tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 11, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: richard plepler is here. he is the chairman and ceo of hbo. he has green lit such hit shows as "true blood," "boardwalk empire," and "true detective." this sunday night, three series that began under his leadership return with new seasons -- "veep," "silicon valley" and "game of thrones." hbo has released its standalone streaming service. it is called hbonow. here is a look at what it offers. >> ♪ i get high i love to get low so the hearts keep breaking and the heads just roll
1, 2, 3, they're gonna run back to me they always want to come up and never want to leave oh, oh, oh ♪ >> wow. >> now? >> say that word again. >> now. charlie: richard plepler at this table for the first time. in the interest of full disclosure, richard plepler is a good friend of mine and has been supportive of this program. tell me about the decision to stream and how you came to it and what are the implications and what does it say about the future. richard: we want hbo to be available, quite simply, in as many ways as possible for a vast part of our audience and potential audience. there are 10 million homes in the united states that only have broadband subscriptions. previously before the introduction of hbonow, those
people were not able to get hbo. we wanted to open up the possibility, expand our audience, make hbo as accessible as possible and that is what this service does. right now, it is available on all apple devices. cablevision has bundled it with its broadband subscription. and, there are a lot of millenials who are not subscribing to cable, satellite or telco services. and we want to go after those young people and we think this is a millenial opportunity to attract them to our service and then get them into the house and we hope include them for many years to come. charlie: did the cable companies fight you on this? richard: different responses from different partners, but our position is this is a win-win for everybody. they have a lot of broadband only homes in their systems so we are saying join us, grow with us as well. you have people inside your cable systems, telco systems who don't have video packages. why not give them an opportunity
to get hbo as well? we think this is an expansion of the pie. we think it is a win for the consumer, for our current partners and new partners. we want to build maximum flexibility into our model and that is why we have developed the streaming service. charlie: what is interesting about you -- you care deeply about programming. programs. you watch them. you stimulate people to produce them. you are not just simply managing assets. you are creating assets. where does that come from? richard: the history of our company -- i have been at the company for over 22 years -- it is being a magnet for talent for storytellers. my colleagues and i, our programming president who has done a masterful job, we are trying to become the best place,
continuing to be the best place for talent to do what they do best. what happens is that becomes very infectious. marty scorsese comes and does "boardwalk empire" and stays because he wants to do "rock 'n roll." people come back -- tom hanks has come back over and over again. we see this as a pattern because it is an extraordinary place to work. not only do we support our talent creatively the way we market, the way we promote -- i think the experience creative people have inside hbo is second to none. charlie: it used to be big movie stars didn't do television. now they do television. richard: right. it is a great vehicle to tell stories. if you are matthew mcconaughey or woody harrelson and you do "true detective," you have an opportunity to play at the highest level of your game. i think matthew mcconaughey is quoted as saying the best oscar
campaign he had was "true detective" on hbo leading up to the oscars. we agree. charlie: i want to talk about "game of thrones." a show that i don't watch. what am i missing? richard: i think you are missing epic storytelling. you are missing great fun. archetypes like power, war and conflict dealt with in remarkable ways by two brilliant writers and show runners. when they pitched the show to mike and myself, one of the points they made is this is about power and about old themes that have been present from the bible through greek tragedy through shakespeare. i think if you follow the show coming now into its new season you will see some of the most
remarkable -- they are like really 10 hours, 10 separate movies. people say why don't you do more? when you see the quality and the intricacy of the work, i think you see why 10 is an extraordinary achievement. charlie: here is the trailer for season five of "game of thrones." >> lannister. boratheon. stark. tyrell. they are all just spokes on a wheel. this one is on top, that one's on top and on and on it spins. crushing those on the ground. you are not going to stop the wheel. >> i'm going to break the wheel.
