Tagged: Football

WHAT ELSE HAPPENED

September 11 in history:

Since 2001, the date of September 11th brings to mind images of the terror attacks which occurred during one day in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.  As for other events in history on this day…

The U.S. ambassador to Libya was among four persons killed in an attack at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th, 2012. The Obama White House and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been accused of trying to cover up the true circumstances surrounding the attack.

The Pentagon was hit by one of the airplanes hijacked on 9/11/01. September 11th was the day construction began on the Pentagon in 1941.

One of the airline passengers killed in the Pentagon attack was political commentator Barbara Olson, whose husband Theodore was Solicitor General at the time.  Ted Olson was born on September 11th of 1940…the same day as movie director Brian de Palma, who opened the movie “The Bonfire of the Vanities” with a long single-take shot inside the World Trade Center. De Palma’s other films include “Carrie,” “Scarface,” and “The Untouchables.”

September 11th was the day in 1609 that Henry Hudson sailed in what would become New York Harbor, and discovered the mouth of the river eventually named after him.

New York is where Tom Landry began his coaching career in pro football, on the staff of the Giants.  Landry, born on September 11th, 1924, left the Giants to become the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.  He shared his birthday, and a habit of wearing distinctive hats on the sidelines, with another legendary football coach, Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant (born 1913).

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LET FREEDOM RING

February 1st in history:

Happy birthday to Clark Gable (1901). Gable’s most famous role in a 30-year movie career was as Rhett Butler in the Civil War romance “Gone With the Wind.”

One of the songs most associated with the Civil War was the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which put new words to the tune “John Brown’s Body.” Julia Ward Howe’s lyrics for “Battle Hymn” first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly magazine on February 1st, 1862.

Toward the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, on this date in 1865. The 2012 Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln mostly deals with President Lincoln’s fight to pass the amendment.

A different freedom — freedom of speech — was under dispute after the Super Bowl halftime show on February 1st, 2004. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined CBS for broadcasting the brief moment where Justin Timberlake tore part of Janet Jackson’s costume, exposing her breast, in what became known as a “wardrobe malfunction.”

ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY

January 29th in history:

magnum-pi-detroitIn 1845, readers of the New York Evening Mirror got their first look at a new poem by Edgar Allan Poe, called “The Raven” — published in the January 29th edition. Because Poe lived for many years in Baltimore and is buried there, the Baltimore Ravens football team was named in honor of the poem.

Baltimore-born Babe Ruth became one of the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 29th, 1936. The Babe and Honus Wagner tied for second place in that first hall of fame election behind long-time Detroit Tigers star Ty Cobb.

And January 29th is the birthday of the actor who often wore a Tigers baseball cap in his TV role as “Magnum, P.I.,” Detroit native Tom Selleck (1945).

FROM GREEN BAY TO THE GREEN MILE

January 28th in history:

On January 28th, 1959, Vince Lombardi was hired to coach the Green Bay Packers.  Under Lombardi, the Packers won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls.  The championship trophy for the Super Bowl eventually was named after him.

In Super Bowl XXX, played on this date in 1996, the Dallas Cowboys became the first team to win three Lombardi Trophies in four years.  Dallas defeated Pittsburgh, 27-17.

Super Bowl XXX received higher ratings than any other TV broadcast up until that time, except for the last episode of “M*A*S*H” in 1983.  Alan Alda, who played Army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce for 11 years on “M*A*S*H,” was born January 28th, 1936.

During his years as Hawkeye, Alan Alda also starred in a TV movie about Death Row prisoner Caryl Chessman.  Other people associated with prison stories share a January 28th birthday with Alda.  They include the real-life “Birdman of Alcatraz,” prisoner Robert Stroud (born 1890); actor John Banner, who played Sgt. Schultz on “Hogan’s Heroes” (1910); and director Frank Darabont (1959), who made the prison movies “The Green Mile” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”

FROM 49ers TO 1984

January 24th in history:

The California Gold Rush was triggered on January 24th, 1848, when James Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill.  Most of the U.S. didn’t hear about the discovery until late in ’48, when President James K. Polk mentioned the gold rush in his State of the Union message.  The treasure hunters who went to California in the months afterward became known as ’49ers.

Today’s 49ers, the NFL team from San Francisco, played in the Super Bowl for the first time on January 24, 1982, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. They won Super Bowl XVI by a 26-21 score over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The ring awarded to Super Bowl winners is made of gold and decorated with diamonds.  January 24th is the birthday of Olympic gold-medal winner Mary Lou Retton (born 1968) and singer-songwriter Neil Diamond (1941).

The Super Bowl didn’t become known for clever and expensive TV commercials until Apple Computers did a parody of the book “1984” to introduce its new Macintosh personal computer.  The Super Bowl ad ran two days before the Mac officially went on sale January 24th, 1984.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

January 23rd in history:

On January 23, 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first member of a very exclusive club when she was sworn in as America’s first female secretary of state. The group of women who have headed the State Department now includes Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The first group of artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame received that honor on this date in 1986. Among the first inductees were Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and James Brown – not to be confused with TV sports reporter James Brown or Cleveland Browns football star Jim Brown.

O.J. Simpson was in a club all by himself on January 23, 1985. He became the first Heisman Trophy winner voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Another “first” for a hall of fame on this date…Jackie Robinson was the first African-American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 23rd, 1962.

LIONS AND TURKEYS AND BEARS, OH MY!

November 29 in history:

The Army and the Navy met each other on the football field for the first time on November 29th, 1890, at West Point. The Army Cadets had the home field advantage, but they were shut out by the Navy 24-0.  Now, the contest is usually played at a neutral site, Philadelphia.

The tradition of playing pro football on Thanksgiving began on this date in 1934, when the holiday was still celebrated on the last Thursday of November, instead of the fourth Thursday.  The Lions had just moved to Detroit, and as a publicity stunt, the club’s new owner arranged to have the team play a Thanksgiving Day ball game.  Detroit has hosted an NFL game on Thanksgiving ever since.

The Lions lost that first Thanksgiving game to the Chicago Bears.  Rahm Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, was born on November 29th, 1959.  Another famous Illinois politician born on November 29th was U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Paul Simon (1928).