Tag Archives: Super Bowl

R.I.P., the great Don Shula

Don Shula has died at the age of 90.

He was a great National Football League coach. He led the Miami Dolphins to the only undefeated season in NFL history, coaching them to a 14-7 victory in the 1973 Super Bowl over the Washington Redskins. He would coach the Dolphins to a second straight Super Bowl victory the following year.

Now, I want to offer this little tidbit that has been lost as the pro football world has long saluted the greatness of Don Shula. I do not mean to disparage him.

But …

Don Shula also coached the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl, the third such game pitting the NFL champs against the American Football League champs.

The Colts lost that game, 16-7, to the New York Jets, the team quarterbacked by that brash youngster Joe Namath who reportedly “guaranteed” that the Jets would beat the Colts and elevate the AFL to parity with the more established NFL.

I don’t recall whether the Colts were outcoached, or whether the Jets simply outplayed them.

Still, that one history-making loss did not do a single thing to diminish the great record — the winningest record in NFL history — that became the hallmark of Don Shula’s fabulous career.

R.I.P., Coach.

Oops, the Chiefs play in, um, Missouri

To borrow a word … oops!

Someone forgot to tell the current president of the United States that the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs play their football in Missouri, which is across the Missouri River from the city in Kansas that shares the same name.

I am not going to beat up in Donald John Trump too badly over this gaffe, although I likely should.

Hey, the president has told us more often than many of us can count how smart, erudite, worldly he is. He calls himself a “very stable genius.”

It’s just that someone as smart as the president claims to be should know where the professional football champions do their blocking and tackling.

 

Look for big Texas connection to Chiefs’ big win

I am going out just a bit on a limb here, but I am betting that the Texas media are going to find every possible connection between this state and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Super Bowl LIV.

The Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in a thriller. The score was 31-20, but the game was a barn burner.

The Texas connection? Well, let’s see.

  • Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was born in Tyler, Texas, in the eastern part of the state. He attended Texas Tech University in the western part of Texas. It’s been noted that football-mad Texas now can claim that a pure Texas product has won the biggest pro football game of the year.
  •  The Chiefs were born as the Dallas Texans. A Dallas businessman, Lamar Hunt, created the Texans and joined them with the American Football League. They moved to KC in 1963, changed their name to the Chiefs and won the 1970 Super Bowl against the Minnesota Vikings.
  •  Clark Hunt, son of the late Chiefs founder, is the current owner of the team. Clark Hunt was 4 years old when the Chiefs won their first Super Bowl. He still lives in Dallas.

Do you get where I’m going with this?

Sure, the team plays its home games in far-off Kansas City, Mo. A lot of football fans here in Texas, though, won’t let the Chiefs and their fans know about this team’s roots.

Milking the D/FW connection for all it’s worth

I cannot help but chuckle at the Dallas-Fort Worth media’s concentration on a certain aspect of the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs, who are heading to the next Super Bowl next month in Miami.

It’s the Dallas connection that gives me a giggle or two.

The Chiefs came into being in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. Then the owner of the franchise moved the team to Kansas City, where they became the Chiefs. The owner was Lamar Hunt, a young Dallas business mogul. He went on to build the Chiefs into an American Football League powerhouse.

The Hunt family has retained its Dallas roots. Lamar Hunt is now deceased. His son, Clark, runs the Chiefs. Clark Hunt still lives in Dallas.

The media are all over the Dallas connection and keep reminding viewers and readers that the Chiefs are actually direct descendants of the team that was born in Dallas but gravitated a bit north nearly 60 years ago.

It’s OK. You have to look for ways to retain interest among viewers and readers. The media here are doing their level best in that regard.

So cool to see the KC Chiefs return to the Big Game … 50 years later!

Allow me this moment of pro football joy, given that I don’t really follow the professional game as I used to do when I was a kid.

The Kansas City Chiefs are heading back to the Super Bowl, a game they have played twice. The lost the first one. They won their second game.

Here’s the deal: The first game occurred in 1967 against the Green Bay Packers, who won that contest 35-10 in the very first championship game that didn’t even have the name “Super Bowl” yet attached to it; the Chiefs’ second appearance was in 1970 against the Minnesota Vikings, which the Chiefs won 23-7.

Let’s see. That’s 50 years between that second appearance the game they are going to play soon in Miami against either the Packers or the San Francisco 49ers.

You might know already that I am a diehard American Football Conference fan, particularly of those teams that merged in 1970 with the National Football League. The Chiefs were among those former AFL franchises to join the rival NFL.

So … here we go. Now that you know about my AFC preference, I supposed you can presume — correctly, I should add — that I don’t have a favorite for whom the Chiefs should play in the next Super Bowl. I say that with reluctance, given that I have a very close family member who lives just south of SF Bay and is an avid 49ers fan. Too bad, sis. We all have our bias.

