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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Harbaugh vs. Manning

On Nov. 29, 1998, when Peyton Manning was a 22-year old rookie, he faced the Baltimore Ravens, led by 35-year-old quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Final score: Ravens 38, Colts 31. Harbaugh led a 17-point fourth-quarter rally. On Sept. 26, 1999, Manning, 23, and Harbaugh, 36, were once again opposing starting quarterbacks, as the Colts visited the San Diego Chargers. Final score: Colts 27, Chargers 19. Manning led a 14-point fourth-quarter rally.

Super Bowl III MVP

I’m not saying Joe Namath (17 of 28, 206 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INT) was undeserving of being named MVP of Super Bowl III, the milestone win that Namath “guaranteed for the New York Jets and the American Football League. But I am saying there were a number of Jets at least equally deserving. For example: Matt Snell rushed 30 times for 121 yards and the Jets’ only touchdown. He also 4 passes for 40 yards. George Sauer Jr. caught… Read More »

Harbaugh and Payton

As 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh congratulated Saints coach Sean Payton Friday night after New Orleans’ lopsided but meaningless preseason win, I couldn’t help but recall the first time Harbaugh and Payton crossed paths, sort of. It was 1987, and Harbaugh was an NFL rookie quarterback with the Chicago Bears. Payton was an NFL scab QB with the Bears. The players’ were striking for improved wages, benefits and pensions, and the NFL owners decided to use strike-breaking players, called “replacements” in… Read More »

John Mackey, union leader

John Mackey, who died Thursday, was honored as a pioneering Hall of Fame tight end — and rightly so. I prefer to remember him as a pioneering union leader who helped take NFL players from the dark ages of autocratic ownership control to a more enlightened era of improved compensation and benefits.

Super Bowl final score: Jets 16, Colts 7

Yeah, I know the Jets aren’t in today’s Super Bowl. Yeah, I know today’s Super Bowl pits Saints vs. Colts. But allow this long-ago Jets fan to say something. When I think of the Colts, it doesn’t matter if it’s Baltimore or Indianapolis, Morrall or Unitas or Manning. It doesn’t matter how many Super Bowls the franchise has won, and it doesn’t matter that it’s 2010 and not 1969. For this long-ago Jets fan, to this day when I think… Read More »

Another Colts/Saints link: Gary Cuozzo

In a previous blog, I mentioned running back Joe Don Looney, who played for both the Colts and Saints. Today the Colts-Saints link is quarterback Gary Cuozzo. Cuozzo backed-up Johnny Unitas with the Colts from 1963 through 1966. And he was on the original Saints of 1967, splitting time with Billy Kilmer. Cuozzo played in Super Bowl IV with the Vikings, a 23-7 loss to the K.C. Chiefs. Cuozzo came in for Joe Kapp late in the game, completing 1-of-3… Read More »

Archie Manning, part of 1-2-3 QB draft of ’71

Archie Manning will be getting a lot of attention leading up to the Colts-Saints Super Bowl, even though he hasn’t played in the NFL since 1984. He is, of course, the father of Colts QB Peyton Manning; and he was New Orleans’ starting QB for 11 seasons. Manning was the second of three quarterbacks chosen with the first three selections of the 1971 draft, and he was, by far, the unluckiest of the three. In 14 seasons (he also played… Read More »

Colts-Saints link: Joe Don Looney

The most prominent Colts-Saints link is the Manning family. Archie Manning was the second overall selection in the 1971 draft and quarterbacked New Orleans until 1982, when he was traded to Houston after one game. And, as you know, his son Peyton will be quarterbacking the Colts against the Saints in the Super Bowl. But another Colts-Saints link is Joe Don Looney. Looney, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back, was a first-round pick (12th overall) of the New York Giants in… Read More »