>> stannis boratheon has an army at castle black. he means to take the north. >> this is the time and i will risk everything. >> winter is coming. we know what is coming with it. >> we can learn to live with the wildlings. we can add them to the army of the dead. >> you are the few and we are the many. we serve the gods and the gods demand justice. >> clean this city out so the rats have nowhere left to hide. >> i'm a queen, not a butcher. >> all rulers are rather butchers. ♪
problem? edward: i did this to give the american people a chance for themselves to decide the kind of government they want to have. that is a conversation that i think the american people deserve to decide. john: no doubt it is a critical conversation, but is it a conversation that we have the capacity to have because it is so complicated we don't fundamentally understand it? edward: it is a challenging conversation. it is difficult for most people to even conceptualize. the problem is the internet is massively complex and so much of it is invisible. service providers, technicians engineers, the phone numbers -- john: let me stop you right there, edward. this is the whole problem. i just glaze over. it is like the i.t. guy comes into the office and you go oh -- don't teach me anything. i don't want to learn. you smell like canned soup. edward: it is a real challenge
to figure out how do we communicate things that require years and years of technical understanding and compress that into seconds of speech. i'm sympathetic to the problem there. charlie: brilliant. just brilliant. richard: remarkable talent. charlie: both the comedic instinct and to do that interview with snowden. did you know he was going over? richard: no, we didn't know he was going over. we only knew when he returned. and, he called mike and i in the middle of the week and told us what he did. and there it was. charlie: when you went after him, was that your decision? richard: mike and my decision. we did it together. charlie: you watched him when he substituted for jon and said oh, my god. we can create a show. richard: a quintessential original voice. somebody whose dna aligns with our dna.
what we said to him was very simple -- we will give you a canvas. you paint on it however you want. we trust your voice. and, we will stay out of your way and support you in whatever way you need. charlie: project all this out for five years, 10 years. what are we looking at? richard: a world in which content is king. in which you want to have a wide range of content that is connecting with all kinds of different audiences. we look to build passion and engagement with our viewers. some people are addicted to "girls," "silicon valley." some people love boxing. some people are addicted to our documentaries. some to our dramas. some to late night. all that is important to us, because we are not selling advertising, we are selling a brand, a subscription. we want our subscribers to say
this is more than worth it. i think if we provide all kinds of flexibility for how you get that service going forward, we think this is multilateral. it is not binary. it is not either you're a streaming service or you're locked into an old ecosystem. we will have a big business with comcast, with charter and directv, verizon, dish, at&t as well as apple and new partners. this is an expansion of the pie. charlie: tell me about vice. richard: we are big fans of shane and the work he does. charlie: he was smart when he hired alyssa. richard: they have an expansive view of news and storytelling. the vice show which has been on hbo is doing terribly well. charlie: what do you mean
terribly well? what does that mean to you? richard: many millions of viewers are watching the show every week. i think it also has a particular stickiness with young people which is also exciting for us. what we said to shane a number of weeks ago was let's do more. let's expand the number of shows you are doing. let's make some documentaries together and let's create a daily news show. let's build a daily news show that is anchored on hbonow and migrates to hbo. we don't have any particular schedule. we can put it on at any particular time. let your imagination stretch and see how the vice voice is on hbo and he liked that idea. charlie: the late david carr said, his daughter works for vice, he said i like vice more than i trust them. richard: i have great respect for david, but i respectfully
disagree. i think if you look at the quality of their work on our network and on their site, they have been dogged, intrepid brave. they are in kandahar, the deserts of africa, on the streets of ferguson. they are doing very illuminating and insightful work. i trust them implicitly. charlie: you can see vice, you can see everything hbo around the world now. richard: that's correct. 60 countries, 150 markets around the world. we have networks in 60 countries. we license our programming to about 150 markets around the world. we have home of hbo's which is our licensed programming with the hbo brand name in nine countries. charlie: a producer comes to you and to michael and says i have to show you something. i have a fantastic idea.
i even made a video i want to show you. what are you looking for? what is the metric they have to pass for you and your partner? richard: two things, i think. one is that potential show runner is breathing the idea. can you feel the passion coming, emanating from that individual as opposed to are they thinking the idea? everything that i have observed that has really worked well on our network over time, you can see that the person bringing it in is living it, feeling it, has thought about it for a long time. and, whether that is mike judge or anyone, it is so palpable. secondly, do we have a shared vision with them about where we think we want to take that storytelling?
