Michael MacCambridge's 2004 America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation:
In addition to more cameras, and a separate production unit dedicated to isolation shots and slow-motion replays, ABC offered the novel presence of three commentators instead of two in the booth. Keith Jackson, the crisp, low-key ex-Marine, handled the play-by-play, with color commentary provided by Howard Cosell and Don Meredith, the inspired combination making the difference.
Cosell's brand of pointed, often trenchant, pontification -- "just telling it like it is" he insisted -- earned dramatic responses, both positive and negative. Many critics felt he played it both ways, stirring up a froth of hyperbole with each Monday night while at the same time bemoaning the lack of journalistic credibility in the sports media field. ("What a horizontal ladder of mediocrity," mused Cosell of his competition in a 1967 interview). Many fans hated him for his erudition, his arrogance, and for the approbation he offered the boxer Muhammad Ali after he'd changed his name from Cassius Clay. Some undoubtedly disliked him for the simple fact he was Jewish. But his presence changed the environment surrounding the games.
Tags: Michael MacCambridge, America's Game