Friday, December 23, 2016

The Freakin' Weekend (1970)

It's Christmastime, and it's hard to fit all the good in. So this is not going to be elegant or particularly clear. I'm just going to pile up a bunch of stuff that Hoptown 1970 me wants to look at over the rest of the 12 days.


The Dec. 7 Sports Illustrated had Roman Gabriel on the cover (and a promising article inside about the new Tom Dowling book on Vince Lombardi), and the December Sport had Roman Gabriel on the cover (and a promising article inside about the new Tom Dowling book on Vince Lombardi). But the Rams ended up failing to make the NFL70 playoffs. Here's how the regular season finished up ...



And that sets up the following playoffs pairings for the weekend after Christmas ...


It's going to be exciting!



It's going to be an exciting week altogether, in fact ...




I love Christmas shopping ...


SI has had a bunch of good gift ideas ...




And then there's, of course, Sears ...







Lots of great TV this week ...



Everybody's exited about the famous Dec. 24 Bewitched episode ...



And while I've become more of an ABA guy, ...




... there is the NBA on Christmas day ...




Hooray for all of it ...


81 comments:

  1. The Detroit/Dallas game of December 26, 1970 is the earliest event that I can personally remember.

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  2. I'm glad you made note of that. The full game has been available on YouTube at various points, and I'm hopeful that it will be perpetually available for free in the sweet by and by.

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  3. I'm so glad that the Eagles won the last game at Franklin Field, and I had no idea that Terry Bradshaw had done any punting. He was Chuck Noll's most-frequent starting quarterback in 1970, but Terry Hanratty was the Steeler starter in this last game of Bradshaw's regular season. I wonder why Bradshaw was punting in place of Bobby Walden.

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  4. Dallas's defense did not give up a touchdown in the regular season's last four games, and it appears that the Reggie Rucker plan at wide receiver might work out with Lance Rentzel out of commission.

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  5. Everybody is suddenly ga-ga for the Bears' quarterback, Jack Concannon. I am stunned by this fact.

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  6. Everybody's going crazy about the Lions, too. The January Sport is here, and it has Detroit on the cover with a long take-out piece about how its roster has been put together.

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  7. Cincinnati--though missing quarterback Greg Cook--rallied from a six-game losing streak in 1970 to overtake Cleveland for the Central Division championship in the new American Football Conference, and Paul Brown called it the most satisfying season of his career.

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  8. The last NFL champions switched quarterbacks and kept right on winning this season (12-2), but there's some reason to think that the Minnesota Vikings aren't quite the juggernaut they were last season. Minnesota scored about a field goal less per game in 1970 than it did in 1969, and, though Joe Kapp's completion percentage last season (50.6) was only a hair better than Gary Cuozzo's this (49.8), several other statistics suggest decline at the position for the Vikings. Kapp had 19 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions last season (behind the same offensive line and with almost all the same skill-position players), while Cuozzo recorded seven TDs and 10 interceptions. Cuozzo's 1970 quarterback rating was 64.3, compared to Kapp's 78.5 in 1969.

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  9. Meanwhile, the NFL champs before Minnesota, the Baltimore Colts, capped an 11-2-1 season with a 35-20 whipping of the 4-10 New York Jets in a Super Bowl III rematch (without Joe Namath, replaced by Al Woodall, and Earl Morrall, replaced by John Unitas).

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  10. Bas-Ket cost the equivalent of $24.70 in today's money.

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  11. Charley Winner's Cardinals were 7-2 after clobbering the Cowboys, 38-0, on NFL Monday Night Football back on Nov. 16. It was their third-straight shutout win, and they were first place in the NFC East by a game. Then St. Louis tied the Chiefs, 6-6, on Nov. 22 and beat the Eagles, 23-14, on Nov. 29. That put the Cardinals at 8-2-1 and atop the division by a game and a half with three to play.

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  12. Wow. This Week in Pro Football should've won the Emmy every year.

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  13. Well, the whole "Sisters at Heart" Bewitched story is fascinating, as is that of Parley Bear, the old Mayberry mayor who played Mr. Brockaway. It's sweet that he delivered the eulogy at Floyd the Barber's funeral.

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  14. By the way, if you're wondering whatever happened to Henry Jordan, well, the old Packers defensive tackle retired in February 1970, moved to Milwaukee and became executive director of that city's annual Summerfest music festival. The headliner for the 1970 event was Sly and the Family Stone.

