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1980 AFC Final
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

With all due respect to the Air Coryell Chargers, they weren’t a complete all around great football team. They had a great offensive minded head coach in Don Coryell. They had a Hall of Fame quarterback in Dan Fouts and a great passing game as a result. With great receivers, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joyner, John Jefferson and perhaps a few others. And they had a pretty good running game with Chuck Muncie. This was a team in the late 1970s, through 1987, which was Dan Fouts last season, that scored a lot of points and gained a lot of yards. But gave up almost as many points and yards as they gained. Great teams don’t do that. If they have a great offense, they at least have a good defense to go with it. So they aren’t winning and losing a lot of shootouts. But winning a lot of blowouts. The San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s are a great example of that.

The 1980 Raiders, were a great team, at least in the second half of the season and through the playoffs, including the Super Bowl. Because they could score a lot of points and gain a lot of yards. Both passing and running, but their defense shut teams down. They shut good offenses down, like the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 15. And this first quarter is a great example of that. The Raiders scored 21 points, the Chargers scored a touchdown. But the difference being the Raiders were able to shut down the Chargers in that quarter, even though the Chargers did score a touchdown. And the Chargers, give up three touchdowns in that quarter.

The Raiders, simply matched up very well with the Chargers that season. The Chargers had the great passing game, but the Raiders had a great pass rush and great secondary. They were big and quick on defense and caused a lot problems for the Chargers offense. And the Raiders had a balanced offense and with the Chargers being prone to giving up a lot of yards both from the pass and run, meant the Raiders could move the ball and score and get the ball back. Which created separation on the scoreboard. Super Bowl teams, aren’t great on one side of the ball and weak on the other. Even if their strength is on one side of the ball, they’re good enough on the other side to complement their strengths. Which gives them a good team. That was the difference between the Raiders and Chargers in this game.

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you look at the two teams in this game and their personal and the two coaching staffs, led by Tom Landry and Chuck Knoll respectfully and how great both teams were in 1978 and the fact that this game decided who would be the NFL franchise of the 1970s, the Cowboys or Steelers, this is the best Super Bowl at least of the first thirteen, of all-time. I still believe it is the best Super Bowl of all-time, especially if you look at the two teams involved and how they played in this game. The second Cowboys-Steelers Super Bowl and the second Super Bowl that they played against each other that went down to the last possession of the game. That is how close both teams were and how well they played against each other.

This Super Bowl was so good as far as how they game was played, it was almost like an all-star game. If you look at the talent of both clubs. Each team with a Hall of Fame head coach. Hall of Fame quarterbacks for both teams. The Steelers starting two Hall of Fame receivers in John Stallworth and Lynn Swann. The Cowboys with two Pro Bowl receivers in Drew Pearson and Tony Hill. Pearson, at least should be in the Hall of Fame. Two of the top three tailbacks in the league at the time and who are both in the Hall of Fame. Franco Harris, with the Steelers and Tony Dorsett with the Cowboys. And that is before I get to the Steel Curtain Defense of the Steelers and the Doomsday Defense of the Cowboys.

The Super Bowl, is supposed to be the game between the two best teams in the NFL. It is called the Super Bowl for a very good reason. It’s supposed to be a great game between two great teams. The first twelve Super Bowls were blowouts for the most part. The Cowboys won two of those blowouts. This wasn’t the first real Super Bowl. Super Bowl 10, again between the Cowboys and Steelers was also a real Super Bowl. Super Bowl 7 between the Dolphins and Redskins was also a good game. But Super Bowl’s 10 and 13, were exactly that. They were true Super Bowl’s and the only two of the first thirteen. And again, if you look at both teams and how they played in this game and it went down to the last possession of the game, this game is the best Super Bowl ever.
Super Bowl 13

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Super Bowl 11
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I can’t think of two head coaches that are more different from each other than Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs. But they did have one thing in common when it came to coaching in the NFL that served them both very well. And a big reason why they are both in the Hall of Fame. They both believed and focused with their coaching that the way you win NFL games is at the line of scrimmage. You win games by running the football well and stopping the other team’s run. You protect your quarterback and attack the other quarterback. You come up with a couple of takeaways and protect the football. If you do these things well, you’ll win a lot more than you lose. And if you look at the Giants and Redskins of the 1980s they were both very strong upfront on both sides of the ball with good quarterbacks.

I only mention this because that is how this Super Bowl was one. The Raiders didn’t just dominate the Vikings in this game. But they dominated them better than anyone else previously in the Super Bowl. They ran the ball down the Vikings throat in this game. Viking Pro Bowl and I believe Hall of Fame defensive end Jim Marshall, was completely shut out in this game. By Raiders offensive tackle Art Shell, arguably the best offensive tackle of all-time. If he isn’t, I sure as hell would like to know who is. The Vikings didn’t run the ball worth a damn in this game. Their Pro Bowl running back Chuck Forman got most of his yards receiving in this game. The Raiders, hit Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton the whole game. And the Vikings defense, spent most of their time trying to get close to Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler.

When you control the line of scrimmage, the whole world opens up to you. You can run whenever you want or need to. And because of that the defense is always concern about the run. They have to be, otherwise they’ll never get off the field. And because of this you can throw the ball whenever you want to and generally looking at man coverage. And when your receivers are Cliff Branch, Fred Biletnikoff and Dave Casper, man to man coverage all day for the defense is asking a lot. The Raiders simply went at the Vikings the whole game. The Vikings being a real quick, but undersized defense, can only stop that for so long until they start breaking. Especially when their offense is not producing and that is how this game was won.

