I know we don’t talk a whole lot about sports on our show, but I’ve been thinking about some blog topics lately, and today, I’m listing off the Most Memorable Sports Moments that, in some way, I was witness to.
Super Bowl XLIII
I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan all my life, and this game ranks up there as one of their most memorable. Second quarter, Steelers leading 10-7 and on defense up against their own goal line, Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner fires off a shot to receiver Anquan Boldin with 18 seconds left. Steelers Linebacker James Harrison had faked a blitz and fallen back in coverage, intercepting the ball a yard into the endzone and begins to run it out.
What started as a fortuitous interception became the (at the time) longest return for a Touchdown in NFL history as the 6 foot tall, 245 lb Harrison ran the distance along the sidelines, his teammates blocking the whole way, to score a touchdown and put the Steelers up 17-7 at the half.
Tony Hawk hits the 900
The time? 1999. The place? X Games V. The TV coverage should have ended, but no one was going to deny Tony today. Standing at the top of the half-pipe, other skates banging their trucks against the coping in time with the crowd cheering him on, Tony dropped in. Attempt after attempt he failed, twice landing on his board only to have it slip out from under him. One of the announcers can be heard saying “We know time is over, but we make up the rules as we go along.. let’s give him another try”. It took him 10 failed attempts, but on the 11th he landed it, and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve heard a louder crowd pop when he did. Watching the video still gives me chills.
The Intimidator at Daytona
Yes, this last one is a tragedy, but because of it an entire sport made amazing changes to do an even better job of protecting their drivers.
Daytona 500, Daytona Florida, 2001. February 18th.
Daytona, like Talladega, is a restrictor plate track for NASCAR, designed to limit the top speed of cars on these super fast tracks. in 2001, they instituted some new aerodynamic packages designed to keep cars bunched up and closer together, therefore allowing for more drafting and more exciting racing.
Headed in to Turn 4, final turn of the final lap… Dale Earnhardt Sr. was in 3rd behind Michael Waltrip and Dale’s son, Dale Jr. Contact with Sterling Marlin sent Sr’s car up the track and in front of Ken Scrhader who collided with Earnhardt as both cars sailed up the banked turn of Daytona. Dale slammed head on into the outside retaining wall at about 160 miles an hour before both cars slowly rolled back down the track to the infield grass. Waltrip would win the race with Jr. second as infield safety crew raced across the grass to Dale’s car. Dale was quickly taken to Halifax Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Less that 2 hours later, NASCAR President Mike Helton had to make the most devastating announcement he’d ever have to make.