This week our local ESPN sports radio affiliate, 101.1 ESPN’s drive home show “The Fast Lane” hosted by Randy Karraker, Super Bowl Champion Demarco Farr, and World Series Champion Chris Duncan, has their weekly top ten poll. This week’s category was their favorite Super Bowl moments. That made me think of enough things that I decided to compile my own list with videos.
The Whitney Houston National Anthem.
I was a 14-year-old freshman in 1991 for this one. Growing up during a time of peace, you really don’t get a sense of what it really means to be patriotic. A few weeks before this moment, I stayed awake all night with my eyes glued to CNN watching the first hours of Desert Storm unfold. I didn’t realize what it really meant to be an American until that war began. During the lead up to the Super Bowl all of the talk of extra security surrounding the event really helped to understand the magnitude of what was going on halfway around the world. Patriotism was at an all-time high when Whitney Houston stepped up to the mic and moved a nation to tears. It is still to this day my favorite version of the Stars Spangled Banner that I have ever heard. The game that day was also one of the best games to ever be played, but for me, it was this that really stands out.
Let me start by saying, I was a fan of Leon Lett. The guy was a hell of a football player, and he was flat-out dominant at times. But this was one of those time that you have to steal the words of the late great Fred Sanford (played by St. Louis native Redd Foxx) “YOU BIG DUMMY.” I was Dallas Cowboy fan at the time since our city didn’t have football. This play had nothing to do with outcome of the game, so I really couldn’t be mad about it, but it was just a really bone headed play. I was much angrier at him the following Thanksgiving.
This commercial turned the room completely silent. When this commercial was finished, everyone looked around the room and just mouthed “wow” toward each other. Powerful, powerful commercial. The best memory, of what was otherwise an awful day for me. One of the worst days of my life as a sports fan.
Thank you Giants
As 101 The Fast Lane’s Randy Karraker would say, this was the day the Giants “saved the world” from the Patriots going undefeated. I have always respected the Patriots, but after learning all of the “spygate” stuff it was nice to see them get knocked off of their fake throne. They would have been known as the “greatest team in NFL history”, but the Giants righted the universe. Somewhere, the football gods are smiling.
I admit being an offensive guy, this should be higher on my list. The only problem is that I didn’t see it actually happen live. I set my VCR that morning to record the game just so that I could watch it throughout the year until football started again. Kids, back in our day we didn’t have youtube and stuff like that to just pull things up and watch them. When the first quarter ended a friend and I went outside to throw a football around. We went back inside at halftime and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the score. Needless to say, I watched the video of that 2nd quarter countless times. Doug Williams was ridiculous in that quarter.
This was the very first Super Bowl that I ever remember watching. That was back when the Big Red were still here in St. Louis and I remember watching the Redskins play them that year and I thought the Redskins were awesome. I knew for sure that the Redskins would be the Raiders. Even thought the game was one-sided I still thought that somehow, someway, the Redskins would come back. I thought that until this play happened. This was the first time watching football that I had that “How did that happen” kind of moment. This run was amazing
Jordan vs. Bird
I am even surprised myself that I put this up this high. For myself, and millions others, the Super Bowl commercials are as big as the game itself. There have been many years that I didn’t care that much about the game but just couldn’t wait to see the commercials. This is the first “big” commercial that I remember ever seeing. This one had everyone talking. There have been many great commercials before and since this one, but this is the commercial that got me hooked on the commercials.
Super Bowl Shuffle
Has their ever been a more badass move in NFL history? People like to make a big deal of Joe Namath’s guaranteed victory. While that was great, this wasn’t just one person, this was a WHOLE TEAM coming out and doing a music video. They knew that they were going to beat the asses of whoever they played. And this video is the proof. That team was awesome!
The day that I realized who the best quarterback of all-time is. I was actually rooting for the Bengals that day because I was 12 and a fan of the “Ickey shuffle.” Watching this unfold ticked me off. That’s when I realized, when the game is on the line Montana just doesn’t miss. Of course the legend grew even more as the years went by hearing the story about the timeout before the drive. Legend has it that when the 49ers got into the huddle Montana, almost starstruck, pointed out actor Tom Candy in the crowd. The message the team got from that was Montana had no doubt they were going to get it done, that he was that excited to see an actor in the stands watching him perform. If there is a 2-minute drill that my life depends on…I want Joe Montana at the helm.
St. Louis gets a trophy of its own
The greatest day of my life as a sports fan! I was six years old in 1982 when the Cardinals won it all so I don’t really remember that. The Cards (and Don Denkinger) broke my heart in 85, and again in 87. The Cardinals and the Blues took turns breaking my heart. The funny thing with this team…I wanted to believe, but those past heart breaks made me skeptical. There was a point that year that I tried to talk myself out of the fact that they looked the like the best team in the league. Heard all of the critics saying “they haven’t played anybody” and yes, that had me worried. When the playoffs started and we played the Vikings, they drove right down the field and took an early 3-0 lead. It took the Rams one play to respond. Kurt Warner connected with Isaac Bruce and the track meet was on. I had little doubt from there on out. The Rams did make me sweat through the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl was the most nervous I think I have ever been. I could not eat or even drink a beer that day. I was that nervous. I decided to be seated in the back of the room because I was one of the ones most likely to have to stand up, and I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. The last play of the game, I was in front of everyone, on my hands and knees praying for the stop. Mike Jones made the tackle, we all kind of held our breath for a moment when the official turned on his microphone and said “the runner was stopped short of the goal line, the game is over”, then…all hell broke loose. The guy who owned the home the we were in lifted me up and put a bear hug on me that damn near crushed my lungs. It was madness for a few minutes. I decided to be the driver that night because I really didn’t need to drink, I was walking on air. The owner of the house insisted I had a glass of champagne and how could I resist that? While driving to downtown St. Louis we were listening to the Rams radio broadcast and they kept playing the clip from Rams play by-play guy Mike Bush “ST. LOUIS, THE GATEWAY TO THE WEST, IS NOW THE GATEWAY TO THE BEST FOOTBALL TEAM IN THE WORLD!” It gives me chills every time I hear it.
The radio broadcast signed off that night by playing Van Halen’s “Standing on top of the world” with audio clips from the game. It was a perfect way for the station to sign off. Once that was over, we put on a not yet released CD of our former roommate’s cousin, some guy by the name of Nelly, and we headed downtown. We stayed down on Laclede’s landing until about 3am that night. Problem was, I had to be at work at eight. Fueled by adrenaline I decided when I got home, I would watch the highlights of the game (yes I had recorded it) and drink Mountain Dew and just not sleep. I did that and made it through the work day just fine, but I did tell them I didn’t feel good and may not be there the next day. When the work day was finished I went downtown and got set up for the victory parade, the first one I ever had the chance to see. It was cold, but the parade was incredible. I took pictures with a cheap disposable camera, so I stopped at Walgreens on the way home to get them developed. I went to a pizza joint next door and had dinner so that by the time I was finished the pictures were also finished. I picked up the pictures, and a 6 pack of Budweiser. That may have been the greatest 12 hours of sleep in my life.