25 Howard Cosell Quotes by the Sports Broadcaster

Learn something new about the world of sports broadcasting with our Howard Cosell quotes. 

Howard Cosell is one of the most loved and hated personalities in broadcasting. 

Find out how he impacted the world of sports and popular culture with our Howard Cosell quotes. 

Who was Howard Cosell?

Howard Cosell was an American sports journalist, author, and broadcaster. 

He lived a colorful life and is remembered for his wit, style, and spirit. 

Check out these interesting Howard Cosell facts below:

  • Cosell’s nickname was Humble Howard,
  • He was inducted into the Internation Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010. 
  • TV Guide Cosell was voted The All-Time Best Sportscaster in 1993.

Howard Cosell’s larger-than-life legacy

There was a time in American television and broadcasting when you could not watch a program without seeing or hearing Howard Cosell.

He is one of the most influential sports commentators in US history. 

Howard Cosell is no stranger to controversy. 

He has had many disputes on air and in print. 

Fans of Cosell found his behavior refreshing, while detractors felt he was racist, sexist, and classist. 

He feuded with other sports journalists, commented about players’ intelligence, and wrote scathing responses to his peers.

One of his most well-documented love/hate relationships was with Hall of Fame boxer and human rights activist Muhammad Ali. 

Was Howard Cosell really conceited?


Howard Cosell made confidence cool. 

He was not afraid to stand up for himself and correct people he disagreed with. 

Sometimes this brought out the best in him, and other times the worst. 

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What mattered to the audience was that his responses were authentic. 

Howard did not hold his tongue. 

He once famously shared the following:

“I’ve been called arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. And, of course, I am.”

His friends called him Humble Howard as a joke to his never-ending self-confidence. 

Cosell changed broadcasting

My favorite broadcasting duo is Mark Jackson and Jeff Vangundy, who cover the NBA.

Their snappy back-and-forths and basketball acumen make for elite-level broadcasting.

Today’s broadcasters pay homage to Howard Cosell, who pioneered the heel-like commentator style. 

To learn more, check out our Howard Cosell quotes below. 

Short Howard Cosell quotes 

Let’s start with these short quotes from Howard. 

1. “This is Howard Cosell telling it like it is.” — Howard Cosell

2. “I’m one helluva communicator.” — Howard Cosell, I Never Played The Game.

3. “Had I been black and my name Cassius Clay, I would have changed it!” — Howard Cosell

4. “Look at that little monkey run!” — Howard Cosell, Monday Night Football, September 24, 1973

5. “There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning.” — Howard Cosell, October 12, 1977

The top Howard Cosell quotes about sports

Below are some quotes from Howard about his passion: sports.

6. “Sports is human life in microcosm.” — Howard Cosell

7. “Sports is the toy department of human life.” — Howard Cosell

8. “The importance that our society attaches to sport is incredible.” — Howard Cosell 

9. “What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.” — Howard Cosell

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10. “The people of this country have allowed sports to get completely out of hand.” — Howard Cosell

Funny Howard Cosell quip and quotes about letting your passion guide you

Here are some of Howard’s most colorful moments describing what got him into broadcasting. 

11. “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?” — Howard Cosell

12. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and how.” — Howard Cosell

13. “I was infected with my desire, my resolve, to make it in broadcasting.” — Howard Cosell

14. “Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. I have been called all of these. Of course, I am.” — Howard Cosell

15. “History will reflect that Howard Cosell was easily the dominant sportscaster of all time, and certainly the most famous.” — Howard Cosell, What’s Wrong with Sports

The best Howard Cosell quotes about Muhammad Ali and boxing

Cosell will forever be tied to Muhammad Ali. 

16. “Boxing is drama on its grandest scale.” — Howard Cosell

17. “The winner and new heavyweight champion of the world is Cassius Clay!” — Howard Cosell

18. “Crowd screaming, chanting ALI! ALI! Legends die hard, and Ali is learning that even he cannot be forever young” — Howard Cosell

19. “The time may have come to say goodbye to Muhammad Ali because, very honestly, I don’t think he can beat George Foreman.” — Howard Cosell

20. “Unlike any other sport, the objective in boxing is chillingly simple: One man purposefully endeavors to inflict bodily harm on another man.” — Howard Cosell

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Famous quotes about Howard Cosell

We close out our list with some quotes about the broadcasting legend. 

21. “Sometimes Howard Cosell makes me wish I was a dog and he was a fireplug.” Muhammad Ali

22. “One of the best ones out there was a guy named Howard Cosell. He was the best.” — Larry Holmes

24. “Every person working in sports journalism today owes a tremendous debt to Howard Cosell” — Roone Arledge

23. “I wanted to be Red Barber, Mel Allen, or Howard Cosell. I loved their personalities and all of their sounds.” — John C. McGinley

25. “There have always been mixed emotions about Howard Cosell: Some people hate him like poison, and other people just hate him regular.” — Buddy Hackett

Howard was a voice for America 

Howard Cosell is a man who you might not agree with, but you must respect his resolve.

His contributions to the world of journalism and sports broadcasting are indisputable. 

What is your favorite quote from Humble Howard?

Be sure to let us know in the comments. 

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