Sunday, January 19, 2014

Swashbuckler Sunday: NFC Championship Edition

While I'm a Buccaneer fan at heart, I've also been a lifelong fan of Seattle. Growing up, it was easy for me to be a 'Hawks fan; after all, I've lived my entire life in the pacific northwest, and, along with Denver, we have a legion of fans here locally. The Seahawks' move back to the NFC West in 2002 was a tough pill for me to swallow, knowing that they were now in the same conference as the Bucs. So while Tampa is at home this championship Sunday, at least I have a vested interest in the NFC title game.

I've always been a highly competitive person. In fact, at my wife's wedding shower, my sister gave her advice during one of their activities: "don't play games with my brother because he hates to lose."
Well, my wife didn't take her advice, and has played games with the kids and I over the years. And while I still hate to lose, I don't let it affect my emotions. Well, not on board games, anyways. When it comes to my favorite sports teams, well, that's a different matter...

I remember watching the game depicted on the 1980 Topps #493 card. I was a ten-year old who was in his third year of being a Bucs fan. Of course, there was little for Bucs fans to cheer about prior to the 1979 season. But that season, it was... magical. After a red-hot start, the team finally came back to earth, but only needed one win to clinch the division with four games remaining. After three unsuccessful attempts, they finally clinched the division in the final week of the regular season in a 3-0 win over the Chief, in what had to be one of the worst rainstorms in NFL history. After upsetting the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs, Tampa hosted the Rams to decide who would go on to the Super Bowl. Our neighbors came over for some snacks and conversation while my friend Erik and I watched the game. Thankfully, our friends had left before the game ended because I was so disappointed by the loss that I cried like a baby. It's really the first memory I have of having that bitter taste of defeat. While I didn't like losing in little league up to that point, I hadn't experienced outright disappointment like that loss.

BTW- can anyone explain to me why Topps allowed part of the Rams logo on helmets during this time period, when the rest of the league didn't have theirs included? I understand there was licensing issues going on, but a partial logo? It's crazy.

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