SPORTSPEAK It was Richard (Stonewall) Nixon who made the sports cliche a part of the culture at-large in the 70s. Nixon, with his "game plan" for the Vietnam war and his "Operation Linebacker" for the secret bombing of Cambodia and his play-calling for the Redskins. This review of '70s "sportspeak" is dedicated to him.
BASEBALL: "He really used to be able to bring it, but he's lost a yard off his heater." "He threw it in my wheelhouse and I got all of it; I took him downtown for the dinger."
FOOTBALL: "He's got good foot-speed, 4.5 for the 40, and I like his lateral mobility. If we switch from the pro set to the bone, he can put points on the board." "He audibilized at the line, took a deep drop and had that quick release -- when the slot back found the crease in the seam he looked it in and he was gone."
BASKETBALL: "I can sky, I can board and I can fill it up." "I threw a move on that chump and lit him up; I positively ate his lunch."
AND WHO COULD FORGET: "Hang time." "Wild card." "Go-for-it kind of guy." "We're a pass-orientated team." "I can't tell you till I look at the films." "In your face." "Flex defense." "Nickel defense." "PRE-vent defense." "DEE-fense." "He's some kind of athlete." "A 42-inch vertical leap." "Bump and run." "Illegal chuck." "Good velocity." "Wham-bam-slam-jam."
IS THE CAMERA ON ME? "Hi, Mom." "No. 1." 70s U.S. PRIME SUPERSTARS Muhammad Ali; Billie Jean King; Joe Namath; O. J. Simpson; Reggie Jackson; Julius Erving. THE ANTE-PRENULTIMATE SPORTS QUOTE Muhammad Ali to Howard Cosell: "I'm not as dumb as you look." NAME GAME MATCH THESE FAMOUS FIRST NAMES WITH THESE FAMOUS LAST NAMES (TABLE) George(COLUMN) Dennis(COLUMN) Magic(COLUMN) John(COLUMN) Ollie(COLUMN) Mickey(COLUMN)Johnson Marques(COLUMN) Charles(COLUMN) Eddie(COLUMN) White Shoes(COLUMN)(END TABLE) NAME GAME REDUX (TABLE) Bert(COLUMN) Larry(COLUMN) Wali(COLUMN) Randy(COLUMN) Bobby(COLUMN) Ham(COLUMN)Jones Jam(COLUMN) Lam(COLUMN) Caldwell(COLUMN) K. C.(COLUMN)(END TABLE) THE ULTIMATE SPORTS QUOTE Beryl Shipley, coach of the Southwestern Louisiana basketball team, after the NCAA accused his program of more than 200 recruiting violations: "Aw, most of 'em were nickel and dime stuff." FLOP OF THE DECADE The World Football League No question about it. When professional football was said to be at its zenith, the World Football League started its operation in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadlephia and Los Angeles and ended up in Shreveport, Birmingham, Charlotte and Orlando. It not only lost money, but it failed to place a single franchise in the NFL. It made no significant contributions to sport and was, in retrospect, silly. HONORABLE MENTIONS World Team Tennis; National Boxing League; Full Contact, Karate League; National Lacrosse League; Pro