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  15. NBA Western Conference at the start of Christmas 1970:

    Midwest
    Milwaukee Bucks 26-6
    Chicago Bulls 22-12
    Detroit Pistons 23-13
    Phoenix Suns 20-18

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  16. Pacific
    Los Angeles Lakers 19-14
    San Francisco Warriors 21-17
    San Diego Rockets 21-18
    Seattle Supersonics 14-22
    Portland Trail Blazers 11-27

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  17. Eastern Conference:

    Atlantic
    New York Knicks (defending champions) 20-11
    Boston Celtics 21-13
    Philadelphia 76ers 21-17
    Buffalo Braves 11-27

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  18. Central
    Baltimore Bullets 19-18
    Cincinnati Royals 14-19
    Atlanta Hawks 12-23
    Cleveland Cavaliers 3-36

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  19. That's a pretty amazing statement when you consider that Bill Russell was a rookie just 13 years ago, in 1957 (LeBron James was a rookie just 13 real years ago, in 2003, and I clearly remember his coming into the league). Elgin Baylor came along 11 years ago; Wilt Chamberlain, 10, and Jerry West, nine. Elvin Hayes was drafted only two seasons ago; Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, just last season. And, yet, the most celebrated rookie anyone can remember, according to the league's main play-by-play guy, in a setup for a halftime feature--it's not like Keith Jackson said it off hand, right after a particularly spectacular play--is Pete Maravich.

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  20. I might have to check out the new Fords.

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  21. One of the big changes for Dallas that coincided with its late-season surge was that, five games ago, Tom Landry took play-calling responsibility away from Craig Morton and instead began shuttling plays to and from his quarterback via alternating, messenger tight ends, Mike Ditka and Pettis Norman.

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  22. The Cowboys are hosting the Lions at the Cotton Bowl.

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  23. Both of the punters in this game, Detroit's Herman Weaver and Dallas's Ron Widby, attended the University of Tennessee. In a few years, the Steelers' punter is going to be Craig Colquitt, and I think he went to Tennessee, as well.

    By the way, this note was mentioned by the CBS play-by-play guy for this game, and I haven't figured out who he is.

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  24. Maybe Gary Bender says that the Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open, the first event of the 1971 PGA Tour, is on CBS's schedule for two weeks from today, on Jan. 9. The defending champ is Billy Casper, and he is to be joined in the tournament by Arnold Palmer, among others.

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  25. Well, after stopping the Lions without a first down on the game's first possession, the Cowboys advanced to about the Detroit 35 before Mike Weger intercepted a Morton pass batted by Tom Vaughn. On the next play, however, Jethro Pugh strips scrambling Greg Landry, and rookie Charlie Waters recovers for Dallas. This looks like it might turn out to be a defense-dominated game.

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  26. Frank Gifford says Landry relieved Morton of play calling because the quarterback was feeling too much pressure in replacing Don Meredith. I will say that Meredith seems like a much happier guy on NFL Monday Night Football than he did as quarterback of the Cowboys.

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  27. Here's an in-game PSA for the "Pakistan Fund," in the wake of flooding in that country which Maybe Gary Bender says has left about 2 million people in grave danger.

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  28. Gifford points out that Joe Schmidt, now the Lions' coach, was probably the first middle linebacker to bring fame to that position, while it was Cowboys coach Tom Landry who invented the 4-3 defense (and, with it, the middle linebacker).

    And I realize that we have Greg Landry vs. Tom Landry in this game and how infrequently one has to worry about readers getting a couple of Landrys confused.

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  29. I'm surprised to hear Gifford say that Lem Barney "has not had a great year for Lem Barney," because I figured if the Lions had a good year it had to largely be because Lem Barney had a great year. But not so, says Gifford, and, indeed, Barney drops an interception deep in Detroit territory, and Mike Clark comes on to boot Dallas ahead, 3-0, late in the first quarter.

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  30. Man, I'd love to see that Jane Meadows Here's Lucy on CBS Monday night, but they took those dudes down from DailyMotion.com.

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  31. He's on to introduce the marching band and "Apache Belles" from Tyler Junior College.

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  32. My dad smoked Vantage for a while.

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  33. I really do miss those big bench seats in the cars. Everything's the individual seats now, and I prefer the big bench seats.

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  34. Late Q3 ... still 3-0, Dallas ...

    In the meantime Ron Widby and Herman Weaver punted. And also they punted. They dropped back to receive the snap on the same Cotton Bowl field, and each punted. Then Ron Widby took both oars; then Herman Weaver took both oars; then Ron Widby; then Herman Weaver. They punted and they punted.

