Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 262: Superb Owl

I wish I had been the one to come up with that...

So there's a big football game today. Naturally I will be watching, since it's the last one until February.

The first one I remember watching was SB IV between the Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs. I was 10. Since my two favorite teams were the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders, I couldn't root for the Chiefs (a team that had abandoned Dallas for KC years earlier, and the Raiders' top divisional rival). The Vikings lost, a post-season tradition.

The next year Dallas made it, and lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Baltimore Colts. I had a poster of Dallas QB Craig Morton on my wall. After the devastating loss, in tears and bitter about Morton's three interceptions (two of which ended Dallas' last two possessions and set up the Colts' winning field goal with five seconds left in the game), I removed his poster from my bedroom wall.

My Cowboys finally won it all the next year, with my childhood hero, Bob Lilly (I wore his number in high school) making one of the game's biggest plays, sacking the Dolphins quarterback for a 29-yard loss. I have a picture of a group of neighborhood kids getting an autograph from Roger Staubach at Love Field before the Cowboys boarded the plane to go to New Orleans.

The 1972 Superb Owl I remember because it featured the hated Redskins losing to the only team to run the table in a season. The Dolphins won again in 1973. That game was played in Houston but I don't remember much of it because I had met my first "girlfriend" (i.e., the first girl who let me kiss her). I should have learned a valuable lesson then: the Superb Owl is much more important than a girl.

The next game was the Steelers' first win, a 16-6 snore over the hapless Vikes. That game featured a 2-0 halftime score.

The 1975 SB pitted the Steelers and my Boys. This game started my hate of the Steelers, who won with some ridiculous catches by Lynn Swann. The Cowboys had gotten to the big game that year via the first "Hail Mary" play (knocking off the top-seeded Vikes) and blowing out the Rams. We were so excited we went to Love Field to greet the plane as it returned from LA. Hundreds of fans were there. It was kind of nuts.

Oakland got their first title next season (beating the Vikes... I see a pattern here). I don't remember their SB win (behind coach John Madden) as much as I remember an epic playoff win over Pittsburgh to get there.

Dallas got their second of five Lombardis the next season, behind rookie RB Tony Dorsett. The blowout of the Broncos was facilitated by FOUR interceptions of their QB... some loser named Craig Morton. I should have put his poster back up for that one. I was a freshman in college and watched the game in a darkened dorm lounge with a bunch of other people.

The next year I had a TV and watched in my dorm room as the dreaded Steel Curtain got lucky against my Boys. Two words: Jackie Smith.

The Steelers won another one next year against the Rams. The Rams had knocked Dallas out in Staubach's last game. Mixed emotions. With four trophies, I was sick of Pittsburgh.

The next three SBs were also tough to take... each NFC representative (Philly, SF and Washington) beat Dallas in the NFC championship to get there. SF got there via "The Catch." I recently watched a replay of that game and it was like trauma therapy... SF would go on to be another team that became reviled as a matter of course from being a Cowboys fan.

I watched the Niners beat Cincy at the home of the Williams brothers, Jeff and Al.

The next six SBs were all blowouts, terrible games. After the 1988 season the Niners beat the Bengals on a last-minute, field-long TD drive that was a great finish, but the game was a bore prior to that (3-3 at the half). Plus, bombastic Dick Enberg and blowhard Merlin Olsen called the game. Yecch. I remember this game only for the ending and a ghastly injury to Tim Krumrie.

The next SB also sucked: Sf beat Denver 55-10.

The four following SBs were all Buffalo losses. Only the first one, Wide Right, was close. Dallas was back and won the last two, so that was pretty enjoyable. Dallas finally got revenge on Pittsburgh two years after that.

The Owls in the last decade have been fairly entertaining; all of the New England games have been memorable. Their first win, I won a hundy betting on them... they were huge underdogs. Their win over Carolina was an entertaining game and featured the wardrobe malfunction at halftime. They beat the Eagles once, which was excellent, and their loss to the Giants was the Helmet Catch game that ruined the Pats' bid to go 19-0.

Today the Pats have a chance to get some revenge. I'll be watching.

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