There are still teachers diligently working away in China, for example, but there is some form of holiday for most of us.
December 23rd is the 40th anniversary of the most famous mystery in US sports history. Let me set the scene for you:
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it was the 4th (final) quarter of the divisional playoffs between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland (California) Raiders. The Steelers were not all that popular and had been a mediocre team for years, so the game was not sold out and the game was blacked out in Pittsburgh, meaning that Pittsburgh fans may have heard it on the radio, but unless they were at Three Rivers Stadium, they didn’t see what was about to transpire.
The Raiders were ahead 7 to 6 with 22 seconds left. In a last-ditch attempt to score, Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw launched a pass, hoping that John “Frency” Fuqua would catch it and be able to put Pittsburgh in scoring range. He ducked a potential tackle and aired our the ball. The cameras followey the pass and it ricocheted backwards, seemingly incomplete.
Suddenly, the first year player Franco Harris is seen running down the field with the ball in his hand, going into the endzone with the ball in hand.
Well, the official story is this: the ball hit Oakland player Jack Tatum, sending it backwards and into the hands of Harris who scored a touchdown. The ball, untouched by an offensive player, was therefore and ‘immaculate’ reception.
Check it out for yourself and try to make up your own mind:
People as far and wide as university professors and former directors of the CIA have reviewed the film, argued the validity of the Immaculate Reception. It is still debated and argued and, in an era with multiopelcameras and replays, this is a beautiful argument and story. Fuqua himself was pretty much knocked out by Tatum so even he may not know.
When will be know the answer? Well, only in history heaven will we know – and there we will find out who killed JFK, how much FDR knew about Pearl Harbor and whether or not the Moon Landing was faked.
We all love mysteries – and here is one for the sports books.