Tag Archives: sports

Fight of the Century

life-frazier-cover frank sinatraOn March 8, 1971, two World Heavyweight Champion boxers, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali faced off at Madison Square Gardens in the “Fight of the Century” to determine the true world champion.

At the time of the fight, both boxers had a legitimate claim to the title “World Heavyweight Champion.” Ali won the title in 1964 from Sonny Liston with an undefeated record, but had been stripped of the title when he refused to register in the draft in 1967. He won an appeal for his conviction and 5-year prison sentence in front of the Supreme Court in 1971 and returned to fighting. During Ali’s hiatus, Frazier had fairly won the title, and soon a match between the two champions received considerable hype and was billed the “Fight of the Century.” Surprisingly, the fight lived up to its name.

Ali had become well-known over the years for his speed and dexterity despite his large size. Frazier was known for his unmatched left hook and the way he would ferociously attack his opponent’s body. At a time when the country felt divided, the two fighters came to represent the two politically and socioeconomic sides of America. Ali represented the anti-establishment left-wing liberals, while Frazier was seen as a symbol for the blue collar pro-war conservatives. This parallel symbolism of the two fighters added to the hype of the highly anticipated fight.

ali calendarBoth fighters were guaranteed a $2.5 million purse for the fight, which was a record for any single prizefight at the time. Madison Square Garden had a raucous atmosphere on the night of the highly publicized fight with tons of police officers on hand to keep the crowd under control, and countless celebrities in attendance. Among them were Norman Mailer, Woody Allen, and Frank Sinatra, who was there taking photos for Life magazine because he was unable to obtain a ringside seat.

Unexpectedly, the fight lasted a full 15 rounds. Ali was on top for the first three rounds, delivering several quick jabs to Frazier’s face, causing it to welt up. Things turned around at the end of round three though, when Frazier struck Ali’s jaw with one of his famous hooks, causing Ali’s head to snap backwards. Frazier followed up by ferociously attacking Ali’s body as he was stunned. The bodily blows wore out Ali, and Frazier began to dominate the match in the fourth round.

By the sixth round, Frazier had attacked Ali with a flurry of his famous left hooks and Ali began to look noticeably run down. Ali still had a speed and combo advantage that kept the match close until the eleventh round. In the eleventh round, Frazier cornered Ali and pummeled him with another one of his left hooks which nearly floored Ali. Ali survived the round and the next three, though Frazier was in the lead for all of them. At the beginning of round 15, Frazier once again struck Ali with a left hook, sending him to the floor on his back. Refusing to give up, Ali stood up with a swollen jaw and lasted the rest of the round despite the terrific amount of blows issued by Frazier. The judges unanimously declared Frazier the winner, and Ali faced his very first loss.

The fight no doubt lived up to its name, and is still considered one of the greatest boxing matches in the history of the sport.

Sources: Wikipedia, LIFE, ESPN Boxing

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John Elway’s Last Game

john elway last gameOn January 31, 1999, famed Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway led his team to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Going out on a win, this would be Elway’s last game.

After a successful high school football career, Elway was the most sought after high school player in the country with 60 scholarship offers. His school of choice was Stanford, and though he never led his college team to a bowl game, he completed 774 passes for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns in his accomplished college career. As a result, he was entered into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. In the 1983 NFL Draft, Elway was picked first overall by the Baltimore Colts. At that time, the Colts were one of the worst teams in the league, and Elway did not wish to play for them. Elway, who was also an accomplished baseball player, threatened to give up football and play for the New York Yankees if the Colts did not trade him. Elway was eventually traded to the Denver Broncos for offensive lineman Chris Hinton, backup quarterback Mark Herrmann, and a first-round pick by the Colts  in the 1984 draft.

Because Elway was considered one of the most anticipated athletes in NFL history, local Colorado papers began to run a section called “The Elway Watch.” He had a rough start as most NFL newbies do, but ended up leading his team to five Super Bowls. His first three Super Bowls were in the 1986, 1987, and 1989 seasons, but his team suffered losses in all three (39-20 to the ’86 Giants, 42-10 to the ’87 Redskins, and 55-10 to the ’89 49ers – one of the worst losses in Super Bowl history). After these three losses, Elway became known as the quarterback who could not deliver when he reached the big game.

Those losses only fueled Elway’s drive to win. Eight years later, Elway finally led the Broncos to another Super Bowl in the 1998 season. The Broncos faced off against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, and though Elway threw no touchdown passes, the Broncos finally picked up a win, with a final score of 31-24.

