Monday, December 26, 2011

Interview with Colin Cosell

Daniel Solzman: Colin, thank you for joining The Kentucky Democrat. How are things treating you in New York?
Colin Cosell: Things are great here in NYC! It's tough to complain when you live in the greatest city in the world.

DS: What was it like growing up as the grandson of the legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell? Are there any favorite memories that you have?
CC: He was an amazing grandfather -- very loving, selfless and caring. It wasn't until I started getting older that I realized the size and depth of his celebrity, which also made me realize how well he managed to shelter his grandchildren from his life away from home. Don't get me wrong; we all knew he was on TV and was recognized everywhere he went. We knew our life and lifestyle were different because of his work. We were simply able to lead very normal lives in spite of these facts.

DS: You started a facebook fan page for Howard Cosell and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Right now, 291 people like the page. What other efforts are going on to spread awareness with regards to your grandfather one day receiving the Pete Rozelle Award?
CC: It's an interesting process, because I honestly believed the Facebook page would serve as a sure-fire, foolproof vehicle for spreading the word while acting as an electronic petition. Instead, it fell into the hands of a ton of industry people ranging from Donna DeVerona to Dave Sims. This has allowed me direct access to numerous journalists, radio shows and television personalities who have either granted me interviews or have sent in their own personal nomination. The Facebook page has since become secondary, although I'd love to have thousands of people on there rather than just a few hundred.

With regards to the Rozelle Award, I have received countless endorsements, including those of Frank Gifford and Joe Horrigan. Frank is important because of his ties to the NFL, as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Horrigan, on the other hand, oversees the balloting and induction process. That said, the Pete Rozelle Award seems to be within reach. The focus has since become more honed on actual induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, despite Howard's being a member of the media.

DS: Have any big names in the sports media industry gotten behind your efforts?
CC: There has been a great outpouring of support from some of the people I've already mentioned, plus great writers and broadcasters whose careers span generations ie: Jim Nantz and Frank DeFord.

DS: Thirteen years on Monday Night Football is a long time, even for broadcasting standards. But still, your grandfather was one of the first people in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth, correct? You would think that they would have honored him by now. I think it is a damn shame that he hasn’t posthumously received the award.
CC: My grandfather was in the booth for the inaugural MNF broadcast. It is a shame that, over 40 years later, his presence is absent from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

DS: Do you think some of his criticism about sports in general is true today?
CC: Absolutely. The behavior of professional athletes, and even amateurs, has only deteriorated. Between drugs, infidelity, domestic disputes, guns and PED's, it has become almost commonplace for us fans to hear of an athlete doing something wrong on an almost weekly basis. My grandfather saw this starting to take shape over 30 years ago.

DS: What about Tebow? Can you imagine him being in the booth today during one of the Tebow games?
CC: I think my grandfather would appreciate Tebow's work ethic and personal ethics. As for Tebow's game on the field, I'm sure it would provide my grandfather some endless banter and enjoyment (with a dash of frustration).

DS: Have you had a chance to read Mark Ribowsky’s book, Howard Cosell: The Man, The Myth, And The Transformation of American Sports? Any thoughts?
CC: I have not, but I've mostly heard good things.

DS: I see that you’ve gone into the family business. How is your broadcasting career coming along?
CC: So far, so good. I'm currently covering a number of sports for a network in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area called MSG Varsity. We're a purely high school-centric network, which is definitely exciting. However, I'm looking to start making a move to my true passion: the NHL.

DS: Thanks again and have a Happy Chanukah! Anything else you wish to add?
CC: All set! Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

Independent Researcher said...

My favorite quote when it comes to Howard Cosell is best summarized by the late Roone Arledge, former President of ABC Sports

"Every person working in sports journalism today owes a tremendous debt to Howard Cosell. His greatest contribution was elevating sports reporting out of daily play-by-play and placing it in the larger context of society."

-- Roone Arledge