledge hired Howard Cosell to be a commentator for Monday Night Football, the first time in 15 years that American football was broadcast weekly in prime time.


Howard Cosell was accompanied most of the time by ex-football players Frank Gifford and "Dandy" Don Meredith.


Howard Cosell was openly contemptuous of ex-athletes appointed to prominent sportscasting roles solely on account of their playing fame.


Howard Cosell regularly clashed on-air with Meredith, whose laid-back style was in sharp contrast to Cosell's more critical approach to the games.


An ordinary kickoff return began with Howard Cosell giving commentary about a player's difficult life.


Howard Cosell has been credited for popularizing the term "nachos" during his time in the MNF booth.


Howard Cosell played a key role on ABC's coverage of the Palestinian terror group Black September's mass murder of Israeli athletes in Munich at the 1972 Summer Olympics; providing reports directly from the Olympic Village.


Howard Cosell became close to Leonard, during this period, announcing many of his fights.


Howard Cosell was widely attributed with saying the famous phrase "the Bronx is burning".


Howard Cosell is credited with saying this during Game 2 of the 1977 World Series, which took place in Yankee Stadium on October 12,1977.


Howard Cosell's comment seemed to have captured the widespread view that New York City was in a state of decline.


Coverage of the fire began with Keith Jackson's comments regarding the enormity of the blaze, while Howard Cosell added that President Jimmy Carter had visited that area just days before.


At the top of the second inning, the fire was shown from a helicopter-mounted camera, and Howard Cosell commented that the New York Fire Department had a hard job to do in the Bronx as there were always numerous fires.


Howard Cosell made news and covered topics that were not part of general sports coverage - including the first story about drugs in professional sports, an in-depth look at how NFL owners negotiated tax breaks and incentives for building new stadiums, and together with Arthur Ashe, an investigation into apartheid and sports.


Howard Cosell brought in Michael Marley, then a sportswriter for The Washington Post; Lawrie Mifflin, a writer for The New York Times; and a 20-year-old researcher who quickly rose to an associate producer, Alexis Denny.


Denny had been a student in a seminar that Howard Cosell taught on the "Business of Big-Time Sports in America", and was selected by the Director of Monday Night Football to join their production crew.


Howard Cosell took her junior year off to join Cosell's staff at ABC Headquarters in New York City, and produced many segments, including in 1983 a half-hour special report previewing the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


Howard Cosell appeared in the Woody Allen films Bananas, Sleeper and Broadway Danny Rose.


Such was his celebrity that while he never appeared on the show, Howard Cosell's name was frequently used as an all-purpose answer on the popular 1970s game show Match Game.


Howard Cosell had a cameo appearance in the 1988 movie Johnny Be Good featuring Robert Downey Jr.


Cosell's national fame was further boosted in fall 1975 when Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell aired on Saturday evenings on ABC.


Howard Cosell appeared alongside Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Richie Havens, and others on a 1976 spoken word novelty record, The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs Mr Tooth Decay.


Howard Cosell conducted short interviews with the participants between events, and was seen laughing, joking, and clearly enjoying himself throughout each show.


Howard Cosell used to say, 'I'm the biggest star out here.


Howard Cosell denounced professional boxing during the broadcast of a November 26,1982, WBC heavyweight championship bout between titleholder Larry Holmes and a clearly outmatched Randall "Tex" Cobb at the Astrodome.


Howard Cosell did not cut off ties with the United States Amateur Boxing Federation.


Howard Cosell's book was seen by many as a bitter "hate rant" against those who had offended him.


In I Never Played the Game, Howard Cosell popularized the word "jockocracy", describing how athletes were given announcing jobs that they had not earned.


In 1993, Howard Cosell was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.


Howard Cosell was the 1995 recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.


Howard Cosell had several minor strokes, and was diagnosed with heart and kidney disease and Parkinson's.


Howard Cosell died at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in Manhattan on April 23,1995, of a cardiac embolism at the age of 77.


Howard Cosell is buried at Westhampton Cemetery, Westhampton, New York.


In 2010, Howard Cosell was posthumously inducted into the Observer's Category in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.


In Michael Mann's 2001 film Ali, Howard Cosell is played by Jon Voight, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.


Howard Cosell's daughter, Hilary Howard Cosell, was a producer of NBC SportsWorld, and was one of the first women sports producers.


Howard Cosell's nephew Greg Howard Cosell is a senior producer at NFL Films.