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February 5, 2010 8:25 AM

Watching Super Bowls on the Radio...

art rust.jpgTomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of my 20th birthday.

This, of course, means that it will be a hot time in the ol' Grill Room tomorrow night. It also means that I have been around for all 44 renditions of the Super Bowl and then some.

And this pathetic admission: I have seen all but two of these contests, and the two I didn't get to see, I was fortunate enough to 'watch' on the radio.

That last part is a nod to Art Rust Jr. (pictured), who passed away last month at the age of 82. Rust was one of the great radio sports-talkers of all time, and used to regale his audience about how he grew up watching games on the radio...

You are missed but not forgotten, Art.


The first of my radio-only Super Bowls was due to an unfortunate call by my father, who scheduled an impromptu field trip to Sandy Hook Lighthouse (N.J.) the very day Joe Willy's Jets put the biggest upset ever on Earl Morrall and Johnny U's Colts.
It was a balmy January day, but there was still no excuse for being anywhere but in front of your TV set if you lived in the New York area, watching the Jets take apart the Colts, 16-7.

After Lombardi's, old-guard Packers had rolled in the first two Super Bowls, the win by the upstart Jets ensured that the Super Bowl from that time forward would become sports' super event.

I remember listening to that one while seething in the backseat of our red station wagon on the way home, as the late, great Marty Glickman called the greatest upset ever over the local airwaves.

Boy, I was pissed off about that one for a solid year, until the next Super Sunday when my dad pretty much made up for it by taking me and my best buddy to some bar/restaurant that had one of them, thar new-fangled big-screen TVs and all the popcorn and Cokes a kid could wolf down while watching the big game.

Even better, Hank Stram's Chiefs (always a favorite of mine) matriculated the ball up and down the field against Minnesota's Purple People Eaters, and whipped the Vikings but good.
That was Super Bowl IV.

I was a sailor stationed on the USS Trenton LPD-14, when I watched my second Super Bowl on the radio. Thankfully we were on liberty call in Barcelona, when we found some bar that was pulling in 1979's match-up between the the Cowboys and Steelers.

For some, bizarre reason (must have been money) I was actually rooting for the Cowboys. I remember that when Jackie Smith dropped that pass from Roger Staubach in the end zone in the third quarter, I fell to the floor with a thud. Of course the cerveza might have also had something to do with that, but how-in-the-world did he drop that ball?!
Of course, the Steelers went on to win that one, their third Super Bowl victory, 35-31.
I don't remember ever rooting for the Cowboys for any reason again...

And also I haven't watched a Super Bowl on the radio since.
Today, as I type this, I actually find that kind of sad...

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