Tag Archives: championship

On This Day In 1993: The Chicago Bulls Won 3rd Straight Title

Twenty One years ago today the visiting Chicago Bulls defeated the Phoenix Suns in game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the series.  The Bulls won by a score of 99-98.    Michael Jordan was the leading scorer in the game with 33 points.  This was the Bulls 3rd consecutive NBA Championship.  This victory further increased Michael Jordan’s legacy as the greatest basketball player ever.  Jordan would later retire in October of 1993.  He would however come back in 1995 to win 3 more NBA Titles.

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Michael Jordan: The Flu Game

In 1997 Michael Jordan had already amassed a career of incredible highlights and amazing records.  He had won 4 NBA titles, awarded as the NBA’s MVP 4 times and named the NBA Finals MVP 4 times.  His legacy was already set to be considered one of the greatest basketball players of all times.  Up to that point he had many memorable moments.  The most notable was the game against the Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs were he made “The Shot” in 1989.  One of the last memorable moments and possibly the biggest of his career came in the 1997 NBA Finals.

On June 11, 1997 the Chicago Bulls took on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the series was tied at 2-2.  The day before the game Michael Jordan became severely ill.  Jordan had a fever and was not able to keep any food down.  He was found in the fetal position by his trainer and was very fatigued.  Many who were close to the situation believed there was no way he would play the next day.

Michael Jordan during "The Flu Game"  (Gety Images"

Michael Jordan during “The Flu Game” (Gety Images”

When the game started Michael Jordan was visibly weak and pale in color.  The Bulls fell to an early 16-point deficit in the second quarter and with Jordan not feeling well were in a hole.  At halftime the score was 53-49 in favor of the Jazz. The third quarter found Jordan on the bench trying to rest and looking in even worse shape than he had at the beginning of the game.  When the fourth quarter began Jordan was back in the game and scored 15 of the Bulls 23 points in the final quarter of the game. The most dramatic plays of the game came in the final minute.  Jordan was able to make a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 88-85 lead with just 25 seconds remaining in the game.  The next play was a dunk by Greg Ostertag of the Jazz which took the Bulls lead to only one point.  The Bulls were able to raise the score again with a dunk by Luc Longley.  With just a few seconds remaining and the Jazz down by 3 points John Stockton was fouled and was now at the free throw line.  He needed to make both free throws for the Jazz to be able to stay in the game.  When he missed the first free throw the game was sealed.  The Bulls had over come this daunting game and won by a score of 90-88.  Michael Jordan then collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms, this image would forever be considered the trademark picture for this game.  Jordan finished the game with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of "The Flu Game"  (Getty Images)

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of “The Flu Game” (Getty Images)

The Bulls would go on to win Game 6 and their 5th NBA Title. It has been reported in later years that he did not have the flu but instead had food poisoning.  Regardless of that fact this game was an incredible show of strength and determination for Michael Jordan.  Jordan will be remembered long after his days on this earth and this game will be considered one of his best for all future generations who will read about him.

The 1967 NFL Playoffs “The Ice Bowl And The First Real Post Season”

The National Football League’s 48th season began on September 17th, 1967.  It was the first season in the history of the NFL to have a playoff after the regular season had ended.  The previous 34 seasons had only included one post season game which was the championship game consisting of two teams with the best record (the NFL champion was the team with the best record during the first 12 seasons of the NFL). The NFL expanded to 16 teams with the newest being the New Orleans Saints.  This allowed for a post season that included a four team playoff for the championship.  The 1967 season paved the way for the current 12 team playoff structure.

The first game of the playoffs took place on December 23 and pitted the Los Angeles Rams against Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.  The game was played at County Stadium in Milwaukee, WI.  The Rams drew first blood with the first touchdown of the game but would give up four consecutive touchdowns before the game was finished. The Packers would win by a score of 28-7.  With that win the Packers were on their way to the NFL Championship Game.

The second playoff game took place at the Cotton bowl in Dalls, TX on December 24th. The teams competing for a trip to the NFL Championship game were the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys won the game in blowout fashion with the final score being 52-17.  With that win the Cowboys would advance to what would become one of the greatest games in NFL history.

