Over the next 6 weeks in the Life Lessons portion of my site, I will open a new series – Game Changers. I will have one blog a week on Game Changers. This is the first and is devoted to explaining the term of Game Changers in a hopefully humorous way!
We all know what a Game Changer is when it comes to sports. The Minneapolis Miracle that happened last week is one of them. SKOL to my in-laws.
When it occurs, the whole momentum of the game is shifted in your team’s favor. A negative game changer is just the opposite. Just to get the flavor of what a game changer is and what it is not, I want to tell you my experience with what I consider the greatest game changing event in all of sport – the Mad Bomber and the Dallas/Washington 1974 Thanksgiving Football Game. It was both a positive and negative game changer for me.
What is a Game Changer?
I was only 11 at the time but I remember it like it was yesterday. We were sitting in our home in New Jersey after a big Thanksgiving Dinner. My Dad, Big D, a transplanted Texan from Dallas (hence Big D) was sitting in his easy chair distraught. I was pacing back and forth as I would do in a crucial game. In contrast, my great Uncle John who recently turned 80, was sitting on the couch snoring after too much turkey.
My Dad and I were up in arms because the Cowboys were down 16-3 late in the third quarter and Roger Staubach, the Hall of Fame Quarterback was knocked out of the game. The Cowboys had to win the game to win the playoffs. In walks the Cowboys untested rookie Clint Longley, the Mad Bomber. He drove the Cowboys down the field twice and got them within 7 points with only 28 seconds remaining. But the Mad Bomber was not done and what happened next changed the course of the game and my personal Thanksgiving. Clint reared back and threw a 70 year pass to a wide open Drew Pearson. He was so wide open because no one thought the Mad Bomber could throw 40 yards let alone 70.
The Touchdown changed the trajectory of the game (in a positive way) and the Thanksgiving evening (in a negative but albeit hilarious way). Big D, a crazy Cowboy fan, jumped up in the air with his fist raised high and inadvertently (or maybe advertently) smashed our Longhorn lamp hanging from the ceiling. This sent glass shattering and the Longhorns horns (yes like Bevo) attached to the light crashing to the ground. This of course promptly woke up my Uncle John from his turkey induced sleep and got him so upset him that my Aunt Marie had to take him home and get him a tranquilizer. Next my Dad grabbed me and lifted me in the air (I was a lot lighter back then); accidentally hitting my head on the entryway as we jumped up and down victoriously and causing a big gash and a slight concussion. And, that my friends is a game changer! The Cowboys were in the playoffs when all was thought loss and our sleepy Thanksgiving had turned decidedly lively to say the least! Next week will be the first Game Changer!