This Sunday the San Francisco 49ers will meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas This will be the Chiefs’ fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years. But big success one year doesn’t necessarily mean the next year will be just as great.
The New York Giants dominated the NFC in 1986, and they won Super Bowl 21 over the Denver Broncos in January 1987.
But the Giants began the 1987 season 0-5, and finished with a 6-9 record, missing the playoffs for the first time in four years.
A key player for the Giants at that time was defensive lineman Leonard Marshall. He had written a book in the offseason, called The End of the Line. I had the chance to talk with him about the book In early December just two days after the Giants lost an embarrassing game to the Washington Redskins. New York had a 16-0 lead at halftime, and lost.
but Marshall was in a surprisingly pleasant mood that day as we talked. So here now, from 1987, Leonard Marshall.
Leonard Marshall retired at the end of the 1994 season. He’s 62 now and is involved in various business ventures.
Alex karras was a star on the field for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s.
And then he tackled a new career challenge: acting. One of his most iconic roles was in 1974’s “Blazing Saddles.” He was, of course, Mongo.
And when I spoke with him about it, he almost sounded surprised at his own success as a writer.
Later Alex karras starred in the ABC sitcom “Webster,” and along the way he also joined the Monday Night Football broadcast crew. And that’s kind of where he got the idea for his 1991 novel called Tuesday Night Football.
The national football League is over 100 years old, and in that time, football fans have enjoyed some breathtaking games, spectacular plays, some of the most colorful athletes we’ve ever known, and more than a few moments of spectator sport agony.
In 1994, The NFL participated in publishing a huge coffee table book reflecting on the first 75 years of the league. And to write the forward to that book, they chose legendary Chicago bears, middle linebacker Dick Butkus.
Now I grew up in the Chicago area, so I knew the name Dick butkus very well — and his reputation. An opponent once said that when he was tackling you, Dick Butkus was aiming not to put you in the hospital but the cemetery.
But when I met him to talk about that book, I found him to be a very warm and personable guy with lots of fun stories.
So here now, from 1994, Dick Butkus
Dick Butkus celebrated his 79th birthday last week. He’s active in several charities through the Butkus Foundation.
Last week the National Football League and its fans lost a truly iconic figure, Don Shula, the all-time winningest NFL coach, died at the age of 90.
I met Don Shula in 1995, just a few months before the start of what would be his final season coaching in the NFL. He had written a book on coaching and leadership, along with Ken Blanchard, the prolific author who [s best known for his book “The One Minute Manager.”
Here now, from 1995, Don Shula and Ken Blanchard:
To this day, the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that Don Shula coached is still the only team that’s ever put together a perfect, undefeated season.
The Kansas City Chiefs are meeting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. The Chiefs were also in the very first Super Bowl, in 1967.
But it was their misfortune that year to be playing the Green Bay Packers, who are led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, as well as MVP of Super Bowl II Ithe following year.
I met Bart Starr in 1987, when he wrote a memoir of not just his years with the Packers, but his college career, his childhood, if you supposed to Green Bay career.
So here now, from 1987, Super Bowl 1 MVP Bart Starr:
Now the NFL hands out the Bart Starr Award, to a player of outstanding character.