Softball; Women's Basketball Association; Pro Track; Major Indoor Soccer League; Women's Pro Football League. ESOTERIC CATEGORIES MOST ACTIVE FIGHTER: Billy Martin. FISHERMEN OF THE DECADE: Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider. GIMME MONEY: Charles O. Finley. GIMME PLAYERS: George Steinbrenner. GIMME SHELTER: Joe Gilliam. GIMME A BREAK: Diana Nyad. THINGS GO BETTER WITH: Don Reese, Randy Crowder, Bob Hayes. THREE BRICKS SHY OF A LOAD: Evel Knievel. SOCIAL CLIMBER OF THE DECADE: George Willig. CHANGE PARTNERS AND DANCE AWARD PART ONE: Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. CHANGE PARTNERS AND DANCE PART TWO: Renee Richards. ABDUL AGAIN NATURALLY: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Zaid Abdul-Aziz, Abdul Rahman. ALMOST ABDUL AGAIN NATURALLY: M. L. Carr, who, when he became a Detroit Piston, said, "I'm thinking of changing my name to Abdul Automobile." YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS: Too Tall Jones. YES I CAN: Janet Guthrie. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO: Bob Seagren, Bobby Fischer, Jim Plunkett, Bernice Gera, Tony Waldrop, John Aki-Bua, Denny McLain, Rich Mount, Anthony Davis, Johnny Rodgers, The Pittsburgh Condors, Roy Rubin, Orville Moody, Fred (The Hammer) Williamson, Ernie D., Laura Baugh, Tinker Owens, Dave Wottle, Sonny Hill, Canonero II, The Hawaii Leis, Mary Bacon, Clint Longley and Margaret Court. TAKE TWO ASPIRIN, CALL ME NEXT MONTH: Bert Jones. TAKE TWO ASPIRIN, CALL ME NEXT YEAR: Bill Walton. TAKE TWO ASPIRIN, CALL ME IN TWO YEARS: Mark Fidrych. DON'T CALL ME, I'LL CALL YOU: Don Gullett. KNOWS WHEN TO HOLD 'EM, KNOWS WHEN TO FOLD 'EM: Dave DeBusschere, Jack Pardee. KNOWS WHEN TO WALK AWAY, KNOWS WHEN TO RUN: John Havlicek. DIDN'T KNOW: Joe Namath, Walt Frazier. REALLY DON'T KNOW: Willie Mays. DOESN'T KNOW: Joe Morgan. THEN AGAIN, YOU NEVER KNOW: Gordie Howe. OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PURSUING BABE RUTH'S RECORD: Hank Aaron. HANK WHO ? Sadaharu Oh. GIVE THE DEVIL HIS DUE: Bobby Knight. BUT DON'T GET CARRIED AWAY: Woody Hayes. EASY COME, EASY GO: Leon Spinks. HOW CAN YOU TAKE 'EM SERIOUSLY WHEN THEY CALL THEMSELVES: The Dips. MAY THE BIRD OF PARADISE FLY UP YOUR NOSE: Bob Short. FOOLS RUSH IN: Ann Meyers. I TOLD YOU SO: John Dean. MAYBE I SHOULDN'T HAVE TOLD YOU SO: Lefty Driesell. POINT SYSTEMS FOR HITTING JOGGERS
ONE POINT -- Anyone in old fashioned sweatsuit.
TWO POINTS -- Anyone in warm-up suit.
FIVE POINTS -- Anyone in warm-up suit with color coordinated sweatbands and day-glo jogging shoes.
TEN POINTS -- Any couples in matching Bill Rodgers' $65 warm up suits, or in matching Frank Shorter $25 shorts.
TWENTY POINTS -- Bill Rodgers or Frank Shorter.
FIFTY POINTS -- Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter.
