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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: The Sunday Spotlight

For weeks I published the Sunday Spotlight once the 2007-2008 NFL season had ended. I had promised to deliver one Sunday Spotlight every Sunday until the games began again. This did not happen.

Instead, I published a mere eight of the football inspired posts. That’s kind of disappointing, but hey, I don’t see you out there writing about football.

Well, the 2008 NFL season has started, albeit just the preseason. Nevertheless, this is the last of the Sunday Spotlights for the time being. Like Brett Favre, it is time to retire. And, also like Favre, they will likely return next year, even if some people don’t want the Sunday Spotlight hanging around, and getting in Aaron Rodgers’ way.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: IAFL Update

Well, it seems I got a lot of support from members within the Irish American Football League concerning my original post about them awhile back. A couple of people even posted a link to my web log to some threads concerning the IAFL, including Coach Al from the Dublin Dragons, an IAFL developmental team, who referred to my post as a “little history lesson”. Thanks for the support, guys.

As for that big game between the Dublin Rebels and the Cork Admirals? The Admirals won, 6-0 on a 70 yard pass from David Lomasney to Matteo Spada. Just for the record, “Matteo Spada” doesn’t sound like a very Irish name, now does it? (Or is it actually more Irish because it’s Gaelic? I don’t really know anything about that language, but if that’s the case, then why isn’t he playing Gaelic Football?) In any case, Dublin Rebels, you might want to look into this guy’s background and see if you can’t get him deported… Maybe to Estonia. That’ll show him.

Despite this win, the Admirals do not have a perfect record. They have lost twice to those damned University of Limerick Vikings. Fucking Vikings! And those dudes are undefeated. But is their dominance unquestioned throughout the Irish sub-sub-continent? Nay! For they have yet to play the Dublin Rebels this year. But best believe that on June 22nd, these two foes shall meet in what is being dubbed by many (starting now) to be Shamrock Bowl 21-and-a-half. Boo yeah!

Who will emerge victorious and, therefore, the favorite to take home the title August 10th at Shamrock Bowl XXII? It’s a tough call, though the Vikings will have homefield advantage, but the Rebels have been known to bring books of haikus to offset the power of the Limerick. I’m saying this one’s too close to call.

In other news, I am going to go ahead and mark my full endorsement on the DV8 team the Dublin Dragons based on Coach Al’s support, despite the fact that they are only 2-4. Keep working hard, boys, and climb that figurative mountain of football destiny!

I’ll likely make a Shamrock Bowl XXII pregame analysis and prediction post on August 9th, but until then, keep yourself updated with the IAFL’s official website.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: The Devil and Randy Moss

[Author’s note: With apologies to Washington Irving.]

Randy Moss is maybe the most talented receiver to ever catch a football. I say “maybe” because there’s good reason to believe that Jerry Rice is the most talented. Regardless of who has more talent, Rice will always be remembered as the greatest receiver in the history of football, because he successfully combined his talent with practice and a tireless work ethic to fully realize his potential.

Could Randy Moss have been just as great, or greater than Jerry Rice, if only Moss had worked harder during his career to develop his superfluous talent? I dunno, but this edition of the Sunday Spotlight isn’t really about where Randy Moss sits on the list of greatest receivers ever. This is about the curse.

See, ‘long time ago in Kanawha County, West Virginia, a young boy was playin’ some foosball with his friends. Problem was, he just wadn’t no good at them there games. This boy’d try and try ta get better, but he jus’ wouldn’t get none better. An’ then he tried his hand at the basketball instead, and jus’ the same, the boy wadn’t no better at that than the foosball. Baseball, track, hockey… Well, espessally hockey – the boy jus’ dun like hockey none, but he’d figure he’d try the skates on for size, jus’ in case he was any good at handlin’ that there stick.

But it can get powerful hot in Kanawha County, if one knows what he’s lookin’ fer. That boy heard his friends a talkin’ that the devil lives out in them thar woods, in the hills ‘tween Rand an’ Coal Fork. Yep, an’ they says to ‘im “The Devil’ll give ya wutchya want, but you best believe, the Devil gun’ get his due.” Well, that dun’ bother the boy none, see, cause he jus’ needs to be good at the sports.