    I guess this game is fantastic if you're a buff for Tennessee Vols special-teams history. I will say that the pumping up of New Year's Day on CBS does have me pretty psyched, with all of the parade doings and the big bowl games. But the promos for the Charles Kuralt show on walruses aren't helping at all.

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  35. Now it's early Q4, and Dallas is making some hay on the ground. "If the Cowboys go on to win this, they should cut up the game ball and give it to these guards," says Frank Gifford of John Niland and Blaine Nye after giant Nye flattens tiny Barney on a Duane Thomas sweep that advances Dallas to the Detroit 28 ...

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  36. Tom Landry and his messenger tight ends appear to have given up hope in Morton and are just giving the ball back and forth to Thomas and Walt Garrison. It's working--first down at the Detroit 18 ...

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  37. Not Gary Bender but (rest in peace) Frank Glieber: "GARRISON! Down to the 9-yard line! A gain of nine yards, and it will be second-and-1." About nine minutes to go ...

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  38. 192 Cowboys rushing yards today ...

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  39. Detroit was the regular season's top rushing defense in NFL70, "but they are having the best part of their game broken down," says Gifford, right before Thomas slices between right guard Nye and right tackle Rayfield Wright for a first down inside the Lions' 5 ...

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  40. Thomas up the middle to the 3 ... Thomas behind pulling left guard Nye to the 1 ... Garrison over right tackle ... NO! ... the left side of Deroit's defensive line stands up and stagnates rodeo Walt inside the 1 ... Gifford: "What a decision Tom Landry faces on the sideline" ... "There will be no field-goal attempt, as Bob Hayes is coming back on the field ..."

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  41. Linebacker Paul Naumoff and safety Mike Weger combine for the stop as Detroit's defensive line suck away all of Dallas's blockers. 3-0, Cowboys, still!

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  42. A couple of Detroit runs net only about a yard. "I don't know what kind of a call you come up with here," Gifford says. "You've got a third-and-9 situation. You're going to have to throw from your end zone, if you're going to pass. You can anticipate tremendous pass rush. ... This one came from the bench. We'll see what Joe Schmidt wanted ..."

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  43. Dallas defensive tackles Bob Lilly and Jethro Pugh crisscross. Both Detroit guards and the center end up on Lilly, and that leaves a running back, Mel Farr, to stave off Pugh, which he does momentarily. But then George Andrie comes flying toward Greg Landry from the left; Landry tucks the ball, ducks and evades Andrie. And that's enough time for Pugh to get freed from Farr and swallow Landry for the safety.

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  44. Here's what happened down the stretch.

    After a three-and-out possession, Dallas gave the ball back to the Lions with 2:18 to play and a Ron Widby touchback punt. Then there was a Schlitz commercial, and it makes me think about how oddly emotionally jarring it is for an American of my age to see an old, seemingly well-established brand of anything drift away.

    When the Lions came back out, the quarterback was Bill Munson. "I know this must make (Greg Landry) sick," Gifford commented. Munson, who spent years battling Roman Gabriel for the Rams' quarterback job and then years battling Landry for the Lions' start, completed a couple of passes to get Detroit into Dallas territory, including a Cotton Bowl-silencing, fourth-down, 38-yarder to Earl McCullough between Mel Renfro and Cornell Green at the Cowboy 29 with 0:59 to play.

    Spearheaded by George Andrie, however, the "Doomsday" defensive line continued to pressure Munson and force his passes off target. And 12 three plays later, Munson overthrew McCullough over the middle, and this time Renfro intercepted. "McCullough one-hands it," Gifford describes against the instant replay. "Renfro one-hands it, too, but he holds on to it."

    Dallas wins, 5-0.

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  45. Landry had completed five of 12 passes for 48 yards. He fumbled twice. Munson was two of eight for 44 yards. He had the interception.

    For Dallas, Morton completed four of 18 passes for 38 yards, and he was intercepted once.

    Gifford suggested the game ball be split among Coach Landry and the five Dallas offensive linemen: left tackle Ralph Neely, right tackle Wright, guards Niland and Nye and center Dave Manders.

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  46. Also, before the post-game interviews, Dick Stockton mistakenly referred to Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan as "Henry" Jordan (Henry Jordan was the Packer defensive tackle who went to work getting Sly and the Family Stone to come and play at the Milwaukee musical festival). I'm sure that went over great.