I believe 50 years is more than enough time to lapse between winning the Super Bowl trophy, which now carries the name of the late Vince Lombardi, the legendary Packers coach who, I hasten to add, led the Pack to that initial AFL-NFL championship victory over those long-ago Kansas City Chiefs.

The here and now is upon us. I am delighted to see the Chiefs set to play for the championship of the NFL.

Hoping the KC Chiefs bring home Lombardi Trophy

I have a clear favorite among the eight teams still vying for a chance to play in the Super Bowl next month in Miami.

It is the Kansas City Chiefs. Why the Chiefs? Here we go.

I am a longtime fan of the former American Football League. The Chiefs came into being as the Dallas Texans, one of the charter franchises in the AFL in 1960. The Texans packed up and moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs.

With that all said, I will now ignore the National Football Conference playoff lineup. I don’t care about any of the teams in that “other” conference.

The Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans are the two original AFL franchises still in the hunt. However, I remain profoundly angry that Bud Adams, the owner of the Houston Oilers, decided to move his team to Nashville because Houston wouldn’t build a stadium with luxury boxes. Hey, the Oilers played in the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome. That shoulda been good enough for the Oilers. It wasn’t. Adams got greedy and bolted for Grand Ol’ Opryland.

The Baltimore Ravens? Pfftt! They once were the Cleveland Browns, one of three old NFL teams that moved into the AFC when the AFL and the NFL merged in 1970.

The fourth AFC team is the Houston Texans. That franchise is new to the NFL, having been created after the Oilers left the Bayou City. They don’t count, either.

In all my years watching the Super Bowl, I have rooted for one NFC team to win the Lombardi Trophy. That would be the New Orleans Saints in 2010. They beat the Indianapolis Colts. Two factors came into play for that Super Bowl. First, New Orleans needed a lift after the 2005 devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina. Second, the Colts have no AFL history, as they were among the NFL teams moved into the AFC when the leagues merged; the third team to join the AFC, by the way, was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chiefs played in the very first Super Bowl, losing 35-10 to the Green Bay Packers in 1967. Then they came back in 1970 to beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, pummeling the heavily favored NFL rep 23-7. That was the final Super Bowl before the leagues merged.

It’s been 50 years since the Chiefs played for the pro football championship. It’s their time … I hope.

Let the football gurus rebuild the team, Mr. Franchise Owner

I am going to delve into a subject about which I know nothing … which is no surprise, I guess, to critics of High Plains Blogger.

Still, here goes my foray into what I think is best for a pro football franchise that is the talk of the region where my wife and I now reside.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones needs to give up his stint as the team’s general manager. He should hire a competent, knowledgeable football guru to make drafting decisions, make coaching staff hiring choices, run the day to day operations of arguably the most valuable pro sports franchise on Earth.

I get that it’s his team. He spent zillions to buy the Cowboys back in 1989. He fired the team’s only coach, the legendary Tom Landry. He said something at the time about getting involved with every aspect of the team, including “washing jock straps,” or some such nonsense.

The owner anointed himself the team’s GM.

To be fair, the Cowboys have won three Super Bowls since Jones bought the team. However, they’ve gone 25 years since playing in the last one. The team is struggling again this season. The coach, Jason Garrett, is likely to hit the road once the final game ends this weekend.

I happen to agree with WFAA-TV sports commentator Dale Hansen, who said this morning that the owner’s meddling in matters about which he knows not a thing is what is fundamentally wrong with the Cowboys.

Hey, he’s entitled to be the owner. It’s his money. However, he is feeding a bloated ego by being in the news constantly.

I prefer sports owners to be silent. Let them pay the salaries. Let them run the board meetings. They can make command decisions, but then have their flacks make the announcements.

Would the Cowboys’ owner fire himself … please?

I’ve seen and heard enough from the Cowboys’ owner and the guessing games about what he intends to do to fix the team. Just walk away from the GM job, Mr. Owner, and hire someone who knows how to run a pro football team.

NFL wants to slow the game down even more?

One play in a key playoff game . . . and the National Football League goes ballistic!

The NFL has decided to introduce the option of reviewing pass interference calls on the field, in real time, moments after the fact. It’s going to be a one-year trial period.

Call me old-fashioned, but this is a ridiculous idea!

OK, I get that the play in question occurred during a National Football Conference championship game this past season. The Los Angeles Rams won the right to play in the Super Bowl largely on a missed pass interference call in a game versus the New Orleans Saints. The Rams should have been penalized; they weren’t. The Saints lost the chance to win the game and play in the league championship contest against the New England Patriots.