In the 1999 season, the Broncos once again made it to the Super Bowl, with more wins in a three-year span than any other team had in NFL history. The Broncos met the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII at the Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Falcons started out well, scoring a field goal and putting them up 3-0. The response was quick from the Broncos, with Elway setting up a series of completions, allowing fullback Howard Griffith to score a 1-yard touchdown run, putting the Broncos in the lead 7-3. In the second quarter, the Broncos kicked another field goal for another 3 points, while the Falcons missed one, causing the Broncos to take back possession of the ball and score another touchdown. The Falcons’ Tim Dwight’s big return gave the Falcons a short field, and Morten Anderson kicked right before halftime, bringing the score to 17-6, with Denver in the lead.

In the third quarter, both teams failed to score, but both put more points on the scoreboard early in the fourth. Darrien Gordon then intercepted his first of two passes of the game for Denver, and returned the ball to Atlanta’s 24-yard line. A 15-yard completion by Elway gave the Broncos 1st and goal from the 5-yard line. Griffith then made his way to the endzone after two running plays and the Broncos led 24-6.

After Gordon intercepted his second pass of the game, he returned the ball to Atlanta’s 48-yard line. From there, Elway completed a short pass to Terrell Davis who drove the ball 39 yards. Two plays later, Elway made a three-yard touchdown run, bringing the score up to 31-6. This touchdown made Elway the second player in history to score touchdowns in four different Super Bowls. The Falcons’ Dwight returned the kick-off 94 yards to score another touchdown. The Broncos recovered the onside kick and a 25-yard completion by Elway led to another Broncos’ field goal score. With a little over 2 minutes on the clock, the Falcons scored another touchdown, but time was not on the Falcons’ side.

With 37 seconds left on the clock, a victorious Elway made his way to the sidelines and was engulfed by his excited teammates. “That walk I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Elway recounted later, “That’s the kind of walk you dream of as a kid.” The Broncos were Super Bowl champions with a final score of 34-19, making them the seventh team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. The last team to accomplish this feat was the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. Elway completed a total of 18 passes for a total of 336 yards and was named the Super Bowl XXXIII MVP, making him the oldest MVP in Super Bowl history.

Rumors abounded as to whether or not Elway would stick around and try and win the Broncos a third straight Super Bowl championship, something no team had ever done. Though the prospect was tempting, Elway decided to go out with a bang and announced his retirement on May 2 of that year.

Sources: Wikipedia, Lootmeister Sports, NY Daily News

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Super Bowl III Upset


Joe Namath on the field during Super Bowl III.

On January 12, 1969, American Football League underdogs the New York Jets beat National Football League champions the Baltimore Colts at Super Bowl III in what is regarded as one of the hugest upsets in the history of American sports.

Even though it was the third AFL-NFL Championship game played, this game was the first to be given the name “Super Bowl.” There was a strongly held belief among most fans and sports writers that NFL teams included more talented players than those in the AFL. Because of this widely popular opinion, the Jets were pegged to lose to the Colts, who held a 13-1 record in the 1968 season.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath appeared in front of Miami Touchdown Club three days before the game was to take place at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. After hearing news for two weeks prior about how the Colts would be the likely victors, and after being heckled by a Colts fan at the Miami Touchdown club as well, Namath couldn’t take it anymore – he snapped. “We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it,” he told the crowd and went on to bad-mouth many Colts players saying that the Colts had never had to play against the caliber of players that were in the AFL. Namath’s words would live on in infamy in the world of American sports.

nyjetsIn the first quarter, the Jets surprised the Colts, who had previously been unphased by Namath’s comments, by driving the ball 80 yards, taking a 7-0 lead. The Jets went on to intercept Colts quarterback, Earl Morrall, three times, and the Colts began to realize this win may not be as easy as they had been led to believe it would be by the public. In the third quarter, the Jets scored two more field goals, taking the score up to 13-0. After his three interceptions, Morrall was replaced by Johnny Unitas, who had been injured and out of commission during the regular season. The Jets made another field goal during the fourth quarter, and Unitas led the Colts to their only touchdown during the last few minutes of the game. The final score was 16-7, with Namath leading the Jets to victory.

Namath was named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, even though he didn’t complete any touchdown passes, or any passes in the fourth quarter. In all, he completed 17 out of 28 passes for a total of 206 yards.

The game is still considered today as one of the most memorable games in Super Bowl and American football history.

Sources: Wikipedia, About.com, NY Daily News

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Joe DiMaggio Announces Retirement

idimagg001p1On December 11, 1951, Joe DiMaggio, American Major League Baseball center fielder, announced his retirement from the New York Yankees, the team he played on for his entire 13-year career.

DiMaggio joined his brother, Vince, in the Pacific Coast League, playing for the San Francisco Seals in 1932. After a 61-game hitting streak, he led the Seals to winning a PCL title in 1935 and was named the League’s Most Valuable Player. He was sold to the New York Yankees and made his major league debut batting behind Lou Gehrig in 1936. He was soon nicknamed the “Yankee Clipper” for his speed and range in the outfield. During his career, he was a three-time MVP winner and was selected to play in the All-Star Game every year of his 13-year career. He also helped the Yankees to win ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships. His biggest claim to fame is his MLB 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record he still holds today.