once we do, we don't hand the keys over. we certainly hope they have the preponderance of the good ideas and not us. charlie: and writing is always crucial. richard: of course. charlie: what is the future of sports on hbo? richard: we have a long tradition of boxing -- "real sports," which has been on for 20 years hosted by bryant gumbel. it has won so many awards. "hard knocks" which is our look inside an nfl training camp. documentaries that have crossed the spectrum of all sports. sports has always been a vibrant part of the hbo brand. the live boxing, world championship boxing, the one sport we can play in, that we can afford, has always done very well for us. charlie: what is going to happen with the fight? richard: who knows? it is going to be a great fight.
charlie: not who is going to win. why did it take so long to get these two guys together? richard: because the principles needed to want to get together more than we wanted them to get together. it is a little like what tom friedman says about the israelis and the palestinians. they need to want to have the peace process as much as we do. charlie: they didn't want it as much as you did. richard: i think that is right. charlie: was it one or the other? richard: i think the stars finally aligned. i would tip my hat to lester because without his imagination and energy this would have not come together. he called me and said i think we can make this happen. let's do it as partners. i agreed immediately. we will be ready to go on may 2. i don't think it'll only be a great event for boxing, i think it'll be a great event for sports. charlie: will you be there? richard: absolutely.
charlie: this is a clip i will show you. this is when the late david carr and other people were on here. you will recognize the subject they are talking about. roll tape. >> i have this feeling about the last 15 years in tv that have to do with -- at the beginning of it, people were defensive at the idea that tv could be good. there was this initial move in talking about television that had to do with comparing it to books and movies. to praise a show, you had to say this show is -- "the wire" is good because it is like dickens. to me, this was the status anxiety that haunted television because earlier it was in the medium where people thought of it as commercial junk that was made collaboratively. i think the last 15 years has been this fantastic period because people have moved past this notion to compare to talk about tv.
they are talking about the value of television as a medium itself, as something that takes place episodically, over time and is a little bit like a live performance. terence: one of the nicest things that was ever said about my show when we premiered was that this may forever blur the lines between television and film. charlie: scorsese was directing the first episode. terence: the fact that the scope of it and how big it is and what we can do visually, it is almost incidental that it is a television show. i think 20 years from now, people want to necessarily identify it -- is it a tv show? josh: i think there is something really different because i think rewind 10 plus years ago and was all of the tv shows were made with market considerations almost exclusively. will it sell, how many people will watch, what are the estimates?
terence: it has to be a big number. josh: today, outlets like hbo, showtime, fx, amc -- we are making tv shows and saying if the material is great and the writing is exquisite, it will find its audience. if we have some patience. that is not an irresponsible business decision. that is because it actually happens. charlie: you are agreeing? richard: absolutely. josh says it very well. we only get 20% of our viewing for a particular show on premiere night. 80% of the viewing is over the period of the week. people are watching it on demand, on hbogo, on hbonow. you don't necessarily need to be there on sunday night at 9:00. that also creates the power of word-of-mouth. people will come to it, hear
about it. if you are a network like ours and not worried about advertising, but about people valuing their subscription, that is a tremendous enhancement. charlie: there is enough creative talent, enough writers, talented performers to feed this demand? richard: i'm constantly amazed at the array of talent that is lined up at our door. it is breathtaking, actually. the challenge is doing everything we want to do and figuring out a way to use that talent. charlie: thanks for coming. richard: great pleasure, charlie. charlie: richard plepler of hbo. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
charlie: al michaels is here. he is one of america's most respected and prolific sportscasters. he is the only broadcaster who has called a super bowl, the world series, the stanley cup, the nba finals and the olympics for network television. he is currently the play-by-play voice of nbc's "sunday night football" which is among television's highest-rated shows. all of those stories and more are told in this book -- "you can't make this stuff up: miracles, memories, and the perfect marriage of sports and television." i'm so pleased to have al
michaels back at this table. welcome. al: every 18 years we do this, charlie, right? i think we did this in 1997. charlie: it has been a great life. it is a great life. al: it has been. i am blessed in so many ways. my family, number one. my wife linda, we've been together since the 10th grade. kids and grandkids. i think i said in the book, i don't believe in reincarnation probably because if i do come back and god wants to get even with me, i will be working in a sulfur mine in mongolia on the night shift. this was a pretty good run. charlie: curt gowdy said don't ever get jaded. al: he did. charlie: what did he mean? al: he was basically telling me at that point -- i idolized curt and wound up working with him. he said to me, look, you are going to have a really good career. which i did not know at that time. i felt i was off to a good start, but he wanted to make sure that down the line, i always appreciated what it was
that i was doing. i grew up wanting to do all of these things -- dreamed about them. you have to have a certain naïveté when you are a kid. i dreamed about doing all these things -- the world series, the olympics. the super bowl did not even exist when i was a kid. and they all seemed very possible. i look back now and i go, oh, my god. how in the world did that happen? charlie: the life has been bigger than the dream. al: it has been in a way. you need an unbelievable number of good breaks. not everything has been a smooth sail for me.
