The Super Bowl has now been passed from one Gowdy to another.
Curt Gowdy Sr. called eight Super Bowls, including the first, in 1967. Curt Jr., an 18-year veteran of ABC Sports, will produce Sunday’s 2-hour pre-game show before the San Francisco 49ers-San Diego Chargers game, as well as the halftime and postgame shows.
“I was a big AFL fan, and I vividly remember Dad calling their games with Paul Christman and Al DeRogatis,” Curt Jr. said Monday at ABC’s production compound at Joe Robbie Stadium.
“He always said Super Bowl III was the greatest sports event he ever saw because of the David-Goliath aspect.”
Curt Sr. reflected to Super Bowl I, between Green Bay and Kansas City. Gowdy had been calling American Football League games for several years, first for ABC, then NBC, and he knew few people gave the upstart league any respect.
‘They thought they were from Upper Slobovia,” Gowdy said by telephone from his home in Palm Beach, Fla.
“I remember watching Vince Lombardi walking to church the night before. And I saw Hank Stram watch his films and talk about how the Packers cornerbacks played loose. He thought he’d win.”
But after the Packers’ big victories in the first two Super Bowls, by a combined score of 68-24, Gowdy Sr., said, “Pete Rozelle told me there was anxiety that if there were another lopsided game, they’d have to scrap the game or create a new formula for it.”
The New York Jets’ 16-7 victory over Baltimore made the former commissioner’s life much easier.
“I called my family that night and I said I’d seen one of the great upsets of all time,” Gowdy Sr. said, adding that Curt Jr., then 15, “knew every aspect of the game.”
Despite the significance of the Jets’ victory, Gowdy said the best-played Super Bowl he ever called, was his last: Pittsburgh’s 35-31 victory over Dallas in 1979. “So many Hall of Famers and both teams played full throttle.”
It was also the only Super Bowl that Curt Jr. attended with his father.
“I remember he called my mom 15 minutes before the game,” Curt Jr. said. “It was very reassuring for him to hear her voice. She gave him confidence and reassurance. She was his best critic.”
Curt Jr., a winner of 13 Emmy Awards, has always worked on the production end of ABC Sports, most prominently as producer of the Triple Crown telecasts and coordinating producer of “Wide World of Sports.”
Sunday, he gets his first shot at a Super Bowl.
And his dad?
“I’ll be there,” said Curt Gowdy Sr. “Curt got us two tickets.”
World Series squabble?
Will NBC and ABC, partners in the Baseball Network, fight over the rights to this fall’s World Series? Before the strike-truncated 1994 season, ABC won a coin flip that awarded it the World Series that never was; the flip also awarded NBC the 1995 Fall Classic. Will ABC fight to get the Series it lost? Will NBC fight to keep what it has?
“I’m a contented partner,” said Dick Ebersol, the president of NBC Sports. Ken Schanzer, the Baseball Network’s president, insisted there will be no NBC-ABC scrap. But he did not sound 100 percent certain. The decision, he said, “has to be discussed soon.”
Scooter the Butterfly
Attention must be paid each time Phil Rizzuto speaks. He is a combination of Robin Williams and Norm Crosby.
At Sunday’s Baseball Writers Association of America dinner in Manhattan, he said: “I’m like a butterfly on the grass, my wife, Cora, says. I still don’t know what that means.” And: “Howard Cosell once said, ‘You look like George Burns and you sound like Groucho Marx.”’ Describing his style of sports broadcasting: “You don’t get a lot of baseball, but you get a lot of Italian recipes.”
John Czarnecki, Fox Sports’ NFL maven: “The Rams have asked me about Mike Ditka as a draw, but they’re also hearing some negative things about him. Mike can be a draw for the franchise, but for how long?”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.