ONE HUNDRED POINTS -- James Fixx, with or without his American Express card. 70s U.S. CHOICE SUPERSTARS Jack Nicklaus; Willie Mays; Henry Aaron; Bobby Orr, Chris Evert Lloyd; Nancy Lopez; Pete Rose; Jerry West; Oscar Robertson. 70s U.S. GOOD SUPERSTARS Bruce Jenner; Dorothy Hamill; Sugar Ray Leonard; Tom Seaver; Jim Palmer; Jim Rice; George Foster; rod Carew; Dave Parker; Carl Yastrzemski; Nolan Ryan; Joe Morgan; Walter Payton; Fran Tarkenton; Earl Campbell; all the starters on the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys; Bill Walton; Kareem Abdul-Jubbar; David Thompson; Pete Maravich; Rich Barry; John Havlicek; Moses Malone. 70s U.S. STANDARD SUPERSTARS Everyone who has appeared on Monday Night Football. All the starters in the NBA. All 30-goal scorers in the NHL and all Stanley Cup cahmpion goalies. All hitters who bat more than .280 or hit 20 home runs a year. All pitchers who win more than 18 games or savw more than 25. Also, everyone else who makes more than $250,000 a year wearing special shoes. And everyone else. DON'T ASK ME WHY, BUT THINGS COME IN THREES NEVER BORING: Al McGuire; Arthur Ashe; Jim Palmer ALWAYS BORING: Dan Devine; Jimmy The Greek; Bruce Jenner. CRIMINALLY BORING: Title 9; Chris Schenkel, Bowie Kuhn. AWESOME: Darryl Dawkins; Secretariat; Cheryl Tiegs. ALWAYS COMPLAINING: Elvin Hayes; Robert Irsay; Shirley Babashoff. NEW THINGS IN THE LOCKER ROOM: Hair dryers; Women; Born Agains. MISSED THE 70s: Hank Stram and the offense of the 70s; Curt Flood; Washington Capitals. LOOKING FOR WORK: George Allen; The Shah; Hollywood Henderson. BITTER: Duane Thomas; Jack Scott; The Over The Hill Gang. SLIPPERY: Don King; Bob Arum; Frank Kush. SIGNIFICANT TRENDS: Sliding Gloves; Spiking; Chickens. TERMINALLY CUTE: Nadia Comaneci; Dorhty Hamill; Tracy Austin. BEER LITE BEER COMMERCIALS: Bubba Smith and the easy opening cans; Steve Mizerak just showing off; Hey, you're Boog Powell. ENOUGH ALREADY: "The radar gun has gim at 93 miles an hour," "All right, Jayne Kennedy, you spent some time with Franco Harris, why don't you tell us about it?" "Oh, wasn't that lovely? Just a magnificent golf shot." SOME 70s WINNERS John Wooden; Earl Weaver; Bear Bryant; Al McGuire; Joe Paterno; Tom Landry; Chuck Noll; Don Shula; Jack Ramsay; Hubie Brown; Fred Shero; Scotty Bowman; Jack Nicklaus; Nancy Lopez; Muhammad Ali; Joe Frazier; Sugar Ray Leonard; Forego; Secretariat; Steve Cauthen; Affirmed; Olga Korbut; Nadia Comaneci; John Walker; Lasse Viren; East Germany; Edwin Moses; Adidas; Puma; Teofilo Stevenson; Alberto Juantorena; Kornelia Ender; Pittsburgh; Franz Klammer; Bill Bradley; Jack Kemp; Marvin Miller; Catfish Hunter; Reggie Jackson; Tom Seaver; Ron Guidry; Willie Stargell; Pete Rose; Johnny Bench; Terry Bradshaw; Tony Dorsett; Lynn Swann; Willis Reed; Wes Unseld; Bill Walton; Dolphins; Steelers; Cowboys; Canadiens; Sooners; Chris Evert Lloyd; Bjorn Borg; Leon Spinks; Oakland A's; Mark Spitz. SOME 70s LOSERS Dwight Stones; ACC basketball; Big 10 football; Pete Maravich; George Foreman; Tom Weiskopf; Alydar; Norm Ellenberger; Caps; New Orleans; Vikings; Kevin Porter; Boris Spassky; Curt Flood; Diane deLeeuw; Red Sox; Jim Ryun; D.C. baseball; Danny Ozark; Ronnie Franklin; Viriginia Wade; Paul Brown; Sham; Spec Richardson; Marvin Barnes; Joe Kapp; Duane Bobick; Bernard King; Bud Wilkinson; Bobby Murcer; Bobby Bonds; New York Giants; Chicago; Stan Wright; Jim Hart; Jerry Quarry; George Allen; Steve Grogan; Spiro Agnew; Bobby Riggs; Skylab; Northwestern; Brad Corbett; Roy Boe; Calvin Griffith; NBA on CBS; Leon Spinks; Oakland A's; Mark Spitz. GREAT SPORTS MEDIA HYPES OF THE 70s
1. Evel Knievel Jumps Snake River Canyon; half the people watching wanted him to make it, half wanted him to die trying. He neither made it nor died, satisfying no one.