along the way, you wind up in a lot of right places at the right time. for me to wind up where i have that is just serendipitous more than anything else. charlie: there is a story when you were 17 years old at arizona state in tempe, you were standing in line and the guy in front of you was -- al: it was sal bando. charlie: sal bando. 10 years later, he is in the
everything, there is nothing vinny hasn't spoken on. the little. charlie: there is one thing in this book about taking three generations of michaels as a fan to watch the game. al: me, my son and daughter, and my grandchildren. here are my two grandchildren. i mentioned early in the book -- i know the los angeles kings have had a sorry history until recently, until winning the last two of three stanley cups. these grandchildren think it is a birthright. my son and i -- charlie: they have always been the king of hockey. al: we are going to win this thing every year. it is wonderful. to me, that is the great connection. fathers and sons, grandchildren, daughters. girls and women are into sports. it gives you this common thread
you can talk about and discuss. it may be more prevalent now than when i was a kid. charlie: i tell people all the time that the great common denominator -- my father made me work in a country store. it was all adults. the common denominator was sports. you could talk about sports. if you knew something, the adults would respect you. it became part of the conversation. al: very much so in today's society. i run into very few people who don't know at least something about sports. i don't think you want to pretend you are the village idiot when it comes to sports. you want to understand at least what is going on. sports is almost in a way -- i don't want to say it has overtaken entertainment because it is entertainment in a way. somebody -- a very prominent man in the entertainment industry asked me if sports overtaken entertainment. there is a blending because he
was making the point that sports seems the wind up on the front page about as much as anything else these days. charlie: it is what ties the nation together, too. speaking of that, i guess the russian defeat had to be, for a moment, for a man, for somebody there at that time, as good as it gets. al: in 1980, it was not a very good time in the country. we do not feel very good about ourselves as a country. everything was going haywire. the soviets invaded afghanistan. we were boycotting their olympics in 1980. we went to the winter olympics in lake placid. the primary was almost 20%. we just didn't feel right. our hostages were being held in iran. the country needed a boost.
charlie: the word used was malaise. al: this hockey team which had no chance to beat the soviets. we were a bunch of college kids, our team. they were students and soldiers. they were hockey players. that is all they did for 11 months a year -- they played hockey. they almost reinvented the sport. they were so good, they knocked off a number of nhl teams on visits to north america. they were the best in the world by far.
clinical and precise and machinelike. of all crazy things, we beat them. we beat them in a game in which we trailed three times. we got outshot 39-16. the soviets dominated that game, but the u.s. scored four goals on 16 shots to win it 4-3. what most people forget is the u.s. has to win a game on sunday to win the gold medal. they trailed in that game 2-1 to finland. charlie: it's almost a trivia question. who did they play after beatin the soviet union? al: herb brooks, the coach after the second period of the finland game -- they are trailing 2-1. if the u.s. loses the game, they don't win the gold medal. the soviet thing would have been wasted and his last words to the team before they took the ice was if you lose this game, you will take it to your grave. he had an adjective before grave. he was dead right. they would have taken that to their graves. charlie: what is the metric to measure someone that does what you do?