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  47. Earlier on the day after Christmas 1970, "the Bengals--like their baseball counterparts, the Reds--had journeyed to Baltimore and departed a loser." Colts 17, Bengals 0. Cincinnati's Virgil Carter was limited to seven completions in 20 passes, for 64 yards and an interception. Baltimore's Johnny Unitas hit on only six of 17, but he was still the quarterback of the day as his makes resulted in 145 yards and two scores.

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  48. In the earlier game on Sunday, Dec. 27, my Dolphins lost, 21-14, in Oakland.

    Back in the third week of the regular season, Miami hosted the Raiders and won, 20-13. That was the second of a four-game win streak for the Dolphins after a season-opening loss. The Raiders, meanwhile, fell to 0-2-1. Then everybody went nuts for George Blanda, and Oakland ripped off six wins and a tie. And everybody started calling for John Stofa, and Miami lost three straight before Don Shula figured out his guys and the Dolphins closed with three consecutive wins. That's pretty much what got these two teams to Oakland on Dec. 27.

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  49. Miami's starting offensive skill-position players on this Sunday in late 1970 are Griese, running backs Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick, wide receivers Howard Twilley and Paul Warfield and tight end Marv Fleming. The first four of those guys were drafted by Miami. Before this season, the Dolphins picked up Warfield from Cleveland to catch passes and Fleming from Green Bay to block. Both were former NFL champions.

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  50. Miami's offensive-line starters in the 1970 playoff game were center Carl Mauck, guards Bob Kuechenberg and Larry Little and tackles Doug Crusan and Norm Evans. All of these guys except Kuechenberg were around when Shula arrived. Three of them--Evans, Kuech and Little--will all start for Miami in the undefeated season, and the other two offensive-line starters in Super Bowl VII, center Jim Langer and tackle Wayne Moore, are already on the roster by the 1970 playoffs.

    Langer and Little, incidentally, are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and there's an annual push to get Kuechenberg in there, too. He came to the Dolphins on waiver in the offseason before the 1970 season after being drafted and cut by the Eagles, cut by the Falcons and then playing the 1969 season with the Chicago Owls of the Continental Football League.

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  51. An on defense, eight of the Dec. 27, 1970, starters--all of the linebackers (Nick Buoniconti, Mike Kolen and Doug Swift); all of the defensive backs (corners Curtis Johnson and Lloyd Mumphord and safeties Dick Anderson and Jake Scott) and defensive end Bill Stanfill--will start Super Bowl VII.

    That all adds up to Shula's having 16 of his 22 Super Bowl VII starters in place at the end of his first year with the Dolphins, plus kicker Garo Yepremian, punter Larry Seiple and kick returner Mercury Morris. That's pretty good.

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  52. Blanda bonked a field-goal try off the uprights, and then Griese zipped a 16-yard touchdown pass to Warfield between Willie Brown and Dave Grayson. "And seven points could win in this mud," surmises John Facenda in the NFL Films production on the Raiders' season.

    Instead, the Raider defense starts throwing Griese all over the muddy field. Daryle "The Mad Bomber" Lamonica flings scoring passes of 22 and 82 yards, and "Old Man Willie" Brown returns a Griese interception 50 yards for a score. The final was 21-14.

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  53. The last game of the weekend was San Francisco at Minnesota. This is one of those beautiful, long-shadows, see-the-players-breath, snow-piled-in-the-corners games for which Metropolitan Stadium became famous. But here's the funny thing about this game: The 49ers won. San Francisco had three turnovers against the defending National champs, but Minnesota had four, and it was the visitors from California who won in December in Minneapolis, 17-14. Gary Cuozzo completed only nine of 27 passes and ended up with a passer rating of 33.9 in the game.

    It's going to be interesting to see what Bud Grant does at quarterback in NFL71. The split that ended up with Joe Kapp in Boston after NFL69 sure didn't seem to work out for anyone involved.

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  54. Earlier in the afternoon of Jan. 3, 1971, the Colts beat the Raiders, 27-17. Here's Pat Summerall with the highlights after a moment with Mel Sharples for Edge shaving gel.

    It's amazing to Hoptown 1971 me that Joe Namath and Hank Stram are home and Johnny Unitas has won the "AFC" Championship. You never know. We always think we know, and sometimes we luck out and turn out to guess right, but we never know.

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  55. Pat Summerall has been talking in this 49ers-Cowboys game about how well Steve Spurrier has been punting lately, and this makes me so happy.

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