2. Muhammad Ali "Fights" Antonio Inoki: For what seemed an eternity this guy Inoki crawled around on his back like a crab, kicking at Ali, trying to trip him. When it was over Ali said, "You couldn't pay me enough to do it again." Mostly because no one in the world would pay anything to see it again.
3. Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs: It may well have been the most important athletic step for women in history, and the smartest bet Riggs ever made; supposedly he bet on King. COMEBACK OF THE DECADE Professional baseball. No question about it. It started with the end of the Vietnam War and continued through the end of the decade. Sociologists will offer a variety of reasons including the turning away from war and those para-military sports such as football and hockey, and the return of traditional values. Baseball remains the only sport with meaningful and historical statistics, the only sport without an artificial time limit and the only sport that stands still long enough for us to care about. Not only was baseball the comeback sport of the '70s, but it also gave us the comeback individuals of the decade -- Jim Bouton and Tommy John. MEMORABLE SPORTING EVENTS OF THE 70s Trick category. Perhaps there were some. If someone held a gun to my head I could come up with a few, such as Secretariat winning by 35 lenghts in The Belmont Stakes, Henry Aaron hitting No. 715, Reggie Jackson's three final-game Series homers, the Red Sox-Yankees playoff, North Carolina going two overtimes to beat UCLA when Walton was a senior, some Bowl game (I think either Alabama or Norte Dame -- or possibly both were in them; I foregt), the Philadelphia mile where Marty Liquori beat Jim Ryun and all three Ali-Frazier fights.
We have television to thank for all of us seeing all of them. We also have television to thank for "Battle of the NFL Cheerleaders," "Demolition Derby at Islip Speedway," "World Wrist Wrestling Championship" and someday, perhaps, "All-Pro Linebackers Dress Up As Women and Eat Crates of Pantyhose." Because television is a business, and because televising sporting events is money in the bank, television televises virtually every sporting event -- it even makes up trashsports to televise. It has no selectivity, and consequently it devalues everything. Announcers invariably end a telecast by saying, "If you think this is good, wait next time when we go up close and personal at The Bluebonnet Bowl."
Because of TV, "memorable" no longer lasts forever, it only lasts until tomorrow. TRIVIA CONTEST
1. Name any 35 people that Billy Martin punched out in the 70s
2. The Dallas Chapparals once started four players who were named Jones -- how many of them went on to become Supreme Court Justices?
3. Which famous athlete said, "If I could sum up my philosophy in one word, it would be pride and determination"?
4. How many players in the National Hockey League graduated from grade school, eh?
5. There are 465 players in the North American Soccer League from Croatia -- where is Croatia?
6. Which is higher: Evel Knievel's I.Q. or the number of products endorsed by Bruce Jenner?
7. Within 100, how many of Tom Lasorda's close personal friends have hosted The Tonight Show?
8. The slogan of The National Lacrosse League Was: a) You've got to be mean to play box lacrosse; b) You've got to be out of your mind to play box Lacrosse; c) You've got to be a convicted felon to play box lacrosse; d) You don't have to be able to spell "cat" to play box lacrosse.
9. True or false: When he was fired, Woody Hayes said, "I don't know whether to kill myself or go bowling."
10. When Pete Rose says a man watns to smell like a man -- exactly what does a man smell like?
Bonus. What color are joe Paterno's eyes? THE ULTIMATE LIST TEN SUPERSTARS WHO CHANGED THE FACE OF SPORTS IN THE 70s: 1. Howard Cosell 2. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders 3. Peter Seitz 4. Gary Davidson 5. Roone Arledge 6. Jerry Kapstein 7. The Chicken 8. Muhammad Ali 9. Sylvester Stallone 10. (tie) Anyone in a Lite Beer commercial and Phyllis George