The Packers Bart Starr's game winning QB sneak to win the "Ice Bowl" (Getty Images)

The Packers Bart Starr’s game winning QB sneak to win the “Ice Bowl” (Getty Images)

The NFL Championship Game was held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI on December 31st.  The game was dubbed “The Ice Bowl” due to its game time temperature of -15 F, the wind chill was -48 F.  The Cowboys took on the Packers in this epic contest.  This game was a brutal and very close game that went into halftime with the Packers leading 14-10.  The Cowboys took the 17-14 lead with a 50-yard touchdown pass by running back Dan Reeves to wide receiver Lance Renzel in the 4th quarter.  But the biggest play of the game would be one of it last plays.  With just 4:50 remaining in the game the Packers quarterback Bart Starr led his team down the field, Starr would be the man that won the game for the Packers when he ran the ball into the end zone with just seconds remaining on the clock.  The final score was Packers 21 and the Cowboys 17.  To this day it is considered by many the greatest game and from what the players endured and the result on the field there is no arguing that.

The Packers would not only go down in history that year for winning the first ever NFL Playoffs but would also win another important game in their history.  Two weeks after the NFL Championship game the Packers played the American Football League Champions the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.  The Packers would be the victor in that contest as well and continued what is viewed now as a “Dynasty Team”.

The NFL took an important step in their history in 1967.  A step that has lead to some of the most iconic games in the sports history.  Who know the next great NFL Playoff game might be the next.

Ronda Rousey Makes History At UFC 157

Defending 135lb womens champion Ronda Rousey beat Liz Carmouche in the first ever womens bout in the UFC. The victory came in the first round via armbar submission. Which is no surprise because her previous 8 victories were all delivered in the same fashion. There was however a point in the fight that Rousey looked to be in trouble. It came in the first minute of the fight when Carmouche was on Rousey’s back. Carmouche attempted to go for a choke and at one point had Rousey in a neck crank. Rousey stayed patient and was able to get Carmouche off of her and within a matter on minutes had her in an armbar. Carmouche quickly tapped and the fight was over.

Ronda Rousey applies the armbar on Liz Carmouche at UFC 157. (Getty Images)

Ronda Rousey applies the armbar on Liz Carmouche at UFC 157. (Getty Images)

With this fight history was made as it was not only the first womens fight in the UFC’s 20 year history, it was also the main event. Ronda Rousey will now be known as the first ever UFC womens champion. Rousey has definitely set her self up to become a mega star. Within 2 years she has gone from an unknown fighter fighting on low visibility Strickforce on Showtime events to main eventing in the biggest MMA promotion around. This is largely due to the way she has amassed her now 9 victories. All of her victories have come in the first round with an armbar submission, most of which came within under a minute of the fight. She has established the armbar as her finisher much like a pro wrestler has a signature finishing maneuver. This is a gimmick that could take her very far in the sport and also create a legend about her like Mike Tyson had in the 1980’s with his knockout punches.

Ronda Rousey will more than likely fight again by years end. The UFC does not have the other big name womens MMA fighter Chris Cyborg. Cyborg recently signed with Invicta. The UFC does have a fresh crop of talent to build up for her. Its pretty safe to say that her next fight regardless of the opponent will be a big draw. She has developed into a super star the like of which will overshadow the previous Queen of MMA Gina Carrano. It will be exciting to she where this crazy ride Rousey is on will end up.

On This Day In 1993: Michael Jordan Scored His 20,000th Point

Michael Jordan (Getty Images)

Michael Jordan (Getty Images)

Twenty years ago today Michael Jordan hit a scoring milestone in his career.  It was January the 8th, 1993.  The Chicago Bulls were taking on the Milwaukee Bucks at home.  The Bulls won by a score of 120-95.  The Bulls continued on a season that would bring them another NBA title.  During the game Jordan scored his 20,000th career point.  The moment came when Jordan drained a 3 point shot with 5:12 left to go in the game.  He was taken out just seconds later and ended the game with exactly 20,000 points.  He did so in just his 9th NBA season and in his 620th NBA game.

The only other player to reach that scoring mark in a shorter amount time was Wilt Chamberlain.  Chamberlain reached the mark of 20,000 career points in his 499th game.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all time scoring leader with 38,387.  Karl Malone holds the 2nd spot with 36,928 points.  Jordan is in 3rd place with 32,292 career points.

Otto Graham: The Greatest Quarterback Ever

Many modern football fans have never even heard the name Otto Graham.  Decades before Bernie Kosar was taking the Browns through many playoff runs.  Otto Graham was the best quarterback not only in Cleveland but in the NFL.  Years before Jim Brown dominated teams, Otto Graham was dominating the league.  Graham will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.  He was the 1st and possibly the biggest Cleveland sports star ever.