See, rumor has it that before the sports world gained mass popularity an’ fell ta shameless commercialization, if you was born in Kanawha County, you wadn’t never gonna leave Kanawha County. Best believe that many a man done broke his back makin’ a penny by shovelin’ coal out them hills, and never seein’ the light of the world ’cause of it. But times is a changin’, and they say if you wanna make it out of Kanawha alive you gotta play the sports and play ’em hard.

So the boy decides he’s gonna play on fate’s fiddle an’ goes out in them woods, wanderin’ around like a lost dog. They say he walked the roughest trails an’ climbed the tallest trees, searchin’ them hills up an’ down, inside an’ out, lookin’ all over for Ol’ Nick. Finally, jus’ as the boy’s ’bout ta give up, he sees a tall, pale lookin’ feller comin’ towards ‘im.

The stranger walks up on ‘im an’ says “You lost boy, or wantin’ a-make a deal?” So the boy says, “I ain’t lost none, mister, but I was thinkin’ I might should oughta make me a deal.” So the stranger says, “You know who I am?” an’ the boy says “You’re Ol’ Scratch. I heard you live out in these here hills.” So the Devil tells ‘im yes, an’ asks ‘im what he wants ta trade fer. The boy tells the Devil he wants ta be good at sports, an’ the Devil jus’ says “Okay, that’ll be one soul, please.” An’ he whips ‘im out a contract from behind his back an’ tells him ta sign it. But the boy’s a bit more clever than that, see, and he says, “No, mister, I wanna be good at all the sports, see. Well, excepts hockey – I jus’ dun’ like hockey none.” An’ the boy says that he dun’ jus’ wanna be good, neither – In fac’, he wanna be the most talented that there is at them sports. So the Devil tells ‘im he’s gun’ hafta talk to his supervisor to make sure it’s okay. He gets back to the boy ’bout ten minutes later and says it’s a deal. So the boy gone on an’ signed that dotted line.

After that, things was different fer the boy. All of a sudden, he was better at them sports than his own friends an’ kin. Not jus’ the foosball, neither – that boy was better at all them sports. He gone on ta high school an’ done lead his foosball team ta the state champyinchip. With the basketball, he got ‘imself named Athlete of the Year – twice. One year he decided he gun run circles ’round the track, an’ he done win the state champyinchip in that, too. He even won some champyinchips playin’ the college foosball. That poor boy didn’t know it was all jus’ set up by Ol’ Scratch ‘imself.

See, the Devil had gone on an’ made it all sorts of easy for the boy ta play them sports and whatnot. An’ early on, the boy had nothin’ but su’cess playin’ all them ball games. He was winning games left an’ right, an’ it jus’ seem like whatever team he’d gone on ta-go-da, they was gun’ win them some champyinchips. An’ the boy’d gone on ta make it all the way up ta the professional foosball league, an’ then he’s playin’ ball with all the big boys. An’ his first year in, e’erybody jus’ say how good he is. They was talkin’ like there was never nobody that good before an’ whatnot. They was sayin’ he’d be the best there ever was, if he wadn’t already. His first year his team gone on ta win them 15 games and only lose ’em 1. His team done set all sorts of records, an’ they done scored them more points than anyone ‘fore ’em, an’ people says they’s maybe one of the best teams in histora. But then they was playin’ the NFC Champyinchip game, an’ they done lost in some overtime. That boy never felt so terrible in his whole life, I tell ya. Then he goes on an’ he play jus’ ’bout a whole dang ol’ decade an’ never got that close to a champyinchip again.

The boy jus’ knew somethin’ was wrong, espessally when he got traded ta the Oakland Raiders. So he went out in them hills ‘tween Rand and Coal Fork in Kanawha County, lookin’ fer the beast. He walks ’round them woods for hours, ’till finally Ol’ Nick walks up on ‘im. “You lookin’ fer me again, boy?” “Yeah,” the boy says. “I ain’t out winnin’ no mo’ champyinchips, mister.” “Well, you ain’t never says nothin’ ’bout winnin’ you some champyinchips, didja boy?” The boy tells ‘im no, but that he wants ta start playin’ on some good teams ‘gain. So the Devil tells ‘im, “Boy, I’ma make you a deal: I tell you, you’s gun’ play fer the best team that ever was. Yer team’s gonna score more points than any team ‘fore it, and it’s gun’ win as many games as any team ever has ‘fore it, but it’s gun’ cost ya.” By now, the boy was dadgum crazy, an’ he says he’ll give the Devil anythin’. So the Devil ends out gettin’ the rights ta the souls ta all his kids, an’ ‘fore you know it, that boy winds up playin’ fer the Patriots in Foxburra.

