Athletic abilities does not equate to a decent human being. Take O.J. Simpson. He was a lightning quick as a Buffalo Bills running back in the 1970s. His record for fewest games to 1000 yards and 2000 in a single season still hold up. He made Hall of Fame defenses look like high school JV linemen, especially the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m sure O.J. Simpson would regularly be in the list of greatest rushers of all time if it weren’t for his life outside of football. Where to begin? The murder trial circus, bankruptcy, jail time, drug addiction, and a tell all “confession” book that made more headlines from the circumstances of the publication rather than the contents of the actual publication. Well, his acting career wasn’t that bad.
Note: Names not official
There is a reason why the 1972 Dolphins Perfect Season and Superbowl victory is heralded: No other team has yet to repeat it. The Patriots came very close in Superbowl XLII (42) but the New York Giants stomped those hopes. The number of things that have to go right for your team and wrong for your opponents to get to perfect season and Superbowl victory is mind boggling. Here is one possible way to simulate the dominance of the 1972 Dolphins: Completely load up your fantasy Madden team and max out stats for all of your players. Make sure that you are ranked #1 in offense and defense every week for the entire season. Your rushers and pass catchers have Hall of Fame numbers. Finally, you must be a tactical genius on the offensive side of the ball. We have to use a video game to fathom what actually happened to the 1972 Dolphins.
I have put the following entry on my bucket list:
Go to the Patriots Hall of Fame in Gillette Stadium to see the snow plow involved in the Snowplow Game.
The Snowplow Game is schadenfreude when reading Miami Dolphins’ history, but an amusing boon in New England Patriots’ history. December 12, 1982 is when Miami faced New England. There is 4:45 left in the 4th quarter and the score is 0-0. Bad weather the previous day made the field icy and weather during game day was snow. Patriots coach Ron Meyer requested for part of the field to be plowed before Patriots kicker John Smith attempts to score a field goal. The snow plow went across the field, then made a little curve right at the area where John Smith would kick, then continued plowing to the other side. The curve made the perfect kicking area and the Patriots won the game. Miami coach Don Shula was understandably upset but the final score stood. 0-3 New England was the final score.
Yes folks, that snowplow can be seen in Gillette Stadium. I’m sure we’ll both be chuckling when we gaze upon this relic and its moment in football lore.
The Jets’ 1968 season led to their well chronicled Superbowl victory, but it also changed sports TV broadcasting forever. Their game against the Oakland Raiders ( November 17, 1968) had to go past the TV scheduled slot. Despite a very close game ( 32–29 Raiders) and having a little over a minute left in the 4th quarter, many stations (except for the west coast) switched over to a broadcast of the film Heidi right on schedule. Only a little ticker at the bottom of the screen showed the final score (43–32 Raiders). The viewing public that was forced to watch Heidi flooded their local NBC stations with calls, understandably upset that they didn’t see the end of the game. In response TV broadcasters changed their sports broadcast policy. All games are now seen to their conclusion, scheduled programs and sponsors be damned. This moment in TV history is affectionately known as the Heidi Incident.
It is not a secret that former Broncos quarterback John Elway is a douche bag. But this path to being a bitter, legendary Broncos figurehead really reminds me of Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader in Star Wars. John was a bright eyed, extremely talented kid hailing from California when he started. Anakin was a bright eyed, extremely talented kid hailing from Tatooine when he started. As time marched on John was repeatedly given a chance to play in the Superbowl. Repeatedly he saw the Broncos fall apart. As time marched on Anakin was repeatedly given a chance to secure victory against the rebellious Sith lords. Repeatedly he saw these battles end in failure. John hardened his heart and lost his humanity in order to obtain his coveted Superbowl ring (his fast approaching retirement age may also be a factor). Anakin hardened his heart and lost his humanity in order to bring balance to the Force (the death of his wife during this period may also be a factor).
Don’t worry you’re not the only one confused by the name changes. The Kansas City Chiefs were born as the Dallas Texans in the AFL in 1960. The Dallas Texans had their AFL championship in 1962. Despite the victory the Dallas Texans couldn’t sustain being in the same market as their NFL older cousin, the Dallas Cowboys. In 1963 the Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City (Missouri), and renamed themselves the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ll keep the story straight for the all these Texas teams for you. Continue reading
The Los Angeles Raiders were a critical part of 1980s LA culture. They were the bad boys, a sports counter culture to the highly finesse Los Angeles Lakers. The Raiders also did strange things for the poorer neighborhoods of L.A. (Compton, East L.A., among others): The Raiders gave a common cause for Crips and Bloods to unite. Don’t believe me? Ask Ice Cube.
ESPN 30 for 30 Films Presents “Straight Out of Los Angeles”
It’s important to note that Bo Jackson played with the Los Angeles Raiders. He was so blessed with athletic talent he had to play two professional sports–baseball and football–to showcase everything. Hell, Al Davis gave his blessing to do it, which is why Bo Jackson ended up with the Raiders. Oh yes, he could play both sports just fine thank you. Did I mention he had one of the best Nike sponsorship ad campaigns ever? If you haven’t watched the ESPN 30 for 30 episode “You Don’t Know Bo,” you really should. In fact, let me put this up right now. Go watch it and thank me later.
The title Fearsome Foursome is handed down to only good defenses. Many associate the title with the Los Angeles Rams, but in the early 1960s that title belonged to the AFL San Diego Chargers. Earl Faison, Ernie Ladd, Bill Hudson and Ron Nery were its members. Earl was rookie of the year as a lineman. Ernie Ladd was literally the biggest, strongest guy in the AFL, and would later become a legendary heel in the WWWF (now WWE). Bill Hudson only played 3 years in the AFL, but he was traded to the Boston Patriots before the Chargers could make the AFL championship in 1963. The same goes for Ron Nery, who was traded to the Denver Broncos.
Speaking of championships, the Chargers have
not made it to won the Superbowl ever. Yes, since the introduction of the Superbowl. Sticklers will tell me they won an AFL championship, but that’s not the same as the post merger, modern Superbowl.
Correction: The Chargers did make it to Super XXIX (29) in 1994. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
Note: Names not official
George Halas, Papa Bear himself, was involved with the Bears (née Staleys) since the team as created in 1919. Like many founders at the time George did everything. Coach, president, offensive player (wide receiver) and defensive player (end). He played football at a time when it was really just a derivative of rugby and brawling. He literally witnessed the NFL rise from a bunch of corporate sponsored semi-professional clubs to the huge sports league it became. Even before he did in 1983 (at 88) he made one last significant impact on his beloved Chicago team: He hired Mike Ditka as head coach.
The Lions joke “Rebuilding since 1957” is played out but sadly is true. Ever since the modern NFL established in 1967 the Lions have not seen a Superbowl victory. The last victory was before the merger in 1957. But the background, plays, stats, and eventual final score would be considered crazy video game (“Madden”) numbers today. Detroit’s backup QB (Tobin Rote) had to fill in for the injured starting QB. Four touchdowns, the opponent Cleveland Browns’ starting and backup QBs get injured, and this was Detroit head coach George Wilson’s rookie year. The final score was 59-14 against the Browns.
Seriously I did not make that up.