The Five: Five Coolest Sporting Events Seen Live

For this edition of “The Five”, I thought I would take a look at the five coolest sporting events I got to see live.  I’m a huge sports fan across the board and there’s a lot of games I’ve been to (and places/events I still want to see.  But up to this point, here are the five (in no particular order):

1.) AFC Wild Card Game January 8, 2000 Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans

The game that became known as the “Music City Miracle”.  It was my first ever NFL game in person.  It was a big enough event in and of itself being a playoff game and it being the hometown team.  Even more so to have an epic play that propelled the Titans on a playoff run into the Super Bowl.

2.) 2000 Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final March 11, 2000 Saint Louis vs. DePaul

This was cool for several reasons.  It was the first time I got to see Division I basketball and it was a conference tournament final.  Some friends of mine from college and I drove down to Memphis to see the game in the Pyramid.  The game wasn’t as memorable as just the experience with friends.

3.) Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals May 19, 2009

This was in a lot of way just a typical MLB regular season game but the circumstances behind the game and in the game make it memorable to me.  Earlier that month at seminary, there was a chapel that involved the manager at the time of the Kansas City Royals and the general manager.  There were some giveaways at that chapel and that included tickets to a game.  Well one of my friends ended up getting a four pack of tickets and asked some guy including me to go.  So this was the game the tickets were for.  The seats were lower level kinda near home plate not too far from the players’ families section.  During batting practice I ended up with a baseball and would later get it signed by the manager.  Then the game itself, the Royals were down three runs in the bottom of the 9th and scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth (including two back to back home runs, a walk, a triple and a sac fly) to win the game 6-5.

4.) Houston Texans vs Seattle Seahawks October 16, 2005

This was my first primetime NFL game that I got to see in person.  It was cool to see the Seahawks play in person during their first Super Bowl run.  I had gotten tickets from a friend of mine and was able to sit lower level right in the end zone where I got to see a lot of scores from the Seahawks

5.) Memphis Grizzlies vs Seattle Supersonics December 31, 2005

This was a great game not just because it was two of my favorite teams playing each other but it was also New Year’s Eve and after the game got to watch fireworks to ring in the new year at the Space Needle.

So that’s my five (for now).  What would be yours?

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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: