Ok Steelers fans, it's still the long offseason and I've not been able to post anything in the last couple of days. So, time for me to present the top ten games/events I in my sports viewing life.
A couple of disclaimers:
1) This list will again prove that, as a fairly young guy, I wasn't privvy to many of the most memorable Steelers moments of year's past.
2) The lack of video footage for MLB and the NFL proves how archaic those two leagues are in terms of digital media. Sure it's copyrighted material, but somebody remind me why EXTRA exposure on the intertubes is a bad thing??
3) I was not able to attend most all of these events.
4) I'm sure I'm missing something, but what the hey, nothing's perfect the first time around.
5) The list is in no particular order.
Let's get to it, and as always, feel free to share some of your own in the comments section.
1) Sampras vs. Agassi - 2000 Australian Open Semifinal
Growing up traveling around my hometown state playing tennis for state and national rankings, I tuned in to my fair share of tennis matches. There are a number of Agassi-Sampras duels to choose from, but I went with this hard-fought match between the two American icons. Whether or not you like tennis, it's a fairly accessible spectator sport, and the drama attached to this rivalry always made for exciting stuff.
2) Boise State vs. Okalahoma - 2007 Fiesta Bowl
Sheesh, if you didn't jump up and down with glee, or even have a tear or two in your eye during the conclusion of this one, then you either hate sports, have no pulse, or some combination of the two. Most people remember the ending, but the entire game was actually very entertaining, with only a few lulls in the middle of the game. The dramatic comeback and conlcusion, beginning with a successful hook-and-ladder play on 4th and 18, just might have been the most incredible half hour or so of sports. Ever. On a personal note, the win was against Oklahoma, one of my least favorite schools and athletic programs, due to my affiliations with the University of Texas. If you haven't seen this game, you need to find a way to watch it. Somehow.
3) 1995 British Open - John Daly vs. Constantino Rocca
This one makes my list for a number of reasons. Though the video below doesn't do this final round duel between Rocca and Daly justice, I remember it being an exciting round of golf. There was Long John, bombing it all over the famed Old Course at St. Andrew's, vying for his second major championship. And then there was the European Constantino Rocca, whose clutch putt from off the green on 18, sent the tourney to a playoff. My grandfather, who passed a few years ago, was a scratch golfer and lover of the game, so when I went to visit him each summer, we'd watch plenty of golf. The smell of his apartment and the softness of the carpet that I was sprawled out on watching this memorable tournament still remains fresh in my memory to this day.
4) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts - 2005 AFC Championship game
No need for me to rehash this one. maryrose has done so perfectly just a shortwhile ago.
5) Texas vs. USC - 2006 National Championship Game at Rose Bowl
Besides having been raised in Austin by two parents who were at UT for over three decades, I choose this game because it has to be up there as one of the greatest college football games ever played, and certainly one of the best title games ever played. In any sport. People bag on Vince Young and his accuracy, calling him a one-trick-pony, but he led the NCAA in passing efficiency that year, and his skills, both on the ground, and through the air, were on full display that day. To boot, the game was on my birthday.
6) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks - 2005 Super Bowl
Though the game was somewhat ugly and probably not all that memorable for football fans outside of the 'Hawks and Steelers fanbases, this makes my list for obvious reasons. The first Lombardi Trophy won by my favorite sports team in my lifetime. Hopefully there will be many more.
7) New York Giants vs. New England Patriots - 2007 Super Bowl
I wanted the Giants to win this one, but I was fairly disinterested when I had a slew of people over for crawfish and football on Super Bowl Sunday this year. In case you forgot, the game just flew by, at least early on. The first quarter was over before I knew it, and by halftime, it looked evident that we had ourselves a game. The fourth quarter of course, was tremendous, punctuated by David Tyree's helmet catch. Super Bowls simply do not live up to the hype most of the time. This time it did, in spades.
8) Duke Blue Devils vs. Kentucky Wildcats - 1992 Regional Finals
This one will haunt me for years to come, much like the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves NLCS finals from back then when Sid Breem plated the winning run to advance to the World Series. My father, a hoops junkie and former collegiate player, was raised in Kentucky, and his side of the family still lives there. Of course, the ending of this game is famous, but many forget that this was an epic game from start-to-finish, with incredible plays by both teams in regulation, and in both overtimes. Simply epic stuff.
9) Penn Quakers vs. Princeton Tigers - 2005
Here's an addition to my list that's guaranteed to not be found on anyone else's Top 10. Couple of things about this game. One, it was at The Palestra , the very best place to watch college basketball in the country. Sorry Cameron Crazies. You ain't got the history that Penn's building does. Anyway, as you'll see in the video, Penn was down big. 14 with 6+ minutes, and actually more like 20 with roughly 12 minutes to go. That may not be a huge deficit in the pros, but in the Ivy League, particularly against Princeton, who boringly runs down the shot clock each possession, it's a huge margin to overcome. That building is absolutely electric when it's full (which is nearly all of the time). The acoustics are unreal, and it almost shakes when things are at a fevered pitch. Of course, the rivalry is one of the better ones in college basketball, even if it's just rinky dink Ivy League athletics. I'm somewhere in this video going balistic.
10) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens - 75th Anniversary Night at Heinz Field, 2008
Though this game did not have the implications of many on my list, I sure did get tremendous pleasure watching the Steelers absolutely annihilate the Ravens on Monday Night Football on the evening that the greatest Steelers legends past and present were honored. Between Big Ben's perfect game, Santonio and Nate's monster evenings, Hines leveling of Bart Scott, Silverback's decking of Ed Reed, and Mel Blount calling the Ravens pathetic on national tv, there was just too much not to love about this game. Plus, we never own Baltimore like that. Just an awesome evening.