Before I begin my rant for today, I would like to thank all of the people at www.hotfootblog.com for expressing so much interest in my list of Worst Broadcasters of All-Time. A note, I was going to put in Joe Morgan, but felt I owed it to the Hockey Community to put someone in.
So now I start another Top 10. Today, we’ll take a look at the most overplayed moments in sports history. So you’re at home, watching SportsCenter, just when they show Lynn Swan’s miracle catch. You scream at your 3 Year Old son, “NOT AGAIN!”, and throw your TV Dinner at your brand new 52′ Sony Bravia. Just kidding, but you get the point. Not all the time is it a bad thing that something is overplayed, however, as you will see here in a few moments most of the time it will make one want to roll there eyes until their sockets turn red. Let’s take a look now at some of those moments:
10. Music City Miracle-Here’s the situation. The Buffalo Bills are beating the Tennessee Titans 16-15 near the end of regulation in the 2000 AFC Wild Card Game. The Kickoff is the only play there is enough time left for. Bill’s Kicker Steve Christie takes the Kick all the way to Titan’s FB Lorenzo Neal, who hands it off to TE Frank Wycheck. Then the most controversial part occurs. The ball is lateraled to WR Kevin Dyson, who runs it in for the game winning score. The announcers sit and overanalyze the play, while the refs take hours (not really) to make a decision. It is ruled a touchdown, despite Instant Reply likely proving otherwise, and the broadcasters go more nuts than the crowd. Thank you NFL Referee Efficiency.
9. Steve Bartman-I must have seen this footage so many times, I could take an Etch A Sketch and draw Moises Alou’s reaction, as he pointed up a hand while staring at the umpire. He was trying to convince him it was fan interference, and that the play should be ruled as an out. Too bad it’s only fan interference if the ball is in FAIR TERRITORY. We all remember the look of Bartman’s face, headphones and all, as he stares thinking back at what he just did. This moment makes me sick, as many people forget Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez made a crucial error on one of the easiest groundballs you could ever face. Lay-off Bartman, he was entitled to that ball just as much as Alou was.
8. Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary-”He did it! He did it! Flutie did it!” Those are words that as much as I would like to get them out of my head, just can’t. Don’t get me wrong, the pass was unbelievable. It was an incredible catch on that November day, but we’ve seen it enough. Yes we know it established Doug Flutie as one of the greatest college football players of all-time. Yes we know that it made his name a mainstay in all of sports history. But what did it do for his professional career? It established him as the NFL greatest backup for sure, but not as an elite player. Nevertheless, it is one of the most improbable plays in sports history.
7. Miracle on Ice-We all know the line. “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” It may possibly be the most famous moment in U.S. Sports history. And is it bad that it’s overplayed? Absolutely not. It was the Semi-Finals of the 1980 Winter Olympics, right here in the United States. The United States pulls off an improbable, check that implausible, victory against the power house Soviet Union. We all recall Captain Mike Eruzione being trampled by his teammates, and the late Herb Brooks attempting to hold in his emotion. Although the game was actually shown in tape delay, it didn’t take long for a new sense of nationalism to take it’s effect on the United States. American Flags were seen everywhere, and everyone still remembers where they were when the United States beat the Soviets. In my mind, there is nothing wrong with me seeing this anytime I turn on my TV.
6. Bill Buckner-This is another moment I can’t get enough of, although I’m sure Bostonians can. All Mets fans rejoice with me here. “It gets through Buckner!” The Red Sox were 1 strike away from the 1986 World Series title. I can distinctively make out the look on Clemens’ face prior to the play, just so happy he was about to win his first world series. Sorry Rahgah (Thanks Suzyn Waldman), but you would have to wait another 13 years. The ball went right through Bill Buckner’s legs, setting up the Mets to complete the World Series win in Game 7. Bill walked off the field, and out of Boston, and didn’t even return until this season.
5. Willie Mays’ Catch-I love this catch. I am just tired of seeing it so many times. It is widely regarded as one of the best plays in sports history, as not only did Mays make an Illusion-like catch, but he spun around and made a spectacular throw home. In our current day, we have seen better catches (Jim Edmonds’ no look dive, David Tyree, etc.), but none of them will eclipse this. The fact is that this is one of the first “Web Gems” ever caught on tape. Being from 1954, it gave people more than 50 years to enjoy its beauty. It brings up the question if we will still remember this 50 years from now. At the rate it’s being produced on TV Screens though, it would not suprise me one bit.