Well, the Devil done outfoxed ‘im again! Sure enough, that boy played on what people e’erywhere was sayin’ was the best team in histora. They set all sorts of records, an’ they scored more points than anyone ‘fore ’em, an’ they gone on ta beat e’eryone they play. People was sayin’ they were a-playin’ like a team possessed – I guess they dun’ know how right they were. Well, that boy makes his way ta the champyinchip game, and wouldn’t ya know it, they lose ta some team from New York City. Jus’ seems no matter how good the boy plays, or no matter how good a team he’s on, he jus’ ain’t gun win the big one.

They say the Devil’ll give ya wutchya want, but best believe that the Devil gun’ get his due. But if you ask Randy Moss, he’ll tell ya different. He’ll tell ya that the Devil gun’ get his due an’ then some.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: Irish American Football League

The Irish American Football League (IAFL) is an American Football League… in Ireland. That’s right, the name sums it up perfectly. No reason to needlessly lengthen this introduction.

The first American football game played in Ireland was in 1942. Two teams composed of U.S. servicemen competed in Belfast. The next game was in 1946, also a match between U.S. servicemen. This helped to ensure that Irish spectators really felt they were watching American football, and not some sort of second-rate, devastated-by-WWII, European version. Yes, the U.S. military ensured there was plenty of Americanicity to go around… And they probably impregnated a lot of women, too.

Then, in 1984, a breakthrough: the first Irish team was formed – The Dublin Celts. In 1985 they beat a “premiere” British League team in Dublin. Violence and looting ensued. The first Irish-on-Irish action also took place in 1985.

In 1986, the battle for the first ever Shamrock Bowl began. The Celts were a clear favorite to go all the way after winning the Jack Daniel’s Summer Bowl, but it was not to be. The Celts lost a heart-breaker to Craigavon Cowboys, 6-0. In 1987, 11 teams created what we know to be the IAFL. For the next five years, the Celts would dominate the scene, winning the Shamrock Bowl (the league’s championship game) four times, including three in a row from 1987-1989. Sadly, their overwhelming success landed them in the heart of The Troubles, and the team found itself stationed at the border with Northern Ireland. Equipped with only their pads and their helmets, the team was quickly shot to pieces by British machine gun fire. The Republic’s plan to reunite the island of Ireland through football had too quickly failed.


Sadly, Liam O’McNeill did not stand a chance
against Britain’s famed “Death on Wheels”

In 1993, a major shift in power occurred in the IAFL. Dave Curran, the coach of the Dublin Celts, left the (then) legendary team to coach the Dublin Tornadoes. The Tornadoes went undefeated in the following season, defeating Curran’s former team in the Shamrock Bowl. Despite this, many in Ireland still cared more about The Troubles.

The Tornadoes went on a tear. The team did not lose a game in three seasons and won three consecutive championships. In 1996, the era of their supremacy ended after they lost to a second-year team, the Dublin Lightning, 26-8 in the Shamrock Bowl. Many of the players committed suicide because of this defeat, and the Dublin Tornadoes were no more.

From 1997-1999, many of the teams left the league. The need for American football was waning as peace came to Ireland. Many did not think football really served a purpose beside pre-conditioning potential paramilitary troops. In 1999, only three teams competed in the league, forcing the league to look elsewhere for survival. In 2000, the Mount St. Joseph’s high school team from Maryland, USA, won the Shamrock Bowl, being both the first American team and the first high school team to do so. Their unquestioned dominance and tendency to run up the score “even when [they’re] not trying” lead to them being voted off the island of Ireland in a Survivor-like manner.

