Saturday, July 19, 2008

1984 National Champeenship

Sunshine Network has been re-running "Gridiron Greats" a show that features Florida teams in big games. They reshow almost the entire game interspersed with commentary from the coaches and players who were in them.

I just watched the Hurricanes 31-30 game against the Cornhuskers, the game that started "The Uuuuuus" rise to prominence over the next 2 decades.

But, as I sat there and watched it, I noticed something interesting: The Huskers were playing right to the rules. There were numerous non-calls of holding, pass interference, chop blocks, and other assorted misdeeds that might have been illegal. And of course you had the "Fumblerooski" where the guard picked up the fumbled ball and ran it for a TD. The play caused a rule change, and was made illegal the following year (or maybe the year after). Only, it was illegal on this day as well, because the QB never touched the ball. And it looked to me (25 years later) that this was intentional. There was also a switch of jerseys that Bernie Kosar said was "childish" between two players to throw the Miami players off. Turns out there wasn't a specific rule about that at the time, and Osborne exploited it.

Why was it interesting? Because they were the Patriots, 20 years before the Patriots started doing the exact same thing. Bellicheat plays right to the rules, and even ocassionally bends some to gain an advantage.

It was odd to look back at this game as an adult (I was in high school when it was played) and realize what the Huskers were doing - cheating. And then to realize that I've seen the same thing in pro sports over the last few years...

I swear, I felt like I was watching the Patriots play in that game...

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