Now the NFL wants to prevent future injustices from occurring on the field? Please. The NFL already allows for reviews of calls involving touchdowns, pass receptions, first downs, those kinds of things. Pass interference calls are considered “judgment calls” that until now had been left for the official to make on the spot.

May I now declare that I detest instant replay? I do. It slows the game down. It disrupts the flow. It robs players of the momentum they might have. I don’t like it any of the major sports where this technology is deployed. Not in baseball or basketball, either.

I know what you might be thinking: This is the same clown — me! — who endorses the use of red-light cameras to deter lawbreakers from running through stop lights at intersections. That’s different. We’re talking about public safety. Thus, I want the cops to have technological assistance to help them do their job to “protect and serve” the public.

Professional athletic events are performed and controlled by fallible human beings. Of all the calls NFL officials make during the course of a game, they get the overwhelming amount of them right. Overwhelming!

I get that they missed a big call in one of the biggest games in anyone’s memory. New Orleans Saints fans are still steamed over it. They’ll never get over the theft that occurred that day late in a playoff game. I’m sorry for them.

But the sun still rose the next morning. Life went on. No one was physically damaged. Sure, a lot of emotions suffered harm.

Hey, it’s a game! Let the players play it and the officials officiate it!

Any questions?

Take it away, Tony Romo!

There is, as they say, a first time for everything.

So, for the first time in my life I am looking forward to a major sporting event not so much for the competition on the field, but for the announcing that will come from the broadcast booth.

Yep, it’s true. I have no particular interest in the Super Bowl LIII matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. I do have an interest in hearing the real-time game analysis by Tony Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who has become a media superstar.

I was among the millions of Americans who became enthralled with Romo’s expertise while calling the Patriots’ AFC championship game victory over the Kansas City Chiefs a couple of Sundays ago. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious. His knowledge of the game, quite naturally, was stellar.

Moreover, his ability to predict what the Patriots or the Chiefs would do on the next play was utterly astonishing!

I expect fully to hear Romo bring all of that into the booth this coming Sunday when he provides color commentary for the Patriots-Rams showdown. I also heard it said that he makes Jim Nantz, the play-by-play announcer with whom Romo will be teamed for SB LIII, even better at his job.

Let me be clear about something. I have been a longtime AFC supporter. Only one time have I rooted for the NFC team over the AFC team in the Super Bowl. It was in 2010 when the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts.

Yeah, I’ll root quietly for the Pats to beat the Rams. I’ll likely provide golf claps if the Patriots pull off big plays.

But my interest in the big game centers mostly on hearing Tony Romo, who never excited me much as a QB for the so-called “America’s Team.” I say that even though I now live in the heart of Cowboys Country.

But, man, the boy knows how to bring a pro football game to life with his commentary!

Not getting too worked up over this missed call

I have to stipulate up front that I might feel differently if I lived in the city that is home to a pro football team that got the shaft in the biggest game of the year . . . to date.

I don’t, so I’m not going to get all that lathered up over what happened this past weekend to the New Orleans Saints in their NFC championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.

You know what I’m talking about.

The Saints were marching down the field. NOLA Quarterback Drew Brees took the snap at the Rams’ 13-yard line and threw a pass to TommyLee Lewis; Rams safety Nickell Roby-Colman mugged Lewis while the receiver tried to catch the ball. The official didn’t call pass interference or the helmet-to-helmet hit that occurred. The pass fell incomplete. The score was 20-20 at the time. Both teams kicked field goals in regulation, but the Rams won it in overtime. Had the field judge called the play correctly, the Saints could have scored to go ahead in the final seconds and won the game, yes?

I have listened to extensive commentary on this mess. Yes, it’s a mess. One official committed a disastrous non-call on what looked to the entire football game-watching world like pass interference. Some sports pundits talked on NPR about theories of conspiracy, the possibility that the “fix was in.” Sheesh!

Why not get too worked up?

Because the official is a fallible human being, just like all the rest of us. Fallible creatures make mistakes. That’s how it goes, man.

Look, I’m not even a fan of instant replay, or “official review” of these calls. I don’t hate them the way I hate the designated hitter in pro baseball, but I just wish we could rely on human beings to make the best calls they can in the heat of competition.

Besides, when you consider all the calls these folks make during the course of a 60-minute professional football game, I remain mightily impressed with the overwhelming number of correct decisions they make.

Would I feel differently if I lived in New Orleans and saw this play? Would I spit my gumbo out if I watched the official fail to make the obvious call?

That’s a hypothetical question, but yeah, I probably would go ballistic. However, I have no particular interest in the NFC championship game, other than wanting the Saints to win. They lost.

Besides, if the Saints were the better team that day in the Superdome, they should have put the game away in front of the raucous Big Easy crowd.

Now, let’s just get ready for the Super Bowl.