The NFL playoffs and regular season have expanded in recent years, so anniversaries of old-school NFL playoff moments are a tad askew. Like the Ice Bowl took place on New Years' Eve Day 1967; meaning the 1967 NFL Championship Game was actually played in 1967. Now even two-win teams get to play two games in January.
It's really not a big deal at all. The game has improved with expansion (despite the idiotic pre-AFL owners' thoughts). I'm glad we no longer live in the days of 14-game regular seasons with four playoff teams per conference and no on-screen graphics. I can't wait until when Super Bowl Sunday is pushed back to the Sunday before MLK Day. I'm a player safety guy (to a point, it's still football; there are occupational hazards), but I love that we're gonna end up with an 18 game regular season within the next decade.
As a former football player who hasn't played a competitive game since Thanksgiving 2009 (s/o Tiger Woods), my career's shortcomings don't consume me as they would did in, say, 2008-2019ish. Sure, I wholeheartedly believe that if my coaches started me in the playoffs my junior year (after starting every game that year), we would've won, or that if a selfish running back didn't break his collarbone my senior year going fucking ATVing, we would've won more than one league game, but there's literally nothing I can do about it now.
Of course, if I have a couple of beers with former teammates or think about high school for more than two seconds, the emotions will start flowing back. I'll get caught up in the "what could've beens," but seeing Bill Curry's (two-time Super Bowl Champion center) tweet about Johnny U made me feel so much better about my inability to truly get over those losses. I love that he's not over it.
I'm just a former offensive lineman who was a "key returner" from a 6-2 squad and "key loss" from a 1-7 one. I'm supposed to feel like some loser who is stuck in the past because I can't get over the results of Rhode Island D. III High School Football from over a decade ago? Lol okay, buddy.
Well, Bill Curry is almost 80 and hasn't played an NFL down since the year Nixon resigned, and even a man with two Super Bowl Rings (SB I with Green Bay and SB V with the Baltimore Colts) says a 21-0 loss to the Dolphins in the 1971 AFC Championship Game still hurts to this day. Talk about being a competitor. Think about all the life he's lived since then. This dude has two rings (and also lost the biggest upset in NFL history, Super Bowl III), coached college football, and surely has lost tons of family and friends at his advanced age, and even he isn't over a playoff loss from 1971. If that isn't a ringing endorsement to never get over the past, I don't know what is! Fuck Johnston High School foreevvvverrr. Grudges are healthy!!!