The Baltimore Colts march toward New England and their third execution in three weeks to the accompaniment of a blast by their owner, rate Bob Irsay, that - who knows, but don't hold your breath - might tone down Howard Cosell.
That would be a Monday night upset of the magnitude of a Colt conquest of the Patriots, but if Irsay has his way, at least for a change Cosell won't knock Baltimore and its ball clubs.
Isray, who commutes to Colt games from Skokie, III, issued a public statement to the effect that awhile "everyone is entitled to his own opinions and fredom of expression . . . I don't believe the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) had in mind that an announcer is to use public air to repeatedly condemn a city and a sports franchise." Cosell regularly, and particulary in the season Monday night premiere - Cowboys 38, Colts O - has, Irsay fumed, "attempted to plant seeds of discontent in Baltimore by making constant derogatory references to our team."
Irsay said Cosell in his negativity failed to mention the team's division titles the past three years and focus on its plague of injuries - in contrast with his "constantly showering praise on his inner circle of friends" in the NFL. The owner seemed to imply that the group included Joe Thomas, fired by Irsay as Colt general manager last year. It's all so reprehensible, Irsay said, "it seems to me the FCC might want to investigate."
In New Orleans for the title fight, Cosell when told of the criticism, said, "I think it's absurd. I have no comment. My comments on the air speak for themselves."
A notable instance of same came in the Yankee-Oriole baseball game from Baltimore's Memorial Stadium Aug. 14. Cosell said an electrical failure that knocked out some of the ballpark lights "wouldn't have happened in a major league city."