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Monday, July 11, 2005
Sports Top 11
Last week, Barry posted his Top 10 Sports Moments that he witnessed or was part of. Following his example, here are my top 11 sports memories (you will notice they are heavily skewed toward football and Tennessee football in particular).

Just missing the list...The Titans go to Jacksonville and pummel the Jags to to the SuperBowl after the 1999 season, the Lady Vols win it all on numerous occasions, but particularily any team with Tiffany Woosley, the Redskins beat Detroit to go the Super Bowl in 1991....

11. UT vs Alabama, 1993
The infamous tie between UT and the Tide. After dominating the game thoroughly for 58 minutes, the Vols let the Tide drive downfield and score in the waning moments of the game to forge a tie and thus not allow us to break the streak of not beating Alabama. I remember sitting there in horror and disguist as this happened. Now some of you are asking--why put a tie up there? What is so memorable about that? Well, I lived at the Wesley Foundation at the time and a group of us had gathered to watch the game. The Wesley Foundation was next door to the Kappa Sigma frat house. After the tie, as I was headed back to my room to lament, I hear cussing and breaking glass...looking out a window, I saw one of the frat guys out in their parking lot smashing out all the windows and lights on his car. Now, I admit I was upset we didn't win, but not so much that I felt the need to break something.

10. Super Bowl XXII, January 1988
My beloved Redskins got down early to the Denver Bronocs, but then came the 2nd quarter that will forever live in Super Bowl history--5 possessions, 5 touchdowns, 35 unanswerd points. Without a doubt, Doug Williams' shining moment in the NFL and the Skin's 2nd Super Bowl win. I also remember this one not only for the great game but also for the memories around it--some good freinds at church were Denver fans and had rubbed it in all week that Washington stood no chance. At halftime, we called to sing a few chorus of "Hail to the Redskins..."

9. Mark McGuire breaks the home run record, 1996
Probably the only baseball moment on here as I don't honestly care much about baseball. But the summer of Sosa/McGuire duelling it out for the record was the stuff of movies. And I did watch the game where McGuire broke the record.

8. 1990 Sugar Bowl, UT vs Virginia
I went to high school in Virginia and for weeks heard about how great UVA was. So many of my classmates rubbed it in time and again how the Vols stood no chance. But a last second field goal pushed the Vols ahead 23-22 and Tennessee won. I can still remember my parents and I go crazy with joy that the Vols won. I wore orange and white to school the next day and was given looks of scorn..but who cares...we won! Also, orange and white really annoyed the stuffing out my AP English teacher who liked Kentucky for some strange reason...

7. 1995, UT vs Alabama
At long last, the ten-year winless drought against the Crimson Tide ends and I was there. I gave up my fall break to take a bus trip to the game with the Volunteer Spirit club. Sitting in the stands, on the first play from scrimmage, my friends and I all used our arms like to beckon the players our way..."Come down here" we chanted to them. Suddenly, Peyton goes back, throws the ball and as we watch, our wish comes true. Touchdown, Tennessee! The Vols went on to route Bama 41-14 in one of the best games EVER. Peyton was elevated to Heisman watch (he should have won over Woodson..but I'm not still bitter. Any comments that claim any kind of support for Woodson will be deleted..just so you know). Any day you beat Bama is a good day in my book and this was one of the best. (Funny related story...my uncle taped this game and would re-run it every few days...he would always joke that on that first play no matter how many times he watched it, those Bama boys just never could catch our receiver and then we'd break into a big grin).

6. 2001, UT vs Florida
In the wake of Sept. 11, the UT/Florida game was moved back to the start of December. Finally, UT fans had what we always wanted--to play Florida later in the year. I gathered with my Vol football away game watching group at David Broyle's house to watch the game. When the Vols knocked down a two-point attempt with 30 seconds left and then fell on the on-side kick, we erupted with joy...of course, I was one of the loudest. Easy to forget how great this game and win were based on a second-half flop in the SEC Championship game the next week, but this win helped drive Spurrier out of Gainesville....a great day for a Vol's fan.

5. Super Bowl XVII, 1983.
Late in the 4th, up by seven on fourth and one from their own 43, John Riggins runs into Redskins and NFL history, sealing the Washington Redskins' first Super Bowl win over the Dolphins. Capped off the season I fell in love with the Redskins and despite some down years, I still love them.

4. The Miracle at South Bend, UT vs Notre Dame, 1991

My first year at UT and we're playing Notre Dame. The Vols are down by a zillion at half time and I remember a lot of people giving up on the game. Being a die-hard, I decided to endure to the bitter end, only to see the Vols come out in the second half and put on one of the most impressive halves of football ever seen. The Vols rally to win the game as time expires. I remember as I watched the second half, this buzz of people returning to the TV screen to see what was going on....

3. The Music City Miracle, 1999
Or as they call in Buffalo, "That damn play." One of the greatest trick plays in the history of the NFL--it's so big here they sell artist renderings of it. Wycheck lateral to Mason, who goes down the sidelines and into the end zone, winning the game for the Titans and propelling them to the Super Bowl. (OK, we had to take out Indy and Jacksonville first...but work with me here!) The moment is not complete without the now famous Mike Keith/Tim Priest commentary of "I think they've got something here" and "There are no flags on the play!!" A play I never get tired of seeing or hearing about.... It also shows how you can go from the agony one moment to the ecstasy the next in the world of sports.

2. UT vs Miami, 1985
According to the pundits, we weren't supposed to be in this game...it was just a pleasure to be asked to come to the Sugar Bowl. The Vols went out and throttled Miami that year, ending their hopes of a national title. Probably the greatest game Johnny Majors ever coached in his tenure at UT. I loved every last minute of it. I still remember watching it with my family...

1. UT, 1998.
A national championship season..it would be unfair to single out just one game. The overtime win vs Florida was huge. Getting our first number one ranking in as long as I could recall, only to see it almost squandered...a rain soaked afternoon against Arkansas. Two minutes left, the Vols fail to convert fourth down with no time outs. It looks hopeless until the Lord shows He's a Vols fan and answers my prayers for a miracle...Clint Stoerner fumbles the ball and the Vols defense pounces. Travis Henry take the team on his back, rushes down and rumbles in for a go-ahead touchdown. I can still hear John Ward on the radio making the call and the crowd going insane. So did I. I can still barely watch this game today without feeling a bit nervous about it. Watching the SEC title game against Mississippi State at Barry and Laura's and hearing Julia remark that it's good Brainy Boy is there to keep Barry and I from swearing as we aren't playing well....Also, I remember it was the day before the big choir cantada the next day and I'd agreed to run sound and Ellen playing Rocky Top on the organ to help the choir focus and get rehearsal done so we could concentrate on what was really important...Then, the big national championship game against FSU in which we won it all and John Ward culminated his football broadcasting career saying, "The national champions are clad in Big Orange!" A great year....full of great memories.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/11/2005 12:11:00 PM | |
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