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The Game Behind the Game: High Pressure, High Stakes in Television Sports Hardcover – April, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

O'Neil, veteran of TV sports, begins his behind-the-scenes memoir with a vivid recollection of the tragic Munich Olympics. He then moves on to his experiences with Monday Night Football , and particularly with Howard Cosell, whom he depicts as a sort of monster. He also discusses his tenure at CBS Sports, where he put together the team of Pat Summerall and John Madden and introduced the so-called "chalkboard" to analyze plays--before corporate maneuvering, the game behind the game, brought about his ouster from the network. O'Neil concludes with a warning to TV executives not to let on-camera figures become so powerful that they control the industry. An insider's account, the book, covering both network politics and sports, lacks focus for a specific audience and as such is unlikely to find its reader ship. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

O'Neil joined ABC Sports right out of college and rapidly rose within the ranks to become a producer; in 1981 he switched to CBS and was instrumental in revamping their sports programming. This crisply written account roughly tracks his career, but the chapters are a curious mix of discussion of players, coaches, and personalities, including lengthy portraits of Howard Cosell and John Madden, and a look at the cutthroat world of network office politics. O'Neil has an obvious ax to grind--he was fired from CBS in 1986--and loudly toots his own horn throughout, while deploring TV's abdication of control to on-air anchors and commentators. By and large, however, this is compelling material, and is recommended for TV sports fans and media observers.
- Jack Ray, Loyola/Notre Dame Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060160195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060160197
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,654,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
An entertaining memoir from a TV sports producer who
seems to have been an eyewitness to some of the most
memorable moments and personalities in sports, from
the 1972 Munich Olympics to the rise of John Madden.

O'Neil provides plenty of behind-the-scenes information
and avoids insulting the reader's intelligence by
including technical information (e.g., selection of
camera shots during live action) that help in understanding
a producer or director's role.

Unfortunately, O'Neil fell victim to the same politicking
and backstabbing that accompany big-money network
sports. However, this does not detract from the
enjoyment of this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A kiss-and-tell book which in which Mr. O'Neil attempts to convince us everything he has touched has turned to gold.
Do not read this if you like Brent Musburger, or think John Madden is a bit of a windbag.
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