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham started his professional career in Cleveland during the 1946 season.  At the time the Browns played in the All American Football Conference (AAFC).  In that season Graham lead the Browns to their 1st Championship and the team finished with a 12-2 record.  The winning did not stop there.  The Browns went on to win the 1947, 1948 and 1949 AAFC Championship prior to entering the NFL in 1950.  During his first 4 seasons he played in 54 games and had 86 TD’s and 10,085 yards passing in total.  Many people considered the AAFC to be the minor leagues so to speak.  The Browns were not expected to be as dominant in the NFL.

The critics were completely wrong with their assumption.  Graham had almost the same numbers in the NFL as he did in the AAFC.  Graham would play in 72 games in the NFL and have 88 TD’s and 13,499 yards passing.  Graham and the Browns made the Championship game from 1950 to 1955.  In total Graham led the Browns to 10 straight championship games with them winning 7 of them.  The only years during this period where they did not win a championship was 1951, 1952 and 1953.  Their playoff record was 9-3 during those 10 seasons.

Otto Graham retired after the 1955 season.  He retired with 174 TD’s and 23,584 yards passing.  In his career Graham was a 5 time Pro Bowler and was a 7 time First Team All Pro.  He was one of the first inductees into the Hall Of Fame in 1965.

Otto Graham's Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham’s Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham was able to accomplish something that will never happen again by leading his team to 10 straight championship games.  The only other player to come close was Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills made it to the Super Bowl from 1990-1994 but never won any of those games.

There are many names that are discussed when talking about who was the greatest quarterback ever.  Names like Dan Marino, John Elway, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady but none of those players achieved the success that Graham was able to do.  The only argument that any one might have against Graham would be that the playoffs were shorter with less games when he played.  The fact of the matter is he still won those titles and in both leagues.  The only reason that most people do not consider him the best is because they don’t know anything about him or what he did during his career.

As long as the stats and film are around no one can deny his greatness.  For such a short career by today’s standards he really made an impact.  Otto Graham passed away in 2003.  He left a legacy that will never be forgotten, he will live forever in the Hall Of Fame.

Babe Ruth: Hall Of Fame Pitcher?

Babe Ruth is by far the greatest Icon in American sports history.  Some would even argue he is the greatest American Icon period.  Everyone from Grandma to your 5 year old niece or nephew knows who Babe Ruth was.  Most people associate Ruth with his legendary slugging days with the New York Yankees.  Ruth even held the Home Run record in Major League Baseball until Hank Aaron broke that record in the 1970’s.  What many people don’t know is that Ruth had a history before the all of those home runs and before the Yankees.

Babe Ruth while he was with the Boston Red. Getty Images

Babe Ruth while he was with the Boston Red. Getty Images

Babe Ruth made his Major League debut on July 11th, 1914 for the Boston Red Sox.  Ruth won that game; it was the beginning of Ruth’s pitching career.  His pitching career spanned from 1914-1919, all of those seasons with the Boston Red Sox.  Ruth did however pitch 5 games with the Yankees years later and won all 5.  He made the starting rotation for the Sox in 1915 and won 18 games in his first full season.   Ruth started batting in the lineup when not pitching halfway through his time with the Sox.  He had signs of being a great offensive player but was still used primarily as a pitcher.
He went on to have a very respectable pitching career.  He helped pitch the Red Sox to 3 World Series Championships in just 6 seasons.  When Ruth retired he had 94 career wins and a career ERA of 2.28 with 488 strikeouts.  Babe Ruth would be sold to the Yankees in a deal that changed the face of American Sports history.
The Yankees played Babe Ruth in the Outfield and all but ended his pitching career.  There are many people who feel that Ruth could have gone into the Hall Of Fame based on his pitching stats alone.  There is no arguing that Ruth was a great pitcher, but his time in that position pales in comparison to his slugging years.
It really makes you wonder how American Sports would be different if Babe Ruth had not gone to the Yankees and become a baseball hero.  The fact of the matter is as big of an icon Ruth became there would have been no way he would have become so without his years with the Yankees.  The Yankees gave him a grand stage and opportunity to become the Icon he became.  They also surrounded him with other legendary players.

It should not be forgotten just how great Babe Ruth was as an all around baseball player.  While not the most athletic player to grace a baseball field, he was by far the most dynamic.  Ruth was and forever will be America’s first sports legend.