"Holy Toledo!"

July 6, 2011

Top 10 Reasons To Watch Vintage Sports Videos

Filed under: A.F.L., Baseball, NFL, Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders, Vintage Sports Video — Bill @ 1:51 pm

Since the day I brought home my first VCR from Macy’s in 1983 I’ve been collecting sports on video. What started with taping a few drag races led me to NFL then later to baseball. As a result of my collection through the power of the Internet I’ve met some very nice people from all over the world, and I was the subject of an article by ESPN The Magazine. People who don’t understand my hobby often ask me why I like to watch old games. After explaining it yet again I came up with a good idea for an article. Since the bulk of collectors keep NFL & MLB games I figured this article should not discuss vintage racing video, but some of the same principles apply.

Top 10 Reasons To Watch Vintage Sports Videos:

#10- Pregame shows, Halftime, & Postgame shows. For a kid there was great excitement in hearing “This is the NFL Today on CBS with Brent Musburger, Phyllis George, Irv Cross, & Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder. It meant it was almost game time and you were always curious what The Greek thought your team’s chances were this week. We could always learn something interesting from “The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola”. The postgame show has provided us with many memorable moments. “Just Win Baby”, Bill Walsh speechless & in tears following his final game Super Bowl XXIII, telephone calls from various Presidents, & “How “bout them Cowboys”. My personal favorite postgame was GrandStand brought to you by Sperry-Rand on NBC. I still miss Pete Axthelm. Some have no idea that during the halftime of football games we would actually get to see a marching band (always my Grandma’s favorite part). No pre or postgame could ever compare with the huge popularity of the halftime highlights with Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. Yes it’s always fun to see these moments again.

#9- Vintage baseball provides something unique to those other sports, a glimpse into an era.. Watch the 1972 World Series and not only do you get to see the long haired, mustache wearing Oakland A’s, you also get the almost ‘50’s looking clean cut Cincinnati Reds. Now look carefully in the crowd and check out the wide lapels, garish colors, puffy afros & bell-bottoms that defined the 1970’s.

#8- The commercials. Yes those irritating things we now flip thru on our DVR, or never thought much of at the time can now be quite entertaining to watch. The Pabst Blue Ribbon bear, Olympia beer “It’s the water & a lot more”, old car commercials featuring the infamous K Car from Chrysler, or the Ford Pinto. The Marlboro Man, the Bud Bowl, “Tastes great, Less filling”, old players promoting the United Way, “Let Noxema (& Farrah Fawcett) cream your face so the razor won’t”, and of course the most famous of all sports commercials the Joe Greene “Here kid” Coke commercial. Not all old games include the commercials but the ones that do are usually sought after.

#7- Record-breaking performances are always fun to watch, whether it be a single game feat like Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIii, a single-season record such as Dan Marino’s TD pass record in ’84, or a record smashing single game outburst like that of Doug Williams in the 2nd quarter of Super Bowl XXII. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be about a record breaker, instead it’s about an individual achievement far beyond mere mortal men, like the night Earl Campbell had against the Dolphins in 1978 on MNF. Despite everything I still would enjoy watching the game that was played on December 16th 1973 on a snowy day in New York when OJ went over 2000 yards, but alas I’m not sure that actual broadcast exists on video.

#6- Hearing the voices of the great announcers we grew up listening to is always nice. The classic deep tones of CBS’s Ray Scott, the men who brought us Baseball’s Game of the Week, Curt Gowdy & Tony Kubek. For the younger generation it was Summerall & Madden, or Enberg & Merlin Olsen. Perhaps the most famous, or infamous depending on your point of view was the cast of Monday Night Football, Howard Cosell, Dandy Don Meredith & Frank Gifford. These voices did more than just describe a sporting event, they seemed like invited guests into our home.

#5- Sometimes for a multitude of reason you would simply miss seeing a game. Maybe you had an aunt’s birthday party to attend, or maybe the reason you never saw the telecast was because you were actually at the game. Before the days we could program a vcr the idea of watching a game at a later time simply wasn’t possible. Because of our hobby one can now finally see that game you missed. It took me 27 years before I was finally able to watch the NFL’s highest scoring game, the 1983 MNF game in which Green Bay defeated Washington 48-47. Because of an obligation with my future ex-wife I completely missed the 1981 NFC Championship now known as “The Catch”, I’m happy to report that while she is out of my life the dvd of that game is here to stay. I attended my first Raider game on December 6th, 1976. Earlier this year I finally found that actual game broadcast on dvd. Needless to say I enjoyed the hell out of watching all of these games, and I can thank our fellow vintage sports video collectors for that.

#4- Every now and then the unpredictable nature of sports will provide incredible, unbelievable, or against all odds moments. Catching freakish events on video allows one to explain the events that led to the unexplainable. Often the games have names like the Miracle At The Meadowlands, Holy Roller, or the Music City Miracle. While these moments occurred in a blink of an eye having them on dvd allows you to watch them over & over.

#3- For younger sports fans it’s an opportunity to see some of the game’s greatest players in their prime. There is a certain joy in showing a kid the Payton gallop, the ferocious hits of Butkis, Tatum, or Lott, hte power of Earl Campbell, the speed & power of Bo Jackson, or the magic of Joe Montana.

#2- One of the nice things about sports is that it gives you what I call “the timeline of life”. Some of your most memorable moments in sports provide you with a glimpse back in time, knowing exactly where you were, who you were with, & what you were doing at that time. Watching these old games again, reliving the exact same sounds & pictures perhaps in some way allows one to go back to those cherished times.

And finally…

#1- Greatest Games, it’s always fun to relive the greatest games. These are the games that define a sport, the ones you tell your grandkids about, the games that will forever live in your memory. For one side it’s joyous exhilaration, for the other it’s a crushing defeat, for both it is something they will remember forever. Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS Mets at Astros comes to mind, or from that same year “The Drive” when John Elway broke the hearts of the Dog Pound. Gibson’s home run off of The Eck, or the amazing comeback of the Buffalo Bills over the Houston Oilers in the ’92 AFC Wild Card game. These are the games that started the hobby of collecting vintage sports videos.


1 Comment »

  1. Nice Billy! You should be writing for a magazine

    Comment by Nora — July 7, 2011 @ 6:46 am

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