Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ah, Those Were The Days

A most excellent addition to the "Best Game I've Ever Seen" series on SI.Com by Peter King.

For fans of the San Francisco 49ers, those were indeed the days. In his piece King makes reference to the team's incredible road record during that era. I lived and died with them back then (still do now, but it's mostly been the latter in recent years), and remember that from the point that they were 6-5 during the 1988 season to the game when the Montana era came to an end (not officially, but for all practical purposes), the January 1991 NFC Championship game against the New York Giants, the 49ers record was 39-5, with none of those losses coming on the road. One of the more impressive, if esoteric, records of the modern NFL era.

I remember exactly where I was as the 49ers-Eagles game that King writes about was taking place. My wife, parents and I were driving from Sacramento to nearby Woodland to attend a birthday party for my grandmother. We heard the entire 4th quarter on the radio, as called by Joe Starkey. For those of you not familiar with Starkey, he also handles the play-by-play for the California Golden Bears, and is the man who called one of the most famous football plays in history - Cal's five-lateral, last-play kickoff return for a touchdown through the Stanford band in 1982's Big Game ("The band is out on the field! The band is out on the field! He's going into the end zone! He's going into the end zone! Will it count?). Starkey, you could say, tends to be on the excitable side, so as you can imagine, listening to the game live was probably more fun than it would have been to watch it live.

And the icing on the cake was when we arrived at the restaurant at the same time as several other family members, who had given up and turned the radio off. Shame on them!

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