The year was 1969, a landmark year, perhaps the most incredible year of the 20th Century. Rob Kirkpatrick wrote all about in in 1969: The Year Everything Changed.
Here’s a Top 10 list of accomplishments, events, trends and happenings of 1969:
1. Man on the Moon
3. Amazin’ Mets
4. Nixon and Vietnam turmoil
5. Movies – Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
6. Rock and Roll – Beatles last concert, Led Zeppelin, Altamont and the Rolling Stones
7. Joe Namath and the guarantee
8. Student demonstration time
10. Charles Manson and the Zodiac Killer
December 8, 1980 — John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota in New York. If still alive, the ex-Beatle would be 77.
John Lennon’s death was one of those seminal events where you remember exactly how you first heard the tragic news.
That night, I was at the old Orange Bowl in Miami to see the Miami Dolphins face the New England Patriots in Monday night football.
Late in the fourth quarter, famed broadcaster Howard Cosell informed the nationwide audience on ABC-TV that Lennon had been shot.
No public announcement was made at the Orange Bowl. There were no cell phones, no text messages, no wireless Internet to deliver the story.
The game went into overtime, and the Dolphins win 16-13 on a 23-yard field goal by Uwe von Schamann.
It was a beautiful December South Florida night.
After the game, I took a bus back to my car, drove home with the radio off. Still hadn’t heard about Lennon.
The next day, as I was driving in to work the sports desk at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, I turned on the radio. Every station was playing Beatles music and John Lennon songs.
Finally, one of the DJs reported that Lennon had been shot and killed the night before.
At work of course Lennon’s death was the only topic of conversation. I still remember the rock & roll writer at the paper writing his piece on Lennon.
And the story that referred to John as “The Thinking Man’s Beatle.”
John Lennon was just 40 years old when he was killed. Although he is gone, he is still with us in his music.
Happy Birthday, John.
“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
— Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929
We’re all experts in this world. We think we know it all,
We see the crystal ball. We foresee the future.
In sports, as in life, we make predictions. We guarantee.
Oh sure, they’ll cover the spread. This one’s a lock. We’re gonna win.
But for every Joe Namath there’s a Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson. For every Mark Messier, a Patrick Ewing.
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
— Bill Gates, 1981 ____________________________________________________________________
In 1969, quarterback Joe Namath brashly predicted his Jets would upset the heavily-favored Colts in the Super Bowl. They did of course, cementing the legend of Broadway Joe.
Two years earlier, Kansas City defensive back Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson, not only predicted his Chiefs would beat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I. Furthermore, Williamson vowed that his trademark forearm chop to the helmet – a move he dubbed “The Hammer” – would rain down on Packers receivers all day.
Well the Pack crushed the Chiefs 35-10, and The Hammer was carried off on a stretcher after getting trampled by running back Donny Anderson. Asked afterward about Williamson, Packers coach Vince Lombardi said, “Was he out there? The only time I noticed him was when they carried him off.”
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
— Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962
Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics was one of the greatest players in NBA history. During Bird’s rookie year, one NBA general manager was asked what he thoughts about Bird.
The GM admitted Bird was a pretty good shooter and a better passer than people thought. However, the GM did not think that Larry Legend was mentally tough enough for an NBA season. Yeah right.
“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face, and not Gary Cooper.”
— Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind”
Patrick Ewing, the Knicks center from Georgetown, was famous for issuing guarantees….guarantees which rarely, if ever, came true. In 1997, Ewing’s line to the media was “See you in Chicago,” by which he meant the Knicks would beat the Heat in a seventh game at Miami to face the Bulls in the Eastern finals. The Heat won.
Ewing ended his Knicks career by guaranteeing a victory in Game 6 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers. He missed his final six shots in a 93-80 defeat.
Contrast that with Mark Messier of the New York Rangers, who not only guaranteed a victory against the New Jersey Devils in Game Six of the 1994 NHL playoffs, but scored a hat trick in the third period to clinch a 4-2 win. The Rangers went on to win the series, and then Messier scored the decisive goal in Game Seven as the Rangers beat Vancouver to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.
“Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.”
— Dr. Lee DeForest, Inventor of TV
After winning the overtime coin toss in a 2004 playoff game at Green Bay, Matt Hasselbeck, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback, said, “We want the ball, and we’re gonna score.”
Shortly afterwards, Hasselbeck threw the ball right to Packers defensive back Al Harris, who returned it for the winning touchdown.
“This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
— Western Union internal memo, 1876