4. Kirk Gibson Goes Deep-”I don’t believe, what I just saw!” When you’ve seen the clip over 500 times, you begin to believe what you saw actually happened. Kirk Gibson, who barely was able to walk to the plate to make his pinch hit at-bat in the 1988 World Series, hit one of the most prolific home runs in baseball history off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Everyone remembers his little fist pump as he rounded the bases, so we don’t need to keep seeing it. Unfortunately, we have reminders such as the Wheaties commercial from a few years back that won’t let us get it out of our heads. Next time I do a fist pump, it will be an attempt at punching this clip back to 1988.
3. The Shot Heard Around the World-With this clip comes what is possibly the most famous call in sports history. “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” These were the words as Giants player Bobby Thomson hit the pennant winning home run to left off Dodger’s pitcher Ralph Branca. I used to love watching this whenever I got a chance. However, how can you honestly enjoy watching it when all you hear is allegations of the Giants stealing signs from the Dodgers? Regardless of what they did, the play is one of the most memorable moments in New York Sports history. Next time you see this, try not to think about what might have happened, and start remembering what did happen.
2. The Immaculate Reception-As I watched SportsCenter last night, it just so happened that they were considering Pittsburgh for Titletown, USA. Just when I was getting interested, I saw the extreme close-up of Franco Harris that I have seen way too many times. Franco catches the ball just before it hits the ground, and runs it back as the Steelers move on to the AFC Championship Game. That was 1972. Yes it is a fantastic catch. Yes it is the play that defined Franco Harris as a pro football player. But the fact is that people don’t even know if it was legal. If the ball hit the Steelers receiver before it was caught by Harris, it would be illegal. At that time, a catch could not be touched by 2 offensive players. The debate will roll on for generations, proving this play as legendary. Sometimes though, too much debate is not good. That is the case here.
Before I reveal Number 1, let’s touch some plays that just missed this list:
- Michael Jordan’s “Bulls Win!”
- Babe Ruth’s Called Shot
- Buffalo Sabres “No Goal!”
- Hank Aaron’s 715
- Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” Speech
- Mike Tyson’s Ear Bite
- Lynn Swan’s Catch
- Several More
And the Number 1 Most Overplayed Moment in Sports history is…
1. The Play-Here’s the situation. Future Hall of Fame Quaterback John Elway has just led Stanford down the field to take a 20-19 lead off a field goal against arch rival California. However, 8 seconds remained on the clock. The Golden Bears had no time to call a play after the ensuing kickoff, so it would be necessary to return it all the way. California was also down a man on the field, only having 10 do to a confused substitution. They received the kickoff as a squib at about their own 45 yard line. After a quick lateral to Cal’s Dwight Garner, he was quikly swallowed up by Stanford attackers. Just before his knee hit the ground, he tossed it cross-field to Richard Rodgers. Thinking Garner was down, the Stanford Student Band rushed the endzone. However, the play continued, and the rest is history. Kevin Moen took the final lateral into the end zone, crashing into a Stanford Band Member. Everyone remembers Joe Starkley’s famous words. Here they are in their entirety.
“All right, here we go with the kickoff. Harmon will probably try to squib it and he does. The ball comes loose and the Bears have to get out of bounds. Rodgers is along the sideline, another one (lateral)… they’re still in deep trouble at midfield, they tried to do a couple of (laterals)… the ball is still loose as they get it to Rodgers! They get it back now to the 30, they’re down to the 20… Oh, the band is out on the field!! He’s gonna go into the end zone! He’s gone into the end zone!! Will it count? The Bears have scored, but the bands are out on the field! There were flags all over the place. Wait and see what happens—we don’t know who won the game. There are flags on the field. We have to see whether or not the flags are against Stanford or Cal. The Bears may have made some illegal laterals. It could be that it won’t count. The Bears, believe it or not, took it all the way into the end zone. If the penalty is against Stanford, California would win the game. If it is not, the game is over and Stanford has won. We’ve heard no decision yet. Everybody is milling around on the FIELD—AND THE BEARS!! THE BEARS HAVE WON! The Bears have won! Oh, my God! The most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart-rending… exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football! California has won the Big Game over Stanford! Oh, excuse me for my voice, but I have never, never seen anything like it in the history of I have ever seen any game in my life! The Bears have won it! There will be no extra point!”
So there you have it, my view on the most overplayed moments in sports history. Do you agree? Disagree? Comment or respond!