al: for me, it would be to be in total sync with the game itself. put a premium on getting everything right. can you get everything right? it is almost impossible. can you try? yes. i think i prepare harder today than i did when i was starting out. there is just so much to know. the fans know, the viewers know so much more than they did. if you are not on top of it, there are a lot of people that will say what you're talking about? that is not right. the hardest thing for me -- it is like preparing for a final exam every sunday night. that's how i look at it. charlie: in real-time. al: it is exhilarating because there is no take two in this business. you only get take one.
the key thing is to -- as a viewer through the years, if the announcer goes away from the picture too often -- once in a while, you have to digress or whatever -- if you are not talking about what the viewer is seeing, it is very disconcerting. i'm always in sync. i set up where i am physically in the game, i can see the field and right below me is the monitor at eye level. just below what i see with the naked eye so if there is a shot change, i can see the shot change. i can see with the viewer at home is seeing. charlie: howard cosell. you knew him, your worked him, your write about him. al: he ran the gamut from charming to cantankerous. i had him from 1977 through the final game he ever did which was in 1985. we did mainly baseball. we did a couple of pro bowls. this was before i was on "monday night football" and some boxing. the thing about howard, if you were with him, you would come back with a story or five. there was always something that took place with howard. he drew a crowd. he was a lot of fun for a while. then, towards the end, he became
very bitter. he took himself off "monday night football" in 1983. was never very happy with a lot of things and kind of went out in an inglorious fashion. it was a shame. charlie: attacking everybody. al: just sullen and angry. towards the end, nothing was better for me in those years than postseason baseball and howard would show up and he did not want to be there off the bat. being the big dog on the whole crew, this would permeate the crew. this was not a good thing. but boy -- at his best, he was funny and lively. charlie: and smart. al: very, very smart. charlie: he thought he was smarter than everybody. al: yes, he did. he knew who he was.
we would be sitting in a lobby. in those days, he would always wear -- in those years, remember the canary yellow blazers? nobody would travel with them. nobody would bring wardrobe. you would have to take the blazer to the game. howard would not want to take another set of clothes so he would wear the blazer. he would be sitting in the lobby and a couple of times there would be a wedding going on in the adjoining ballroom. the wedding party would realize that is howard cosell with the toupee and cigar and the yellow blazer. the bride and groom would come up and he would always look at her and go -- you could've done so much better. [laughter] charlie: the stories about him -- one was that he had a bit too much to drink and he says to
you, "take a stand." al: that was in 1984 at the playoffs. the game was going on so long. at this point, he was close to being finished. he took a stand during the game which was ridiculous. he wanted the team to bunt in a situation where the manager would have been fired by the owner in the middle of the game. jim and i were trying to work the edges to not embarrass him but to explain why you might not bunt in this situation. when the game ended, that is when howard went off on me. i took my stand. basically, it was howard, you cannot do this. what was i supposed to do? say, howard, you're an idiot? charlie: if i'm here, you're not. if you're here, i'm not. al: if you come in this condition again, i'm out of here. that is when -- my contract was up at that time. i said i love doing this. i love doing baseball, but i cannot work with somebody who prepares for the game in the hotel bar. i just can't do it. i was promised if howard came back in 1985 that howard would not be in the hotel bar preparing. charlie: what was the relationship between him and howard? al: complex. he gave howard the opportunity to be howard in "monday night
football" and muhammad ali. towards the end, it was basically -- howard wound up ripping him in the book. at the end of the day, unless you were always kissing his ass, he would turn on you. he really hated the fact that rune and frank gifford were so close and they had been for a lot of years. he denigrated everybody. gifford, meredith, it didn't matter who it was. sooner or later, i was like the new kid on the block for a while. i was excused. i got some shots in the book towards the end. it was a shame because he went out with guns blazing against it.
charlie: o.j. simpson. how close were you? al: we were colleagues. we worked together over a period of time at track and field in the olympics. he was a neighbor. in those years, we had moved from the bay area -- in los angeles -- i lived in brentwood. o.j. lived five or six blocks from me so he became my tennis partner. i would play tennis with them. everybody knew o.j. he was a pied piper in a way. especially with young kids you know. charlie: when was the last time you spoke to him? when he was in jail? al: after he got out of jail, i saw him a couple of times and then that was it. charlie: didn't costas go see him as well in jail? what was the conversation you are in jail with o.j.? al: it was strange. i saw him on three occasions. i mentioned in the book that what gave me pause was -- if you had not committed a double-murder, wouldn't you be pounding on the wall? i didn't do it. whatever words you wanted to use.