2001-2003 were rebuilding years for the league, which now has nine teams in its elite division. From 2003-2006, the Dublin Rebels won four consecutive league championships, including Shamrock Bowl XVIII, highly regarded as the best Shamrock Bowl of all time. In it, the Rebels defeated the Carrickfergus Knights 24-22. In the first quarter, a 75 yard reverse by Carl Faichney gave the Rebels an 8-6 lead, but two more scores by the Knights gave Carrickfergus a 22-8 halftime advantage. In the fourth quarter, trailing 22-16, Mark Kelly caught a 17 yard pass from quarterback Andrew Dennehy. Brian Dennehy’s 2 point conversation gave the Rebels a 24-22 edge. With little over a minute to play, however, the Knights drove to the Rebels’ 23 yard line and attempted a field goal. The kick was up… and good. But, the Knights had cheated. That’s right, cheated. They had 12 men on the field, which, according to the rules, breaks them. A penalty ensued and ultimately, a victory was had by the Rebels. Both sides proceeded to drink heavily after the game.


Above: Rebels QB Andrew Dennehy prepares to- What the fuck? Why is that guy wearing a powder blue helmet?!

In 2007, the Rebels again looked poised to capture the championship having tied for the best record in the league, but those damn meddling kids over at the University of Limerick took that away, thinking it’d be better if they won the Shamrock Bowl instead. What a bunch of self-centered assholes. Pfff… Vikings, go figure.

So far this year, the Rebels seem determined to recapture the glory, having gone 2-0 and having outscored their opponents 82-0. However, those damn UL Vikings are also 2-0, though their victories do not look as impressive. But perhaps both of these teams have another, more troublesome opponent to worry about than themselves. That’s right, I’m obviously talking about the Cork Admirals, who in two games have outscored their opponents 164-0. They sound like they’re twice as good as the Dublin Rebels! We’ll I’ve got news for you, folks, the Rebels are squaring off against the Admirals today (April 20th)! I’ll be sure to post the winner once I bother figuring out who it is. My guess? Uh, the Admirals trump the Rebels, 82-41.

But the real winner is the people of Ireland, who have finally found a way to be violent towards each other without setting everything on fire. See you at Shamrock Bowl XXII, Land o’ Ire!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

The rivalry between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets is sometimes referred to by the moniker Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. But do these schools really hate each other? You be the judge.

Georgia was founded in 1785, 100 years before Georgia Tech was founded. Due to this lack of a clear cut in-state rival, Bulldog fans had to take their aggression out on natives and slaves. However, due to westward expansions and the south’s defeat in the Civil War, there were soon no slaves or natives to be overly aggressive against. Unto whom could they fulfill their violent, megalomaniacal fantasies of continued power?

That’s easy! Just start another in-state school to rival the one you already have; now you’ve got Georgians hating Georgians, and rightly so. They only people worthy of hating a pure blood Georgian is another Georgian. And thus it is conversely true: the only person worth a Georgian’s time to even bother hating is someone cut from the same cloth.

With UGA in Athens and Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the schools were a mere 70 miles apart, and the stage was set for an epic rivalry to grow.

Below: A map of the state of Georgia showing the locations of UGA and GT.
Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Locations in Georgia
You had to see this one coming…

The hostilities began over the school colors. Georgia, whose colors were old gold, black, and crimson, removed old gold from the school’s officials colors, stating that old gold was too similar to yellow, and yellow symbolized cowardice. Georgia Tech then began wearing old gold uniforms as a metaphorical slap-in-the-face to UGA. Georgia officials then stated that white symbolizes those who nurture and embrace defeat. Again Georgia Tech responded by adding white to their uniforms. To this day, Tech’s colors are old gold and white.

More hatred came to the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry during WWI, when Georgia mocked Tech for having a football team during the war. Most of Georgia’s players were serving in the armed forces at the time, and the school failed to field a team. Georgia Tech officials released a statement saying “It’s not our fault there’s a war on.” To this, Georgia officials famously responded with a letter that only read “Fuck you guys.”

When Georgia renewed its program in 1919 after the war had ended, the students staged a parade which featured a float shaped like a tank that read “UGA IN ARGONNE” followed by donkey draped in yellow that read “TECH IN ATLANTA”. Burn. Georgia Tech responded by burning down Georgia’s campus in Athens, killing several hundred students. Wicked burn.

