Wednesday, May 20, 2020

R.I.P. Phyllis George

Pioneering sportscaster Phyllis George died last week at the age of 70.  She had a distinguished television career that included stints on CBS Morning News and Candid Camera, but I was just watching her on this great clip courtesy of the Classic Sports YT account:

The team works well here. Phyllis and Irv are likable and just easy to watch, and Brent is--well, Brent is Brent! The whole crew is in good form, but what's up with guest analyst Alex Hawkins? Hawkins was a sort of lovable rogue who was fired several times by CBS (including after this 1977 season when he was busted for drunk driving and marijuana possession) and a fixture on Atlanta broadcasts for years, but he brings very little to the table in this one. Maybe he didn't follow the league that closely except for the Falcons, but he begs off a basic set-up question from Brent.

But we are here to celebrate Phyllis George, who was known for doing features but is solid here at the desk in this role.  She received all kinds of sexist hatred just for appearing on The NFL Today, but each time I watch one of these vintage clips, I see (granted with hindsight) the former Miss America is a great broadcaster and effective pro football personality if not a seasoned journalist.  In 2020, with standards having changed so much, it seems kind of quaint to think of the criticism she received not just for being a female, but for landing in so many broadcast newsy roles without a news background.

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