Howard Cosell died 13 years ago today. You will have to forgive us, and most people who read this site who are younger than us, but Cosell is more a legend among our generation than he is anyone who has a tangible relationship to the way we remember sporting events. Cosell was last on "Monday Night Football" in 1985. We were nine years old, and we suspect some readers of this site weren't even born.
We are absolutely certain Cosell would not be effective today. It's not Cosell's fault, or ESPN's, or anybody else: We have no patience for a guy like Cosell anymore. The man would reek of mothballs; the style would put him in danger of a sports version of Robert Goulet, good for camp value, but not much else.
That said, we will always love Howard Cosell for his appearances in two Woody Allen movies. In Bananas, he interviewed a dictator just seconds after he had been assassinated, and in Sleeper, upon seeing Cosell on the television screen, Woody Allen's futuristic character, being questioned about the past, has this exchange:
[a 22nd century historian shows Miles a videotape of Howard Cosell]
Historian: We weren't sure at first what to make of this, but we developed a theory: we feel that when people committed great crimes against the state, they were forced to watch this.
Miles Monroe: Yes. That's exactly what it was.
Ah, the seventies. Where people like Howard Cosell and Woody Allen could actually sustain mass popularity. You won't see THAT again.
Howard Cosell Tribute [Cuseadelphia]