In the 1970s the rivalry escalated to new heights as school pranksters tried to out do one another. The first such incident occurred in 1973 when some Tech students stole the bulldog statue in front of the UGA student center. Georgia students responded by stealing Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck, a golden colored 1930 Ford Model A sports coupe clad with cheerleaders. The following year, Tech students kidnapped Uga III, the Bulldog’s mascot, a bulldog. Though his body was never found, it was rumored that he was rolled up in a carpet and thrown off a bridge, but not before some students split a bottle of malt liquor with him. Georgia students, enraged, set together a plan to kidnap all of the yellow jackets in the state. The plan failed miserably and ended in many painful stings. Georgia students then decided to retaliate by enrolling in Georgia Tech and, using their natural abilities, lowered the school-wide GPA.

Below: A Victim of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech
Hey, I’m not trying to pick favorites or anything, but I’d rather be in this car than hanging out with Georgia’s bulldog. Nothing against dogs, but, c’mon. Just look at this juxtaposition of the Uga (the Georgia mascot) and a close-up of one of those cheerleaders:
Georgia’s Mascot, Uga VI Close-up of Georgia Tech Cheerleader’s Good Assets
Sold.

Hate is also practiced through time honored traditions. A famous Georgia Tech rallying cry is to shout out four times over the question “What’s the good word?” to which a crowd of (now) energized Yellow Jackets respond “To hell with Georgia!” despite the fact that they too are Georgians. (It has been suggested that this fact eludes them, but I doubt it.) The fourth response is set to be “Piss on them!” which, if they are referring to Georgians, means they wish to piss on themselves. This has lead many to believe that Georgia Tech fans inspired Marco Fiorito’s critically repulsed film 2 Girls 1 Cup.

Georgia currently leads the football series 59-38-5 (or so some say), and are on a 7 game winning streak against their in-state rivals as of this past year’s 31-17 victory over the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech hopes to change the trend by bringing in ex-Navy coach Paul Johnson, famous for his use of the triple option. If this does not work, Georgia Tech plans to poison the Athens water supply.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: 1888 Yale Bulldogs

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

Last year, when the New England Patriots went undefeated in the NFL regular season after winning all 16 games, many people thought they were the best team ever. Then they lost. So much for that.

But realistically, for any team to be considered as the best or greatest team in the history of the sport, they’d have to be better than the team that clearly holds that distinction: the 1888 Yale Bulldogs.

120 years ago, the Yale football team had a simple idea: let’s score a lot of points and not let our opponents score any. It was a novel concept, but many believed it was foolhardy and impossible. Still, Yale accomplished their goal, outscoring their opponents 698-0 in a 13-0 campaign that saw them crowned national champions.

Unfortunately, no one on the roster made the All-America team, as that idea of having an All-America team was not thought of until 1889. The team did have five future College Football Hall of Fame inductees at its disposal, however.

The team was coached by the Father of Football, Walter Camp. Earlier in the year, Camp had decreed that rugby was “sort of the way of the man-lovers and such things of the like.” In an effort to further separate football from rugby, Camp legalized below-the-waist tackling, which then made American football “far better than the English-styled rugby sporting socials, and a lot fucking cooler, bitches,” as Camp put it.

“Famous” Amos “A-lonz” Alonzo “Big O” Staggs played end for the legendary best team of all-time. He later went on to coach for 54 seasons and is one of only ten coaches in the “300 Wins Club” (not an actual club). He was recently honored on the cover of the 2K Sports All Pro Football 2K8 video game (which was forced to use famous football players not currently in the NFL due to the league’s licensing lease to the Madden franchise).

Below: The Video Game Cover That Honors Staggs
2K Sports All Prof Football 2K8
Staggs Pictured Upside-down Left-right Center (Not Shown)

William “Pudge” Heffelfinger played guard for the Bulldogs. At 6’3″ and 195 lbs, he was the largest recorded person in human history up to that point. He broke the backs of countless children who would asked to play touch-football games with him. Pudge was never known for doing anything with less than 100% effort, however, and many were left for dead.

George Woodruff played tackle-back or box-guard or wing-safety or forward-centerback or some shit. But he was damn good at it. He did play on the best team evah, so, I think that says it all. I hope it does anyway.

