Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Pro Bowl, My Best Friend, and John Madden

I can't believe I put up that stupipd Pro Bowl post without finishing it. The whole reason I wrote about the game in the first place is because I have an actual Pro Bowl memory. You see, I exaggerated a bit when I wrote that no one cares about the game. I'm sure the players cared more once upon a time when they made very little money and worked off-season jobs. Winning meant a winner's share and every little bit helped back then. And besides the players, Past Interference actually cared! It's true. On January 20, 1974, a young me cared. My best friend Lewis and I watched with great interest. We were huge Dolphin fans and among those Dolphins on the AFC roster was my then-favorite player Bob Griese. I was excited. Nobody told me it was a worthless exhibition. The AFC's other Pro Bowl quarterback was Kenny Stabler. And to mine and Lewis' consternation AFC coach John Madden chose to play Stabler for the entire first half! Jerk! We couldn't understand it. Griese had just won his second straight Super Bowl. Stabler was a loser. What was going on? Obviously Madden, the coach of the hated Oakland Raiders, was playing favorites by giving all the glory to his boy the Snake while letting poor gallant Bob Griese waste away on the sidelines. And the AFC trailed at the half thanks to stupid Madden's decision to play Stabler and Stabler only. It made no sense.

Being clever little boys, Lewis and I took matters into our own hands and struck back the only way we knew how. We adapted the then-current Wrigley's Spearmint Gum jingle for our own purposes. The commercial may have hyped "Wrigley's Spearmint Gum, Gum, Gum" but two young budding songsmiths brilliantly repurposed it to say "Coach is very dumb, dumb, dumb". Funny stuff huh? As fate would have it, Madden played Griese for the entire second half. I suppose that might have been his plan all along but I'm sticking with my favoritism theory! Anyway, being the superior quarterback Griese led the AFC to a comeback 15-13 win and the hero of the game was another Dolphin, Garo Yepremian. He accounted for his team's points, kicking five field goals including the game-winner with 21 seconds left. Sweet. Truly we witnessed a football classic that day.

I searched YouTube in vain for that old 1974 Wrigley's commercial. But in the process I turned up something way better: a 90's Russian version of the commercial that has the same basic jingle! The collapse of communism just keeps on giving.

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