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Air Jordan & Magic Johnson
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, Magic vs. Air Jordan, James Worthy vs. Scottie Pippen and I could go on. But this is perhaps the one NBA Finals matchup that every NBA fan wanted to see in 1991. The team of the 1980s and perhaps of all-time, the Los Angeles Lakers, with the player of the 1980s and perhaps of all-time in Earvin Magic Johnson. Vs. who would become the team of the 1990s, with the player of the 1990s and perhaps the player of all-time in Michael Air Jordan. Not every year and perhaps every decade that the NBA produces Super Bowl caliber matchup’s in their championship series. But 1991 was certainly that and had James Worthy and Byron Scott been healthy for the Lakers in this series, we are easily talking about one of the greatest NBA Finals matchup’s of all-time, that would’ve made it back to Chicago for at least game 6, if not game 7 as well.

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1958 NFL Championship
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Journal

Was the 1958 NFL Championship game the best game ever played, well if you look at the 5-6 turnovers in that game and both teams getting in the red zone and not scoring and other mistakes like that of course not. The 1967 NFC Championship between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Back Packers especially if you consider the weather conditions and where the game was played in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was a much better played game.

But the Cowboys and Packers still manages to play very well in that game. Even though it was played under those conditions. And the Hall of Fame head coaches Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi coaching that game and all the Hall of Fame players that played in that game. Cowboys DT Bob Lilly, WR Bob Hayes, CB Mell Renfro. For the Packers QB Bob Starr, OT Forrest Gregg, OG Jerry Kramer, DE Willy Davis, LB Ray Nitchke and others. I believe thats the greatest game ever played as far as the quality of the game.

And that’s different from the most important game ever played. Because the 1958 NFL Championship had more to do with the future of the NFL as well as pro football. It made it easier to form the American Football League because of the attention that the 58 NFL Championship got, because now it was clear that there was room in America for more than twelve Pro football franchises, that were all in the NFL. And the NFL wasn’t looking to expand, but instead consolidate the revenue that it had.

The NFL had just survived the Korean War where it lost players to that war, World War II obviously same thing the Great Depression and somehow survived financially from that and came out better and on top from where it was before. What makes the 1958 NFL Championship and yes it was a very well-played game and even a great game to watch as far as how entertaining it was, was for one it was the most important game ever played. You’re talking about the two best teams in pro football playing for the NFL Championship in New York at Yankee Stadium in front of a live national televised audience, with two great football teams that had great coaching.

For the Baltimore Colts coached by Weeb Ewbank who’s in the Hall of Fame. For the New York Giants, forget about their head coach Jim Lee Howell and (I know with a name like Jim Lee Howell how can you forget that name) but you got Vince Lombardi as the offensive coordinator and Tom Landry as the defensive coordinator. As they say in Brooklyn, forget about it! That’s all you need to know about the Giants coaching staff.

And then you Hall of Famers for the Colts like QB John Unitas the greatest ever, RB Len More, RB Alan Ameche who scored the winning TD in the game, OT Jim Parker maybe the greatest OT of all time. WR Ray Berry one of the greatest possession WR of all time. DE Gino Marchetti maybe the greatest DE of all time, CB Johnny Sample and many others. The 1958 Giants as far as Hall of Famers, on offense RB Frank Gifford, on defense DT Andy Robostelli, DT Rosey Greer, MLB Sam Huff.

These are three of the greatest defenders of all-time and they had the best defense in the NFL as well and scored enough points to win. With Frank Gifford, FB Alex Webster, WR Tobin Rote and QB Charlie Connerly who could both run and pass and do them well. Anytime you get a matchup like that, under those conditions in a championship final on network TV and radio with all the major newspapers covering the game, you got something special, the NFL at this point was a major sports league.

But Major League Baseball was still number one and college football was probably number two as far as team sports. But this game set the stage because of the audience it drew, still one of the highest rated programs and intended games in pro sports history, for the NFL by the early 1970s to be the dominant sports league in America if not the world.

What the 1958 NFL Championship Final did, was set the stage for the NFL and the AFL to become the number one sports league in America because of the teams that played it, the players that played in it, how well they played. And of course the audience it drew, because now America could see how great of a sport pro football was and decided they wanted to see a lot more of it.
NFL: NFL 1958-The Greatest Game Ever Played- 1958 NFL Championship-Baltimore Colts @ New York Giants

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1971 Orioles
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat

The Orioles blew great opportunities to put together a real dynasty in the 1970s and become the MLB team of the 1970s. Yes, they won two World Series from 1966-71 and won three American League Championships and four AL Eastern Championships from 1966-73. They could easily have accomplished so much more but instead they lost the 1969 World Series to the New York Mets, an inferior team even with their great pitching. They then did not play up to their capabilities against the Pirates in the 1971 World Series.

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Playing an all-star baseball game at a football stadium. The Kingdome despite being fairly close to the action for baseball and a very loud stadium for both baseball and football, was basically a football stadium, because of its size, sixty-five thousand seats for football. And in the high fifty-thousands for baseball, but this was a great game. Where Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Dave Parker who was a five- tool player up until the mid 1980s, throws out a baserunner from the outfield wall unassisted. Perhaps the best defensive play in MLB All Star game history.

For all the talk about this game being a slugfest with the lineups that both teams had and the stadium they were playing at, this game could’ve been played at Shea Stadium in New York, or Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City. Because this was a pitchers duel with the Americans beating the Nationals 3-2. Goes to show you that great pitching, especially when that great pitching throws hard with control, will beat great hitting. Especially if those great hitters are expecting a big game because of the ballpark that they are playing at.
Nolan Ryan Pitching During All-Star Baseball Game

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