Common Misconceptions

There are many things in sports that we belive are true. But we here at GOI do not believe in what the "norm" is as told to us by others. Our belief has always been to debunk the general belief whenever possible. We're a regular Ken Kesey! There are many things that we as a society have just come to believe is true regarding certain sports events, so I'm going to spend some time debunking those myths.

Myth: In 1980 at the Winter Olympics, the winner of the hockey match between the USA and the Soviet Union was the winner of the gold medal and because the USA defeated USSR, the US won the gold.
Fact: The USA team still had to defeat Finland in order to win the gold.

Back Story:
The way the hockey tournament worked back in 1980 in the final round was a round robin tournament (kind of like how the first round of World Cup soccer works now). There were four teams that made it to the final round in 1980 and they were: USA, Soviet Union, Finland, and Sweden. The first match up of this final tournament was the USA vs. Soviet Union where the United States did win 4-3 (now known as The Miracle on Ice), but on that very same day Finland and Sweden tied 3-3. A few days later the USA went on to defeat Finland 4-2 where the future Russia destroyed Sweden 9-2.

Because the United States was the only team in the tournament to win two games, they were the winners of the gold medal. If the U.S. had defeated the Soviet Union but lost to Finland then they would not have won the gold.

The USA defeating the Soviet Union was still an amazing, ungodly feat and they did win the tournament which was even more amazing, and the the Soviet Union did end up getting silver in the tournament. However, that great win over the Soviet Union did not clinch the gold for us Yankees.

Myth: The ball that went through Bill Buckner's legs in the 1986 World Series between the Red Sox / Mets lost the Red Sox the whole sha-bang
Fact: That game was only Game 6. The Red Sox still could have won it all after that play. Plus, Buckner was not the only one to blame.

Back Story: Everyone knows the infamous play. Even if you can't remember the name of the Red Sox first baseman like that guy in the old KGB commercial, you still know the play I'm talking about. Mets left fielder Mookie Wilson hits a soft ground ball to first base, Buckner fails to ground the ball, then the guy on third scores and wins the game. But not only was Buckner not at fault for losing that game but the Red Sox still could have won that series.

Let me set up what actually happened during that inning. It was Game Six. The Red Sox were up 3-2 in the series. It was the bottom of the 10th inning, the Red Sox had scored 2 runs that inning to go up 5-3. In the bottom of the 10th, Gary Carter scores making the score 5-4. Then, pitcher Calvin Schiraldi gets replaced in favor of Bob Stanley. Stanley is now pitching to Mookie Wilson and then goes ahead and throws a wild pitch so the runner from 3rd scores the tying run. The game is now 5-5.

Then the infamous Bill Buckner play happens.

But think about this for a second. Let's say Buckner makes that play. The game is now still tied and on to extra innings we go. The Red Sox still could have lost that game. But Buckner didn't make that play and the Red Sox STILL have a chance to win it all. While Buckner had an awful 1986 playoffs, his team still could have won Game 7.

One last thought: throughout the series Buckner, who was playing on two bad ankles, was normally pulled in the playoffs for a defensive replacement by his manager, John McNamara, late in games. McNamara deserves some of the blame along with Stanley for losing Game 6. Sure, Buckner should not have let that ball roll through his feet no matter what because he was a professional, but he does not deserve 100% of the blame that we all think he deserves.

Myth: Joe Namath was a good quarterback
Fact: Joe Namath was NOT a good quarterback

Back Story:
Joe Namath deserves a lot of credit for making the NFL what it is today. During the early origins of the NFL and AFL (the early makings of the NFC and AFC of what we know today) the AFL was just an expansion league that was deemed inferior to the juggernaut of the NFC (kind of how we view the wimpy NL today! Just kidding.). During Superbowls I and II the NFL dominant Green Bay Packers won over the can't-cut-it-with-the-big-boys AFL.

Then came Superbowl III.

The handsome, counterculture sex symbol (I mean, come on, he did look super hot wearing pantyhose in that commercial) that we know today as Joe Namath led the AFL champions against the Baltimore Colts (who were just as dominant back then as the Indianapolis Colts are today) in Superbowl III. Namath promised that the AFL and the Jets would win and like Babe Ruth pointing to the exact spot he was going to hit his home run (actually, I'm sure that is sort of a myth as well, but I am not going to get into that today) the Jets did win the game against the big, bad Baltimore Colts which helped solidify the merging of the NFL and the AFL.

However, it is that promise and winning that game that make people think Joe Namath was a hall of fame quarterback and they fail to recognize what a truly awful QB Namath was throughout his entire career.

I wrote a post a while back about how overrated Joe Namath is, but for those of you who have already read enough, let me break down some facts for you. Namath has more interceptions (220) than touchdowns (173) in his career (and it is really not all that close) and has a career passer rating of 65.5.

I believe everyone owes a debt of gratitude to Namath for helping merge the AFL and the NFL, but let's put his entire career into perspective. A few years ago, ESPN did a Mount Rushmore of great athletes associated with a particular American state and Namath was on New York's. That's now getting a bit ridiculous (Although before Tim Tebow was even drafted he was on Florida's Mt. Rushmore as voted on by the fans and that was even more ridiculous). I can name at least four Yankees alone that deserve to be on the Mount Rushmore more than Namath does (Ruth, Jeter, Mantle, Gehrig, Mo Rivera, Berra, Maris, Reggie. There, I just named two Mount Rushmore's full of players that deserve more praise than Namath). Point is, people put Joe Namath on a pedastool like pussy in The 40 Year Old Virgin and while I think he deserves our admiration for helping to merge the AFL and NFL, we all need to be reminded he really was not that good.

Jerry Rice put up most of his stats with Joe Montana
Fact: Rice played more with Steve Young than Joe Montana.

Back Story: Jerry Rice is the greatest wide receiver ever. What Randy Moss did in his career year in 16 games Rice did in 14. If you look at Rice's numbers and then look at everyone else's numbers no one compares to him. But what people think is that him and Joe Montana was the original Peyton Manning / Marvin Harrison. That is just not true. I think people assume that because Montana won four championships and because he and Rice were some of (in Rice's case he was) the greatest at their position that they were great together. However, Rice actually played more games with Steve Young than Joe Montana.

Rice played from 1985 to 2004 and played for San Francisco until 2000. Joe Montana played for San Fran from 1979 to 1990 (technically until 1992 but he was injured and did not play in '91 and '92). Montana played a good six years before Rice ever got there and left a good decade before Rice left. In fact, Rice and Montana only played for five years together.

Steve Young on the other hand played for the gold diggers from 1987-1999 while really playing hall of fame ball (and even playing at all) from 1991-1998. Young played with Rice for eight years- two more than Montana.

Then we have Jeff Garcia. Garcia replaced Young and played for the 49ers from 1999-2003 where he got to play with Rice for two seasons.

Rice has 197 touchdowns. 54 of them were thrown by Montana. 84 of them were thrown by Young.

Sure, Jerry Rice has three Superbowl championships and two of them were with Montana, but the plurality of his career (oooh! My Poly Sci degree has paid off because I get to use the word "plurality") was with Steve Young, not Joe Montana.

Here are my four big misconceptions. Please read my Matrix Revolution below for Part II.