It was 40 years ago today. I still feel the pain.
It was a divisional playoff between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers. A few seconds left …
Harris, who was simply trailing the play, scooped up the ball (which had bounced 24 feet) and scored with 5 seconds remaining. It was the first playoff victory in the history of the Pittsburgh franchise and it began their glory days.
But the question was, did the ball bounce off Frenchy Fuqua, the Steelers intended receiver, or did it bounce off Jack Tatum, the Raiders defender. If Fuqua, it’s incomplete. Offensive deflections were not legal receptions at the time. If Tatum, or if both, then the completion is good. It took several minutes for the officials to decide.
And to this day no one is sure except Raiders fans and Steelers fans.
NFL Films calls it the greatest play in NFL history. For fans it was one of those indelible events that causes you to remember right where you were when it happened — driving on I-5 between L.A. and San Diego on the way from Oakland to Tucson for Christmas.
The rule was changed in 1978 to make passes deflected by any player legal.
“We live in a time where 6-year-old kids on Madden design more complicated offenses and defenses than Papa Halas ever dreamed about.”
Bradshaw 4 for 4
Montana 4 for 4
Aikman 3 for 3
Brady 3 for 5
Plunkett 2 for 2
Starr 2 for 2
Eli Manning 2 for 2
Bob Griese 2 for 3
Roethlisberger 2 for 3
Staubach 2 for 4
Elway 2 for 5
Jim Kelly of the Bills and Fran Tarkenton of the Vikings were 0-4 and 0-3 respectively in Super Bowls.
Be sure to read captions.
Last week and this are the best football weeks of the year.
The Ravens are 7-point underdogs to the Patriots. I’m taking the 7 and Ed Reed.
The 49ers are 2½ point favorites and my favorite NFC team since I lived in Oakland. (You can guess which team is my AFC and most favorite.) I’m taking the 49ers and giving the 2½.
Yes, I realize that means an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl.
“I don’t know if this means anything, but, long about half-past 35-7 the other night in Foxboro, I could’ve sworn I saw a couple of New England Patriots rolling dice for Tim Tebow’s jersey.”
Charles P. Pierce, Grantland
This announcer is the anti-Joe Buck.
The most dramatic, exciting sports events every year are the NFL divisional playoffs and conference championships.
October is by far the best sports month, but these two weekends in January are the most fun.
After all he has always been a winner. Two-time BCS national champion. Two-time first team All American. Heisman Trophy winner. Two-time Maxwell Award winner.
But there is this, via Wikipedia citing several sources:
“In the 2009 BCS Championship Game, he wore John 3:16 on his eye black and the verse became the highest-ranked Google search term over the next 24 hours, generating over 90 million searches.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Yesterday Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards, 31.6 yards per completion.
Take Denver and the 13½ against the Pats.
“West Virginia’s 49 points at halftime were the most in bowl history. Not Orange Bowl history: bowl history, as in every… single… bowl… ever played. The history of bowl games, from the Rose to the Beef ‘O’ Brady. Ever, ever, ever. Likewise, West Virginia’s 70 points at the end of regulation was a bowl record – ever.”
Pre-Snap Read: Almost Heaven? Not Quite: Pure Heaven.
“The onus to sell tickets needs to be on the bowl games, which are getting one of the greatest deals in sports by having college football outsource its most profitable product (its postseason).”
Dan Wetzel in an excellent column on the BCS and a, dare I say it, yes I dare, “playoff.”