Friday Favorites: Favorite Sporting Event Moment

It’s Friday again so thought I would share another “Friday Favorite”.  This week I thought I would share one of my favorite sporting event moments.  There’s a lot to choose from and I’m sure at some point I’ll mention more of them.  But if I had to share what my favorite moment at a sporting event that I attended, it would have to be the “Music City Miracle”.

For those that don’t know, the “Music City Miracle” was a play that happened during the NFL Wild Card Playoff Game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills.  It took place on January 8, 2000 in Nashville.  It was the first ever NFL game that I watched in person.  I was on winter break from college and I was able to get tickets.  I actually stood in line and bought them (well I stood in line inside a mall at a store that was a Ticketmaster outlet).

My dad and I went to the game and they were pretty good seats.  They were lower level near one of the end zones.  The game was fun.  It was cold (again it was January).  The Titans led most of the game.  However in the 4th quarter, the Bills made a dramatic drive down the field and were able to take the lead with a field goal with :16 seconds left.

It seemed like the playoffs were done before they really got going.  Then this play happened:

Now, my dad and I are sitting in the corner near the end zone away from this play.  If you’re looking on the TV screen, it would be the upper right corner around the 10-15 yard line or so.  So the play happens going the opposite direction for us.  What I remember from the game was this, I see the ball caught.  I see the ball thrown towards the opposite sideline.  I see player running.  The stadium gets louder and louder and when player reaches the endzone, everyone goes wild.

The longest wait was the wait for the replay.  The referee came to the area near where my dad and I were sitting.  And this was during a time when they didn’t show replays on the big screen.  But when the ref declared it was a lateral and a touchdown, the crowd erupted again.  It was the wildest thing I had ever seen and got to experience in person.  I taped the game (on VHS) and later went back to watch it and see everything as far as the camera angles and such.  On the drive home, I got to hear the radio call, which has become famous.

Probably the only way to top that experience for me would be to be at championship event and my team wins.  Besides that, this has to be my favorite sporting event experience.

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Super Bowl XLIX Preview

Football

The Super Bowl is only a few days away.  Super Bowl XLIX (or 49) is taking place in Glendale, Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.  The matchup for this year’s Super Bowl pits the New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks.  The defending champs (Seahawks) vs. the team of the 2000s (Patriots).

There are a lot of storylines going into this game, aside from deflated footballs or players not talking to the media.  Tom Brady is playing in his 6th Super Bowl, the most starts for a QB in a Super Bowl.  He’s trying to win his 4th Super Bowl which would tie Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for most Super Bowl wins.  The Patriots are trying to win their first Lombardi Trophy since 10 years ago in Jacksonville against the Philadelphia Eagles (they’ve lost their last 2 trips).

On the Seahawks side, Russell Wilson is the first QB in Super Bowl history to start in the Super Bowl in 2 out of his first 3 seasons.  Pete Carroll was the previous coach of the Patriots before Bill Belichick.  The Seahawks are trying to win back to back Lombardi Trophies and be the first team to repeat since the ’03-’04 Patriots.

It will be interesting how things will turn out on Sunday.  We have the team that was essentially the last dynasty (Patriots) verses the team that is trying to be the new dynasty (Seahawks).  Brady and Gronk vs. the Legion of Boom.  Wilson and Lynch vs. Belichick’s defense.

Like last year, when it comes to picking, it will be more with my heart than my head.  But I will say that there’s a legit defense for the head argument.  The Patriots are a really good team.  They have arguably one of the best coach/QB combos of all time.  However, this team is not one of their better Super Bowl teams, even of the recent ones.  But they are a dangerous team.  The Seahawks are the defending champs.  They had to overcome huge odds (and a horrible first half in the NFC Championship game) to get back to the Super Bowl.  They had some injuries to their defense (Thomas, Sherman) but they should be good to go for the game.

16 time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair once said “To be the man, you got to be the man.”  Right now, the Seahawks are “the man”.  And NBA championship winning coach Rudy Tomjanovich once said “Don’t ever estimate the heart of a champion.”  And right now, the Seahawks are the “champs”.  That defense and the Legion of Boom can argue (and even more so if they win) to be one of the best ever.  So I think the Seahawks will get it done and will beat the Patriots and go back to back.  Seahawks 27 Patriots 17

The Music City Miracle: 15th Anniversary

Another two post day but again there’s significance in that.  Today is January 8th.  Fifteen years ago today was the NFL AFC Wild Card Playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans.  It is a well known game for a play, the Music City Miracle.  And it happened to be the first NFL game I ever attended.

