November 12, 2007, - 1:28 pm

Howie Long, Ignoramus?

By Debbie Schlussel
I like Howie Long, one of the coolest former NFL linemen and current TV football commentators there is. He’s one of those pro-athletes that didn’t get into criminal trouble, didn’t file for bankruptcy (he charges upward of $50,000 per speaking engagement), has remained married to his college sweetheart and mother of his three sons (one of whom is Chris Long–on the way to becoming a first-round pick at Defensive End), and is an all-around good guy, at least from my own personal experience.
When my high school classmate Torin Dorn played Defensive Back (Corner) with the L.A. Raiders, I met and hung out with Howie Long after lots of different games, etc. (see very, very, very bad pic below from a 1990 Raider vs. Detroit Lions game–I weighed all of 91 pounds at the time but doesn’t look that way). And he was always a gentleman, a super nice guy, and very affable and friendly.
But in trying to make a joke, Howie made an ignorant gaffe on Sunday’s NFL on FOX/FOX NFL Sunday coverage, yesterday:

Howie Long of Fox NFL Sunday referred to colleague Jay Glazer’s copy of the Patriots spy tape as the “Magruder” film of the NFL. Host Curt Menefee asked if he meant the “Zapruder” film. Long made up for the blunder with his humorous attack on critics who want Belichik to wear a hair shirt forever.
“People say, ‘He’s not remorseful, he’s not contrite enough.’ What do you want him to do? Go on Oprah and cry? Bill Belichick is Bill Belichick,” Long said.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

A history historian, not so much.
During Fox’s Rapid Fire segment this morning, the first question was about Don Shula‚Äôs comments that the Patriots would need an asterisk.
Howie was steamed: “You’d think we were talking about the Magruder film here. We’re talking about the Jay Glazer video.”
This set Terry Bradshaw laughing. (Quick guide: When Terry can laugh at your book-learnin’, not a good sign. Curt Menefee played straight man.)
Curt: “Magruder?”
Howie: “Yeah.”
Curt: “Zapruder?”
Howie, acknowleding his error: “Gruder.”
Curt: “Za-pruder.”
Howie: “Five plays into this game, that video was confiscated.” He went on and on.

We don’t watch football for history lessons. But if you’re going to make a historical reference, get it right or you’ll get laughed at.
In Howie’s defense, at least he’s aware of the Zapruder, er . . . “Magruder” film (the famous 8 mm film of the JFK assassination taken by a guy named Abraham Zapruder and ultimately worth more than $18 million in royalties and licensing fees to Zapruder’s family).
I’d bet 95% or more of today’s pro athletes, these days, don’t. My fave story is when NBA player Voshon Lenard was in a college history class. When his prof asked him why George Washington was considered a founding father, he responded:

George Washington . . . . Sounds familiar. . . . Can you give me a hint?


Howie Long & Me in 1990 After Raiders-Lions Game

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10 Responses

I thought ‘magruder’ sounded familiar when he said it. Jeb Stuart Magruder was a minor Nixon administration official who had his 15 minutes of fame during the Senate Watergate hearings in the summer of 1973. At the time, Howie Long was 13 years old, but maybe his dad had the TV on a lot and it stuck in his head the way it stuck in mine. Quit busting his balls over nothing, okay? 🙂

John West on November 12, 2007 at 2:24 pm

I just want to add an example of a mistake of the same kind, and it’s interesting because it hints at how we mis-remember things. A few years ago, I was reviewing some dictation by a pulmonologist (a lung doctor) and was puzzled by the term ‘Lady Guinevere syndrome.’ I tried looking it up but couldn’t find anything. I asked him and he said it referred to a condition of the right middle lung. Finally, after much cross-checking on the Web, it emerged that what he meant was ‘Lady Windermere syndrome,’ named in reference to Oscar Wylde’s play “Lady Windermere’s Fan.” You can find details at but it strikes me that this highly-educated physician saying ‘guinevere’ instead of ‘windermere’ is exactly the kind of error Howie Long made when he said ‘magruder’ instead of ‘zapruder.’

John West on November 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm

love that red hair debbie!!!!!!!!!!!! where are your pics of your 80’s style hair sprayed back MTV look?

PNAMARBLE on November 12, 2007 at 6:16 pm

Deb, from the occasional pics you post of yourself on this site I must say that you have one of the sincerest and heartiest smiles I’ve ever seen.

Jeremiah on November 12, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Actually, I can’t say it any better than John West did. Must be a very slow news day.

DocLiberty on November 12, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Not to pile on Howie, but I remember a radio interview he did where he referenced Medusa, a character from the Bible.

Blayne on November 13, 2007 at 7:41 am

Hey folks, those players’ heads took an awful pummeling and it’s a wonder they all don’t end up like Muhammad Ali. So Howie’s ignorance of his ignorance is mild by comparison.
Athletes like Long never had/have to depend on such trivia for their success. Keep in mindd–in some cases–such ignorance can make for a good side show during the main event (i. e. “I wonder what off the wall stupid thing he will say today???”).
Wasn’t it great finally watching Dan Rather prove the moron he was during the bogus national guard story fiasco? You had endured this moron’s stupid jokes for all these years thinking, “you are such a liar!” and sure enough it all came through in the end. The point is Howie should keep his comments to the events between the sidelines to keep safe–duh.
The most important thing is we get a nice shot of DS here. I like the dark hair DS!!

BB on November 13, 2007 at 8:12 am

Wow, you looked very cute back then. Not that you are not now lol

marley on November 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm

I just enjoy watching him on Sunday’s before the games. He just comes across like a nice down to earth gentlemen. You are a very lucky lady…

Sandy on January 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

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