DiMaggio signed a record contract of $100,000 ($981,000 today) in 1949, and became the first baseball player to surpass $100,000 in earnings. Within the next few years, however, DiMaggio’s body began to fail him. He suffered from injuries constantly due to his predisposition to play through the pain. DiMaggio played poorly during his 1951 season because of his recurring ailments, and towards the end of the season a scouting report about DiMaggio written by a Brooklyn Dodgers scout was leaked and published in LIFE.

While the report did not paint DiMaggio’s playing abilities in the best light, most of the report was accurate. It reported that he “could not stop quickly or throw hard,” that runners could steal bases on him easily, and his reflexes had slowed. Even with his physical setbacks, DiMaggio still helped the Yankees win another World Series, hitting a home run in the fourth game. DiMaggio had already accepted that this was the end for him, and many of his teammates brought him bats and balls to sign during what they all knew was his last game.

Going out on a World Series win, DiMaggio held a press conference on December 11, 1951 in which he plainly read a short press release announcing the end of his career. He ended it by saying, “When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game, and so, I’ve played my last game.” He answered questions, posed for pictures, and when a fuse blew and the Yankee offices went dark, he quietly slipped out.

Joe DiMaggio has been remembered in many ways, including being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and his number (5) being retired from the Yankees. He has also been referenced in a number of songs, movies, books, and works of art.

Sources: Wikipedia, PBS, echarta Blog

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Show Us Your Team Spirit or Wet Pets

Team Spirit BlogGet into the game! Dress in your favorite team’s colors or gear, snap a pic and share it with us for a chance to win! It’s time for the hours you’ve spent in the bleachers or as an armchair quarterback to pay off. If your photo comes out on top of the Leaderboard when the clock hits zero on January 31, you will win an amazing prize pack worth $100!

Wet Pet Blog

Nothing is funnier than a wet pet. Whether they’re in the bathtub, frolicking on the beach, or slipping into the pool, soaked animals make us smile. So, send in those drenched doggies, glistening guinea pigs, and clammy cats for a chance to win big! The wet pet with the most votes on January 31st will be the cover dog of our Wet Pet Calendar and get a fabulous prize pack from Calendars.com worth $75! The top 18 will be featured in the 18-Month WET PET Calendar from Calendars.com!

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Ashton’s Birthday

Happy birthday to an awesome employee here at Calendars.com, Ashton!

Ashton manages the Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as The Daily Grid. She also does a little graphic design work and moderates the customer reviews.

Ashton loves to be outside hiking, camping, rock climbing, or walking her three rescued pitbulls. Is she has to be stuck inside, Ashton prefers to be watching sports. She loves the Houston Astros and the Dallas Cowboys, and enjoys cooking and bowling. Ashton also just recently got married!

Here are a few of her staff picks, but see Ashton’s complete selection on our Staff Picks Page!

Goats in Trees 2013 Wall Calendar

Magic Places 2013 Wall Calendar

Crossing Bridges 2013 Wall Calendar

Sea Turtles 2013 Deluxe Wall Calendar

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Jackie Robinson Day

April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day!

Jackie Robinson Day celebrates the day that Jackie Robinson, the first African American Major League Baseball player, made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers (today, the Los Angeles Dodgers) on April 15, 1947.

Jackie Robinson was responsible for breaking the color barrier within the Major League Baseball organization. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 for his outstanding contributions to the sport. His number, 42, was retired in 1997 and is the only number retired league-wide.

The first Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated on April 15, 2004 and the 2013 commemoration will mark the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut. Each year on April 15, every player, coach, and manager in Major League Baseball wears the number 42. 42, a feature film in memorial of Jackie Robinson’s courageous journey into Major League Baseball, was released in theaters on April 12, 2013 starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford.

Jackie Robinson Day

Sources: Wikipedia, MLB

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Golfer’s Day

April 10 is Golfer’s Day!

Golfer’s Day celebrates the sport, the courses and the athletes that engage in it. Whether you’re an avid golfer or just a beginner, taking up the hobby can prove to be an extremely relaxing outlet.

Golf enthusiasts everywhere unite! Celebrate today by getting out on an 18-hole course, or, if you’re short on time, head over to a driving range to hit a few balls.

Happy Golfer’s Day!

Sources: Squidoo, Holiday Insights

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Play Tennis Day

February 23 is Play Tennis Day!

Millions of people around the world play tennis. In addition to being a really fun game, a tennis match can also be great exercise! Playing tennis is a total body workout; the sport can exercise your arms, legs, abs, and increase flexibility while acting as a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Grab a friend and get a game started!

Experiment with some serves used by professional tennis players.

Sources: Holiday Insights, Tennis Welcome Center

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