he kept saying i can't believe they thought i did this. you go back three times. i had talked to him on the phone a couple of times between the night of the murder and the night they wound up with him in the white bronco and the more i thought about it, why aren't you saying i didn't do this instead of -- charlie: did you say this to him at the time? al: i did not because at that point -- i was just listening basically. it is such a strange thing. here you are visiting o.j. simpson in jail. charlie: at his request or yours? al: i was on the list of people that could visit him. they compile the list with his attorney. it was mainly friends and colleagues. he had a lot of them and i was on the list. there was certain curiosity as well. you are going to see o.j. simpson in jail? of course, you come back and everybody wants to know what he said.
charlie: so do i. did you say to him i think you did this or do you say to him did you do this? or you just say -- al: you know what, he is sitting there and all he did was basically listen. i guess you could have said did you do this? i should have said that. maybe somebody did. i don't know. you are sitting there and is not as if you are doing an interview for "60 minutes." charlie: i understand. al: it is not like you are doing a journalism one-on-one. charlie: i agree with that. sometimes you want to get as much out of him as you can without ending it with good you
do it? al: all of us that were in there probably wanted to believe he did not do it. charlie: we looking for some reason to support him? al: i wouldn't say that necessarily. i detail this in the book -- the whole timeline of the night and what took place. charlie: other than that, you collared ted koppel. al: abc news -- this was the biggest story in the country for a while. in that period between the murder and them catching him on the freeway or at home after he got into the driveway, there was so much misinformation that was being swung around by everybody. i had certain axis that i knew that i could share with my network. with peter jennings and ted koppel at the time.
when i knew o.j. was not in the house, there were a thousand people outside. i think it was tuesday or wednesday, i don't know. will o.j. come out? the rumors were swirling. o.j. was going to have something to say. i knew it was the kardashians house. charlie: nobody believed it because if he left, we would know it. al: i called ted. i said there are certain things i can tell you in certain things i cannot but i will tell you this -- he is not in the house. ted said how could he possibly get out? i said because i played tennis there 100 times and there is a gate in the back and he went out through the gate. he went up to the next street and the kardashians picked them up. i said to him you cannot use that, but he is not in the house. do not say he is in the house because he is not. i helped to a certain degree --
what i was basically doing was refuting misinformation more than anything else. charlie: the reason you couldn't tell was because? al: everybody would have gone to the kardashian house. if koppel goes on the air and says he is of the kardashian house, everybody goes there. this was one of those weird situations where you are dealing with friends and people you know, not just o.j., but others around him and you have certain information but you cannot share it. charlie: does anybody know what his frame of mind is now? al: nobody knows. he winds up in jail with some charge -- we know what it is all about. you should have gone to jail for -- if he committed the double-murder. charlie: do you have doubt?
al: i don't now. i'm saying he was found innocent. our justice system. i'm just saying if, again, that is where he should have been convicted so now we get convicted on this other charge. it is like evening things up. i have not talked to him in years. charlie: i think -- i was listening to you so well that night -- i think about the earthquake, too, as the other great moment you cannot imagine. tell me about that. al: we were coming on the air for the world series so there was a certain amount of anxiousness. you wanted to come out cleanly. you want the first few words and couple of minutes ago nice and smooth and cleanly. we were rolling in tape, too, so i have tim mccarver and jim palmer. great catcher. i loved working with those guys. tim is narrating a piece on tape and all of a sudden -- i knew what it was after a second and a half.
as a longtime california resident. i said we are having an earthquake which got cut off. we got snow on the screen and we came back with audio. we were off for about 15 minutes before we could get back on the air. i would say in retrospect it was a petrifying 15 seconds. it seemed like a minute and a half. an earthquake always seemed longer than it is because you cannot wait for it to stop. our backs are to the field and the cameras are in the back of the booth. at one point, i thought we are getting pitched out and going down into the lower deck. it was astonishing. you think about where we were in 1989 with no social media, no internet really, cable television is not what it became, just a fraction of what it is now.