Lee “Bum” McClung played halfback on the ’88 squad. He later became the United States Treasurer. That’s nice.

Center William “Pa” Corbin was distinctly known for his handlebar mustache. But Corbin was also a brilliant strategist, once bringing on an Austrio-Hungarian mule named Gus to be the team’s place-kicker. Gus later went on to have moderate success with a professional team, the California Atoms.

Below: Gus the Mule
Gus
Based on a True Story

With all of this talent, it’s no surprise that the Yale team did so well. But their greatness is not fully understood by just simply saying they outscored their opponents 698-0. Back in those days, a touchdown was worth only four points, though field goals were worth five. If today’s scoring system is used, the Yale would have scored 865 points. Not too shabby.

The Bulldogs somehow played three championship games that year, and obviously won them. They were also named the de facto national champions, which really makes them champions four times over in 1888. Nowadays, few teams manage to win four championships in a decade.

Basically speaking, the 1888 Yale Bulldogs were the greatest football team ever assembled. The next time you hear about the “perfect” 1972 Miami Dolphins, just ask, “Hey, did those guys get scored on during that season? Oh, they did? Huh, guess they’re not so ‘perfect’ after all.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

Belated Sunday Spotlight: Frankford Yellow Jackets

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

The Frankford Yellow Jackets were a professional football team that played in a Philadelphia neighborhood in the NFL from 1924-1931, though their origins stretched back to 1899.

In the Yellow Jackets’ first year, the team, coached by no-good Punk Berryman, finished in third place after an 11-2-1 campaign. Their next year, 1925, was unspectacular, but it did feature some remarkable items. It was legendary Guy “Champ” Chamberlin’s first year with the team. Also, the team played a part in the 1925 NFL Championship controversy. The Chicago Cardinals and the Pottsville Maroons were having a tiff as to which team was better. As it stood, the Maroons had a better record after defeating the Notre Dame All-Stars 9-7. But the Yellow Jackets argued that the Maroons had violated a territorial agreement wherein the Maroons would stay the fuck out of eastern Pennsylvania. The league agreed and ordered the immediate execution of the 1925 Pottsville Maroons, and then awarded the league championship to the Cardinals.

The next year, 1926, would be Frankford’s greatest. They finished 14-1-2-0-1, and earned the league championship. The season featured a thrilling 7-6 win over the Chicago Bears. The victory was surprising as Frankford had never beaten the Bears in the past and was forced to take the field without stars Daddy “Papa” Potts and Swede “Mama” Youngstrum. Chicago scored first, but Guy Chamberlin, always the opportunist, boarded up the goal posts the day before, and the Bears extra point attempted failed, giving them only a 6-0 advantage. Late in the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets rallied after a 50 yard reverse. Quarterback “Two-bits” Homan caught a touchdown pass on (what must have been) a trick play on 4th & 3. Cool. Chamberlin, who had wittingly ordered that the plywood be taken down off the goal posts at half time, sent his team on for the extra point, giving them the margin of victory.

Still, the ’26 championship could not be sewed up, as the Yellow Jackets would have to face the Pottsville Maroons. A loss to the Maroons would hand the championship to the Bears. A win or a tie would ensure the the title would come to Philadelphia. With the Maroons having been ‘retired’ the previous year, many predicted an easy victory for Frankford. It was not so. As no players took the field for Pottsville, the clock ran out in both halves without Frankford getting possession even once. However, the Maroons failed to gain a single yard against the stiff Yellow Jacket defense, and the game ended in a scoreless tie, wrapping up the championship for Frankford, and giving Pottsville a record of 0-0-14 in what was deemed one of the “most balanced, completive seasons ever played by a single team” by Sports Illustrated.

The rest of their history is pretty boring. They ended up folding due to the pressure of the Great Depression. I’ll leave you with a picture of the NFL Champs.

Below: The 1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets Footballin’ Club
Frankford Yellow Jackets de 1926
Winners of Pseuperbowl MCMXXVI

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: 1929 Rose Bowl

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

The 1929 Rose Bowl game featured the Pacific Conference runner-up University of California and the undefeated national champion, Georgia Tech. It was the 15th installment of the Rose Bowl.

