Once again we enjoy the finality of yet another great season. The winners who will bask in the sunlight of their glory, while the losers who had made their way through the ranks will return only to work upon, how and why they lost. Recollect them selves and ponder on what it will take to be the VICTOR LUDORUM, next year.
I well remember my first encounter with American football going with my father as an invited guest of General Dynamics, to watch a game at Amon Carter football field in Fort Worth. As an Englishman, it took me most of the game to even understand what was actually happening. Two teams, one comes on, and another goes off? Most peculiar? TCU was playing the Arkansas Razorbacks, and it was clear the overwhelming superiority of the Razorbacks in 1967 was far in excess of the ‘Horned Frogs.’ A very different experience to the game of Rugby, which I had played in my school years. The equipment worn by the players, gave one the impression this was a battlefield, and don’t be out there unless you know exactly what you’re doing!
In any event I became extremely intrigued with the sport. I watched and attended many games to learn and ask questions to my good friends, the Perkins family, so that I could become the ardent admirer of the sport, that I am today.
The game that inspired me the most was a match played at Lambeau Stadium on December 31st 1967. A game in which the Dallas Cowboys with only minutes to go had the game almost wrapped up at 17-14. The conditions were deplorable, players sliding about in the snow in sub zeros temperatures. After arriving in Dallas on June 9th of that year I could hardly believe the change in seasons between, summer and winter. Although I had put up with the damp and rainy winters of southern England growing up, these temperature variations were something to behold! Then in the last moments of the game Green Bay pulled out a touch down to put the score to 21-17 Green Bay. I was so mad that I got up and stomped around the room for at least ten minutes, and grabbed another beer to get over my disbelief. No wonder it became known as the ‘Ice Bowl’, playing against the great coach Vince Lombardi. I always remember his great saying, ‘I never lost a game, I just ran out of time!’ It was then I knew I was truly hooked.
Yes, you can say it again, ‘Is not over, ‘til it’s over!’ What a fantastic game. From that moment on, I have become a tremendous fan.
I so enjoyed the Landry years, his class and demeanor added to the Dallas Cowboys that extra dignity that has made them become ‘America’s team’. Revered and watched by many throughout the world especially the Brits, like myself. The great years of the 70’s, with the Doomsday Defense, of Bob Lilly, Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Harvey Martin, Randy White and Leroy Jordan. The Offence, with its famous shotgun offence of Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Mel Renfro, Drew Pearson, Billy Joe Dupree, Walt Garrison, and the list goes on.
Another team that I have been a great fan of is the ‘San Francisco 49er’s, The greatest come back quarter back ever, Joe Montana, his cool countenance worked well with the modest, but determined stewardship of coach Bill Walsh, and as for Gerry Rice, and Dwight Clark what game changers! Another great Texan, Terry Bradshaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers, also had their moments of poetry, with two great wide receivers, Lynn Swan and John Stallworth.
I searched for teams that possessed finesse. Yes, a team needs power, big players, force it’s all part of the game, or is it? Give me fast mid sized players, who are agile and tackle low, are fit beyond belief, and I believe with a well thought out strategy you will have an unbeatable force. Okay, yes may be one or two big boys to intimidate the opposition, but to me its all about speed of execution. High tackling is necessary on occasion, but the coaches we had in Rugby would flick us with steel centered rubber flip sticks, because tackling high was considered being a ‘sissy’! The same for the Offence, one two, move the ball in the air or on the ground, when the defense doesn’t know what the offence is going to do, you win games. Anyway what do I know? Just part of the strategies we had as Rugby players.
I was proud to have my son go to TCU and pass out honorably. The ‘Horned Frogs,’ quite a different team today!
Thank you America, football has been one of the great sports to enjoy on this side of the ocean, and has gained another proud and loyal follower in both college and pro football.
Here’s looking forward to many more great and talented players, and another season!