Ok, to start I didn't know much about ESPN's 30 for 30 as I hadn't seen any of them to date. I should have known better. Leave it to the ESPN talent, who put together the entire fantastic SportsCentury collection, to put together a dynamic series of documentaries on the 30 biggest stories of their first thirty years. I did not know that reknowned directors would be making these films, nor would they be so well put together. For that I say kudos to you ESPN for a job well done.
(Side note: Now I cannot wait to see the rest of these stories as I have spent all day researching the ones I have already missed. Dammit. Just wait for my post after "The House that George Built." Also, I saw an article how it was proposed to do a film on Andre the Giant. Why the hell not? Lastly, how great is the ESPN 50 for 50 show about this whole Tiger Woods debacle gonna be? Twenty years from now we might be up to like 2,500 mistresses and the prenup may be all but gone. I'm just saying.)
As some of you may know, I was born and raised a Miami Hurricane fan during the 1980's. Like the Dolphins, I can say I was a fan only because it was where I was born, not family allegiance (Yankees). The U was what I knew because my grandparents had attended and it was where I had aspired during my youth to be both athletically and academically (law). Only later in life, when I began to understand economics ($30,000/year in tuition) and athletics (can't go to the #1 baseball school as a 5'10'' pitcher with an 87 MPH fastball) did I lose sight of that dream.
My family lived very close to the Gables and while many of the signs are in Spanish, there was no mistaking Sebastian or the green and orange U everywhere. As we moved from Florida when I was almost five years old, my cognitive memory does not include going to ANY games in the Orange Bowl, yet I feel as if it were some sort of black hole, both literally and figuratively, where visiting teams got swallowed hole. As a matter of fact, my earliest memory of college football was the loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The U was an amazing chronicle of a dynasty for the ages. A new style of football which was pass first, run second. In a time where there was no BCS rankings and padding of schedules to make sure it was as weak as possible, Miami played Notre Dame, FSU, & Florida annually and often times included powerhouses like Oklahoma and BYU as well. Even more amazingly, the Hurricanes did everything without the financial backing of a conference, or in the beginning many boosters.
Things I learned from the program:
1) Howard Schnellenberger was a god in Miami. How dare a white guy in the mid 1970's, from a program that was nearly shutdown, declare South Florida "his" recruiting area? He entered the crime ridden ghetto of Liberty City and scooped up the majority of the rich football talent, gave them a top notch education and guaranteed that they would win. Then, he backed it all up!
2) Jimmy Johnson really was black. And an amazing coach. Again, cognitively as a kid I remember watching the games and rooting, but my memories of actual coaching by Johnson stems only from his days with the 'Boys. He didn't give a fuck. And more importantly, he lost only 11 games in his tenure, with 5 of them in the first season!
3) Miami played six #1 teams during the decade and beat them all.
4) I didn't know that Miami really didn't fumble the ball at the end of the 1984 Sugar Bowl. That's twice now that poor officiating cost them a title (See 2003).
5) It's amazing to me how the Big 8 winner always came to the Orange Bowl. Why did that stop? And why did Miami play Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl? Shouldn't they have been in the Rose Bowl?
6) I almost forgot how much I hated Notre Dame and FSU as a kid. Seriously, why did mid 1980's teams feel the need to put out a rap video? And that story about the Boz was awesome.
7) Quick question: How many of the 4 QB's who have won national titles for Miami can you name? Kosar, Walsh, Erickson, and Dorsey (not Vinny or Geno, the two heisman winners)
I like the entire section dedicated to 2 Live Crew. It wasn' until I was much much older that I began to appreciate Luke Skyywalker's music (pun intended). But as a serious note, it was interesting to see just how deeply he was involved with the program and with each of the players. And I never knew the whole back story on the fatigues. That was fantastically ghetto. I'd never want to see UGA do it, but it was still fantastic.
Last sidenote, I think there was a fantastic lead-in about the culture of the school and the city during the mid to late 1970's. Corben did a fantastic job setting up the storyline. My only critique was the end was very abrupt and didn't detail the fall of the dynasty away from Ericson and ultimately into Butch's hands.
Sorry, done with rambling. I do think that going forward we should maybe switch off blogging about the shows, it would be a great insight in the slow season of sports that we are heading into.