As we prepare for a day long assault on our conservative sensibilities —– short of GG Allin coming back from the grave, could there be a double bill with more potential to cause offense than Sir Paul McCartney and the Charlie Daniels Band — the NY Post’s Phil Mushnick wonders why there’s no room on such a broadcast for the measured tones of Bob Costas.
Throughout today’s Super Bowl, “Fox Attitude” will be in full, proud, loud bloom, zoom, ka-boom, ka-zing! But Fox won’t have anyone on the job who can be relied upon for having a newsman’s instincts and a dare-to-say-it, common-sense conscience. Come game time, no network does. Not anymore. Costas was the last.
He’s NBC’s Olympics anchor and he hosts two HBO shows, but Costas’ last scheduled live gig as an NBA, NFL or MLB studio host or play-by-player was Oct. 2000, when he called the Mariners-Yanks ALCS for NBC.
Costas? TV people don’t need no stinkin’ Costas. TV people know exactly what we football fans want. Yeah!
We want weather babes jammed into body stockings. We want Terry Bradshaw drawling authentic countrified gibberish. We want luscious Lisa Guerrero, sideline reporter. We want T.O. and Keyshawn and Shockey, every time, all the time. We want crotch cracks from Dennis Miller, urinal scenes from ESPN.
We’re football fans, we want Ja Rule, Desperate Housewives; we want our MTV!
“The distinctions have been lost,” said Costas. “It’s as if there’s a contradiction in finding last year’s Super Bowl halftime to have been offensive and being a progressive person. That’s crazy.
“My political leanings and personal sensibilities have always been left of center. It’s a mark of how dumbed-down and coarsened the whole culture has become that a preference for civility is equated with conservatism. Most of what grates about the current environment isn’t so much an assault on decency – whatever that is – it’s an assault on your intelligence.”
Yep, no room and no need for a Costas on today’s telecast. TV people know what sports fans want. TV people want us to be what TV people want us to be.
“Every era’s sports stars had foibles, but their antisocial side wasn’t the tone; it wasn’t the sell,” said Costas, 52. “Now, those who are the loudest, the most vulgar are anointed celebrity status. Again, the distinctions – the distinction between irreverent and crude – have been lost.”
(Since all of the available headshots of Bob Costes were kind of dull, we’ve instead provided a photograph of Jean-Louis Costes in action)
There’s no harm in Phil writing a love letter to the diminuative Bob, but I think he’s ignoring a crucial point. It isn’t as though the TV gods have shunned Costas ; he’s under contract to NBC (and is presumably working for more than minimum wage), a network that has managed to lose the rights to the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA in recent years. Were Costas not in the employ of NBC, it is highly probable that one of the rights holders to a major sport would seek to hire him, either as a lead play-by-play guy or their in-studio host. But to infer that Costas has been blackballed for his controversial point of view, while fitting well with Mushnick’s uncomplicated worldview, is totally wack.