"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) --
Crafting a listing of people that owe me money would take more time than I am prepared to devote at present. Besides, it is not of palpable interest to you and certainly has no redeeming quality that is inherent in having knowledge of same. However, when directing that to some memorable, and more than a few unmemorable, sporting events over the years we are speaking of markers that will remain uncollectible for the foreseeable future, and beyond.
February 3, 2002 - Super Bowl XXXVI - St. Louis vs. New England, Adam Vinateri field goal at 0:00, for a 20-17 Patriots victory.
I am speaking of the mistakes and errors, as well as the unexpected incredible moments in sports, the ones that changed athletic history, evolved into television highlight films and either enhanced the coffers of one?s wealth or significantly diminished it. Isolating those to a precious, perhaps one or two, is an injustice to the unforgettable, historic and crucial moments in the life of a fan and/or punter/player. We are speaking of that three point shot at the buzzer, a missed or made foul shot -- as in game five of the current Miami/ Dallas NBA championship series...or the errant and forgetful request for a time-out by Dallas in the same game with only 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime, goal tending as the final seconds tick away, an inbound pass to the wrong team, a missed lay-up.
In the NFL that translates, for better or worse, into a missed or made field goal, two-point conversion at the end of the game, an interception and run back for a game winning TD along the sidelines, a Hail Mary pass that is actually caught or the inevitable pass interference call in the end zone...one that sets up a winning touchdown or field goal.
It never ends...in the MLB a wild pitch, walk, balk or an error to score the winning run, a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. In the NHL the list is shorter but there is always the unexpected penalty shot or a tipped one into the goal, that obviously bad penalty call to set up a power play. Golf, on which more and more money is being wagered all the time, greets us with such debacles and astonishingly unanticipated occurrences like Phil Mickelson self-destructing on the 18th hole at the US Open, or the missed short putt by Scott Hoch at the Masters in a playoff against Nick Faldo in 1989 with Faldo winning on the 2nd playoff hole; Doug Sanders doing the same at the British Open; or, conversely, the great shot to win from the fairway -Bob Tway holes out from a greenside bunker on the final hole at Inverness Club in Ohio to defeat Greg Norman in 1986 and Larry Mize chipping in to defeat the very same Norman on the 2nd playoff hole at the 1987 Masters.
For all of you that had the losing side in a sporting event, the human cause(s) of it are not going to ask how much you lost or what they owe you and the winners are doing too well to seek a portion of your winnings nor are they likely to acknowledge a note of thanks. The other type of note one might send will only result in a not so friendly visit from the local gendarmes so you have to sit and stew on your own while determining which plasma set you are going to purchase next week to replace the one that was the target of your ire.
Toronto's Joe Carter celebrates after slamming a three-run homer to win Game Six against Philadelphia in the 1993 World Series.
Can those among us that follow NFL -- remember, women get PMS and men respond with NFL...it is the nature of things -- never forget Super Bowl XXV, January 27, 1991, and Buffalo's Scott Norwood missed field goal with less than five seconds remaining to give New York a 20-19 win? Happily, I am a Giants fan so my elation was two-fold. While this instance might not have affected the line on the game that day, anyone wagering on a straight-up winner/loser was either jumping for joy or from a bridge. The other one that comes to mind quickly is Tennessee beating Buffalo in the Music City Miracle in the AFC Wild Card Playoff after the 1999 season when the Titans used a "Homerun Throwback" to return a kickoff for a touchdown after the Bills had just taken the lead on a field goal. The final score was 22-16. @#$%^&*(%^&* or "What a great play!" Take your choice.
Baseball holds it own precious place on the balance sheet of betting with games that include the 1993 World Series when Toronto's Joe Carter lofted a three-run homer to win Game Six against Philadelphia and Mitch Williams, 8-6; the 2001 World Series, and this hurts yours truly significantly due to the pinstripes tattooed on my derriere, when Mariano Rivera blew Game Seven in the ninth inning against Arizona. Another Yankee heartbreak was the 1995 Division Series when Seattle's Edgar Martinez doubled home two runs to erase a 5-4 Yankee lead in the 11th inning to give the Mariners a 6-5 win in the decisive Game 5. Those stains on the pages of this feature are from my tears. My pocketbook lightened but we managed to survive.
Take your choice, incredible pain or miraculous elation. It is the ultimate love-hate relationship we all eventually have with sports and all of its heroes, goats, legends and unknowns. From the archives of the past and recent permit me to summon a sampling to recall, perhaps, the good, the bad and the ugly.
- May 10, 1974 - Game 6 NBA Finals - Milwaukee at Boston. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky hook to win, 109-107 (Milwaukee wins)
- May 7, 1989 - Game 5 First Round - Chicago at Cleveland, Michael Jordan at the buzzer, 101-100 (Chicago wins)
- December 31, 1967 - NFL Championship - Dallas at Green Bay. The Ice Bowl. Bart Starr?s quarterback sneak at the goal line, Packers win 21-17
- February 3, 2002 - Super Bowl XXXVI - St. Louis vs. New England, Adam Vinateri field goal at 0:00, for a 20-17 Patriots victory
- November 27th, 2005 - Jay Feely of the NY Giants misses 3 game-winning field goals in an overtime loss to Seattle, 24-21 on
And, from the Classics file...
- October 13, 1960 - Game 7 World Series - Yankees at Pittsburgh, Bill Mazeroski's HR in the 9th, 10-9 Pittsburgh win
- October 25, 1986 - Game 6 World Series - Boston at Mets, Bill Buckner's fielding error allowed Ray Knight to score the winning run in the 10th, 6-5 Mets win
- 1970 British Open - Doug Sanders misses a 2-foot putt to lose to Jack Nicklaus
There you have it, and the beat goes on. It is a masochistic relationship between ourselves and sports and it is there for now...and forever more.