so, people are not getting information. now, within 30 seconds everybody in the stadium would go on twitter or whatever and find out you have a collapsed portion of the bay bridge, big fire on the marina and a pancake interstate in oakland. nobody knew anything. in the stadium, maybe the transistor radio or kcvs in san francisco. for 15 or 20 minutes, the crowd is chanting play ball, play ball. they had no idea. all of a sudden, the word came back in the world series was suspended for 10 days and resumed a week from the following friday. charlie: where were you at the time of the munich olympics tragedy?
al: i was the announcer for the cincinnati reds at that time so i had not gone to abc yet. i was -- i was in san francisco doing a red-giants series. charlie: someone from abc said to me you know why we did so well is in part because sitting there was a play-by-play announcer in sports and he understood the moment. al: you were talking about jim mckay? who did a fantastic job. jim mckay was not what you would really call a sportscaster. i once likened him to a favorite teacher because he would take you on this grand tour of the world. he might announce demolition derby. nobody makes their chops announcing demolition derby but what made it interesting was how he would fold the stories that surrounded the companies and.
-- competition. he took you around the world. he was phenomenal because he knew how to do live television. he lived in the live television world. he was wonderful. that was another reason that cosell didn't like mckay because cosell always felt that arland should have put him in the role as newsman. all jim did was win a news emmy. the thing about mckay -- he was such a warm man, warmhearted man. not only did he get everything right that night, but there was a certain empathy. when he had to announce the athletes were dead, knowing that families were going to hear about it, he did it with -- as jim mckay. it was not i'm announcing something and i want to put the right words together. this was his heart. that is what jim mckay was. he announced from his heart.
charlie: that was walter cronkite at the time with the kennedy assassination as well. al: right. right. exactly. the emotion. charlie: pro football. you were there for a great super bowl. how surprised were you by the call? al: i was surprised by the call but i was really surprised by the actual play itself because i can see where you might want to pass in the situation. i get that. charlie: but not in the middle? al: you have a 5'10" quarterback who was very mobile. you roll him out or run it into the end zone. this is all in retrospect. we are second-guessing. pete carroll will make a play call on the fly. charlie: do you know why he made the call that he did? what is your theory? i assumed he wanted to mix it up. you think i'm going to have marshawn come down the middle? i'm not.
al: i was in the car with john harbaugh at the time. he worked on our pregame show. this was 45 minutes after the game. i just said to him you don't have to answer me. i said was this a case of one guy trying to outsmart the other guy? can you overthink these situations? john said, you can overthink them. i don't think he wanted to get
into whether it was gamesmanship between carroll and belichick. this is going by too fast. i think coaches -- this is for any sport, charlie -- can overthink the situation. so, remember there was a crazy catch by kearse which compelled the timeout. then you have it almost getting into the end zone. what really takes it in the neck if seattle wins the game and there is no time left is belichick for not taking his timeouts. he did not take the timeouts. if he did take the timeouts and seattle scores, brady still to get the ball with 30, 35 seconds and then kick a field goal and go to overtime. this is why we love sports because here we are if you want later talking about that. it was phenomenal. charlie: i didn't know one call that would galvanize so much opinions. al: it is so easy because we know how it turned out. somebody said to pete, was this the worst call of all time to pete carroll? he said i don't know about that but it was the worst result. charlie: it reminds me of john calipari. to be so close yet so far. pete carroll to be so close yet so far. how long does it take? al: it could take a while. the great thing about these coaches -- pete carroll has to get his team together, go
through minicamp, training camp and another season. he has the put this behind him. he will. that does not mean he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night and i could've, should have, might have. you cannot dwell on what took place in the past or you are living in the past. all of these people are living in the future. you look at bill belichick this year. everybody in new england was going crazy -- they lost to kansas city on a monday night and they got killed. they are 2-2. they don't look good. even the two wins they had to eek out. tom brady no longer has it. remember, belichick? what happened last week? we are onto cincinnati. that was the mantra. "we are onto cincinnati." charlie: this book is called "you can't make this up: miracles, memories and the perfect marriage of sports and television."