The story about me being at the game goes like this.  The 1999 season was during my Sophomore year of college at Union University.  The Titans had just changed their name and logo from the Oilers after having moved from Houston a few years prior.  And they were having a great season.  Up to that point, I had never been to an NFL game, even when the then Oilers played in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl or at Dudley Field at Vanderbilt.  And while I was in college for the most part I was in Jackson.

However, I was on winter break (Union has a January term and I wasn’t taking classes that January) so I was back home with family.  When the Titans made the playoffs, I made it a point to try and get tickets.  So when they went on sale the week before the game, I went down to the local mall (named Shady Brook Mall at the time) and went to stand in line.  The Ticketmaster outlet in the mall was a music store and they were giving people numbers prior to the start of selling tickets.  They then randomly drew a number and that person was the head of the line.  When they drew the numbers, I was fortunate to be close enough that I was able to buy 2 tickets, and they were lower level tickets to boot.

The game was on Saturday afternoon and my dad and I went up to Nashville.  We parked over at Greer Stadium, the Nashville Sounds (old) stadium and took a bus over to Adelphia Coliseum (now known as LP Field).  We made our way to our seats and found we were sitting near the end zone (I believe it’s the South end zone).  I remember we were sitting next to this big guy who talked to us throughout the game and was funny.  The stadium was loud and rocking.  The game was back and forth.  Unfortunately most of the scoring was happening on the other end of the field.

That changed late in the 4th quarter when the Bills drove down and kicked a field goal to take the lead.  For the most part, the Titans were in control and winning but that score with about :16 seconds left was tough.  Our friend who was sitting next to us left as did several others but me and my dad stayed put.  That’s something that has always stuck with me, to stay through to the end of a game.  And sure enough that paid off.

From where we were sitting we could see the kick and that Frank Wycheck, the tight end who happened to be out there on kickoff return throw across the field to Kevin Dyson, the receiver on the other end.  Then it seemed like this swarm of blockers out of nowhere started blocking as he ran on the other side of the field down the sidelines away from us into the endzone.  As he ran, the stadium got louder and louder until he reached the endzone and then it was wild.  We all then had to wait for the review to make sure it stood.  In our minds it was a lateral (wouldn’t be until later when got home and watched replays did we know there was any fuss).  The replay booth was in the corner of the sidelines near where we sat so we could see the ref run to the booth and go inside and check and then came out and announced it was a touchdown.  The stadium erupted again when the announcement was made.  The Titans would go on to win the game and would eventually get to the Super Bowl.

Fifteen years later, that is still a cool memory I have of being at that game (by the way I have proof because I still have the ticket stub from the game).  Here’s the end of the game with the TV broadcast along with a video with the Titans Radio crew:

My Visit to Busch Stadium

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Last night, I visited the “new” Busch Stadium and saw the Kansas City Royals play the St. Louis Cardinals.  That picture was the view from my seat.  I was at the game with one of my good friends from seminary and his wife.  They live about an hour east of St. Louis and he’s a huge Royals fan and she’s a converted Royals fan (she’s also a Cubs fan).  I got to spend a few days with them and that was a blessing and encouragement.

This was my first time at the “new” Busch Stadium.  My first ever MLB game was at the old Busch Stadium back on Labor Day 2002.  I had not been to a game in St. Louis since the stadium was opened in 2006.  I’ll say this, this stadium is better than the old one.  However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the stadium.  Granted, I didn’t do too much exploring on the main level as seats were upper deck.  And there was a great view from those seats.  The problem was it felt kind cramped to me and not as open.  For a newer stadium, would think there would be a little more openness.  Speaking of newer stadium, no wi-fi access.  Or better put, there were account to try to access but wouldn’t work.  For a stadium in 2014, that should be available.  And there wasn’t much food options in the upper deck, other stadiums I’ve been to have had better options, but like I said didn’t explore as much main concourse where they’re probably more options.

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As for the game itself, it was an entertaining game.  I was expecting it to be a pitchers duel between Royals ace James Shields and Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia.  But nope, turned out to be a slugfest.  Cards hit a couple of home runs, including a grand slam and a pinch hit home run.  Royals scored six runs in one inning and had a home run on their end as well.  The lead kept changing hands back and forth.  It took a run by the Royals in the top of the 9th to take the lead and the Royals’ closer Greg Holland to nail down the save in the 9th to get the win for the Royals.  It was a fun game and a great win to watch.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_06_03_kcamlb_slnmlb_1&mode=video&content_id=33410769&tcid=vpp_copy_33410769

I’ve now been to 5 MLB ballparks (Safeco Field-Seattle, Kauffman Stadium-Kansas City, Turner Field-Atlanta, Great American Ball Park-Cincinnati, Busch Stadium-St. Louis).  At some point, I hope to visit all the Major League stadiums.