California
California tied conference champion USC 0-0 earlier in the season, but USC was awarded the title after posting a conference record of 4-0-1 as compared to Cal’s record of 3-0-2 in conference play (Cal also tied Stanford, 13-13). USC was the first team invited to the Rose Bowl, but they turned it down, possibly fearful of facing the mighty Yellowjackets of Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech went undefeated, coming into the game with a 9-0-0 record. Their season posted resounding double-digit victories over Notre Dame and in-state rival Georgia.

The first score of the game came midway through the second quarter, after Cal center Roy Riegels picked up a fumble 30 yards out from the goal line. Riegels ran towards the wrong end zone, however, and was only stopped when his quarterback, Benny Lom, caught up to him and tackled him at the one yard line. Cal decided to punt instead trying a play so close to their end zone, but the punt was blocked, and Georgia Tech scored a safety, leading 2-0 at the half.

Riegels was a huge crybaby in the locker room at halftime, and said he wouldn’t play the second half. Ultimately, however, he did play the second half, not because he never gave up, but because crybabies never get their way.

The Yellowjackets scored 6 more points in the third quarter, giving them an 8-0 lead heading into the fourth. Cal tried to make a comeback, scoring a touchdown, but controversially did not go for the 2-point conversation, and trailed 8-7. The game eventually ended with that score.

Riegels reportedly told his coached that he “ruined the University of California,” which was certainly true, as the school went bankrupt and became defunct merely months after the incident. Riegels was later killed by a bear while camping in Yosemite National Park. When questioned as to why he did it, the bear, golden in color, simply told reporters “[Riegels] disgraced me and my kind, and he needed to die for that.”

Roy Riegels was later inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame, where he has a bust with the inscription, “Thanks, Roy… Loser“. In 2003, Riegels’ mistake was named one of six “Most Memorable Moments of the Century” and also took the top spot in ESPN’s “Dumbest Things Done in 1929” special showcase series.

Below: Roy Riegels
Roy Riegels
Roy Riegels single-handedly destroyed the University of California by losing
the 1929 Rose Bowl Game, which is solely his fault and no one else’s.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: Bobby Layne

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

Bobby Layne is best known for being the best quarterback to ever play for the Detroit Lions. While under center for the Lions, Layne led them to three league championships and was voted All-Pro twice. The Lions thought he was so good that they traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When Layne found out he was traded, he put a curse on the Lions and said they would not win for 50 years. The Lions have since won hundreds of games, proving Layne to be overwhelmingly incorrect. However, the Lions have now gone 51 years without winning a championship and have only won one playoff game since Layne’s departure. Many Detroit fans call this curse “The Bobby Layne Bitchslap.”

Layne, who has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, was called “the toughest quarterback who ever lived,” by Sports Illustrated. Legendary running back Doak Walker said that “Layne never lost a game – time just ran out on him.” The numbers clearly prove just how good Bobby Layne was, as he retired as the NFL’s career leader in passes attempted and completed, as well as passing touchdowns, with 196. Layne also had 243 interceptions and a 63.4 career QB rating, and only threw more touchdown passes than interceptions in just 3 of his 16 seasons. Best quarterback ever? Maybe – Like I said, certainly the best Lions quarterback ever.

At the end of his career, Layne said his biggest regret was not winning a championship for Pittsburgh. When asked why he didn’t regret throwing nearly 250 interceptions more, he told reporters “I’ve gotta go – This bottle ain’t gonna drink itself.”

Layne was indeed known for his heavy drinking. Layne had many late-night bar hopping adventures, and eventually died from liver damage at age 59.

Bobby Layne is also remembered for being a quarterback that wore the number 22, which is now considered a highly unorthodox and very untraditional number for a quarterback. When asked why he insisted on wearing 22, Layne usually told reporters to “kiss [his] ass” and then threw empty beer bottles at them. Layne’s catch phrase was “Layne’s in this house now, bitch,” which he typically said when entering the locker room or his home.

Celebrated quarterback/womanizer/senseless drunk, Bobby Layne
Bobby Layne
Layne frequently played football without a helmet “for good luck” as he was known to say.