Jimmy Failla: Coronavirus – Sports fans, here's the perfect quarantine solution until live games return
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Many American sports fans have joked in recent weeks that we’re so desperate for something to watch we’d even consider soccer. I don’t know if it’s that grim, but there’s no denying these are challenging times.
This weekend would normally be jammed with live games on TV but in the cruelest twist of lockdown fate, the NHLis gone and the LA Kings have given way to the Tiger Kings.
The same goes for baseball, where the only way for people in Kansas City to see The Royals is to stream "The Crown" on Netflix.
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Yes, to the untrained eye, the TV cupboard looks pretty bare for sports fans this weekend. But the truth couldn’t be any farther off than Scott Norwood’s field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV.
Much the same as a favorite song can transport you to a seminal moment from a bygone era, there’s a time-travel aspect to old sporting events that let us relive the moments in our lives when we watched them.
I caught it on TV the other night and as New York Giants Running Back Otis Anderson was getting tackled by Buffalo Bills Defensive End Bruce Smith, my intellect drifted off to my family’s Super Bowl Party on January 27, 1991.
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: Quarterback Jeff Hostetler #15 of the New York Giants looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills during Super Bowl XXV January 27, 1991 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Giants won the Super Bowl 20-19. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Much the same as a favorite song can transport you to a seminal moment from a bygone era, there’s a time-travel aspect to old sporting events that let us relive the moments in our lives when we watched them. This is precisely why you need to put classic sports in your starting lineup this weekend.
Super Bowl XXV was one of the greatest football games ever played and re-watching it gave me back so much more than the 20-19 Final Score.
America was at the beginning of the first Iraq War and there was an unmistakable tension in our living room and every other living room leading up to kickoff.
Enter Whitney Houston, who belted out a national anthem that roared into the Tampa sky with a sonic force that drowned out the F-16 fighter jets flying over Raymond James Stadium. My word. Home of the brave indeed! Nobody who witnessed Whitney’s anthem that day has ever forgotten it.
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: Whitney Houston sings the National Anthem before a game with the New York Giants taking on the Buffalo Bills prior to Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. The Giants won 20-19. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
When she stuck the landing on the high note, grown men leaped to their feet in the middle of our living room and chanted U-S-A! Grown women were openly weeping tears of patriotic delight on our couch. Although those tears were nothing compared to Bills fans at the end of the game. (This was before they got used to losing Super Bowls.)
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I don’t know where you were when Tiger Woods stormed into our National Consciousness at the ’97 Masters.
AUGUSTA, GA - 1997: Tiger Woods during the second round of the 1997 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 1997 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/PGA TOUR Archive)
Nor do I have any clue who you were hanging out with when Michael Jordan hit “The Shot” against the Utah Jazz in ’98. But chances are you didn’t wear a mask to buy your chips and beer that morning, and the neighbors didn’t call the cops because you had friends over that night.
That there is another fringe benefit of making it an old school weekend: classic sports are a much-needed escape from the pandemic parade marching through our collective consciousness. And just to be clear, I am NOT downplaying COVID-19 by grouping it with a parade. Quite the contrary. NOBODY likes parades. Plenty of people think they do, until they’re at one, but stick with me.
Mike Tyson is getting knocked out by Buster Douglas on a channel near you tonight and not only is it a ringside seat to the biggest upset in boxing history, but it’s also a return to a time when sporting events had our undivided attention.
People didn’t “Live Tweet” fights in the 80’s and ’90s, partly because we didn’t have smartphones, and mostly because we HATED anyone who talked during the match. -- Truth be told we still do, but nobody says anything because we’re a nicer society.
Classic sports are a ticket to a world where the only thing we checked during the game was our beer mugs and if they were fine so were we.
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Now that I’m done going full boomer and telling “all you kids to get off my lawn,” I want you to get on your couch and watch the first throwback game you can find.
I’m aware that they won’t replace the unpredictability of live sports but they will guarantee you a great game every single night. And perhaps best of all for guys like me, you can’t lose any money betting on them this time around.
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