Once Cosell target, ABC's Gifford takes offensive in new book Calls ex-colleague 'bitter, vengeful old man'

September 03, 1993|By Bob Raissman | Bob Raissman,New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- After he was trashed in Howard Cosell's book "I Never Played the Game," ABC Sports' Frank Gifford remained fairly quiet about his former "Monday Night Football" colleague.

That will change upon release of Gifford's new book, "The Whole Ten Yards," excerpted in the next issue of TV Guide. Gifford writes that, as the years passed in his relationship with Cosell, the man became paranoid.

"What Howard was -- especially when he first came to TV -- was deeply insecure. Anyone who looked like Ichabod Crane and spoke with a nasal Brooklyn accent didn't exactly fit the sportscaster mold," former NFL star Gifford writes.

"As time went on, he became bitter. He became vengeful. Don [Meredith] and I watched it happen. It was like Howard got up one morning to discover that the whole world had turned on him."

Gifford writes about the last time he saw Cosell, at a

Waldorf-Astoria dinner in 1991. "As I sat on the dais, in walked an uninvited guest," writes Gifford. "It was Howard looking terribly shrunken and frail. I had read that he was going in for more cancer surgery in a few days. God, I felt sorry for him.

"I watched him as he began working the room. Only a handful of people bothered to shake his hand. After a while, he turned and walked through the doors. I watched the stooped figure move slowly away, then pause and look around, as if to see if there was anyone to greet him. There wasn't.

"Now he was just a shrunken old man walking down an empty hallway. I felt, and still feel, nothing but compassion for him."

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