Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Sports commentators don’t win championships

Posted in Business, Personal Development by elephanthunters on July 9, 2009

Howard Cosell is arguably one of the greatest sports announcers of all time.  In fact according to David J. Halberstam’s ranking of The top 50 network TV announcers of all time, Cosell comes in at number one.  Cosell has covered the ‘who’s who’ of sporting events including Muhammad Ali fights, The Olympic Games, The World Series and 13 consecutive years of Monday Night Football.  Cosell was idolized in his day for his uncanny ability to recall sporting statistics and bring energy and passion to the viewing experience.  Cosell could  tell you almost anything you want to know about boxing, baseball, football and more.  The only thing Cosell never had going for him is that he didn’t play the game.  Cosell’s expertise ended at the microphone.  You see, Cosell never took a hit, never swung a bat and never threw a pass at the professional level.  He was a commentator – not a player.

The world is full of commentators.  Some of them are very good at their art and they’re never short on book knowledge in their respective area of interest.  People comment on everything from sports to business, from sales and marketing strategies to fashion trends and fitness, the economy, politics, movies…the list goes on forever.  Commentators make life more entertaining; they can even get us to change our perspective by offering new information and ideas.  They spark debates and analyze theories.  Typically they are up front in the spotlight when everyone is listening in.

Rarely though do you find a commentator who is first a practitioner.  Far to often we give more credit to commentators than we do to experts.  If I had to bet my life on my ability to throw a football through a tire swing at 20 yards out and I was allowed to pick one person to get some advice from before I throw…I’m not going to choose Howard Cosell regardless of how much he knows about football.  I’m going to track down Dan Marino or John Elway or Joe Montana.  Why?  Because they’ve thrown the ball, a lot, and they’ve done it consistently while under pressure.  They know how to win because they’ve done it…not just because they have a theory about winning.

Who are you listening too?  Who are you learning from?  If you want to be great at something then find someone who is already great at it and study them…not the people who talk about them.

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  1. wardrobemalfunctions said, on March 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Cosell was one-of-a-kind.

    To set the record straight, Howard Cosell DID NOT say “Look at that little monkey run” when he was referring to Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett. Cosell made this remark 11 years earlier in 1972 in reference to a play by Kansas City Chiefs Mike Adamle. It was 1983 on Monday Night Football when Cosell made his comment about Alvin Garrett which was “That little monkey gets loose doesn’t he.”

    I am still looking for a sound byte or video clip of Howard Cosell saying “Look at that little monkey run.” I hear that it might be contained in a Preseason 1972 K.C. Chiefs @ Giants 07/29/72 “Hall of Fame” Game. Can anyone locate the actual clip?

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