We’re several weeks into our worldwide attempt to “flatten the curve” and have been offering daily escapes into the sporting events of yesteryear through our “Filling The Void” series. We’ve looked back on the inspiring, mind-boggling and remarkable events as well as the ordinary, daily games we’ve been missing in our lives. We here at The Turf Sports sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and being safe through these trying days. We’d also like to take a moment to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of those front-line folks keeping society going – from the medical community to those stocking grocery store shelves, delivering supplies around the country or helping us all fight this virus together in some other essential, invaluable way. You are all heroes.
“Game of the Century”. “Greatest of All Time”. “Most Valuable Player”. How often have you found yourself in one of these debates with your friends or family? Here at The Turf, we tend to get into these discussions quite frequently. So when I saw this game on our list of “Filling the Void” games and it was described as “Game of the Century” I took a look.
Today: Notre Dame vs. Florida State – Nov. 13, 1993
A Perfect (Media) Storm
The legacies and recent histories of the two storied programs did plenty to make this a much anticipated game, but the coverage surrounding it really put it over the top. NBC, who had exclusive rights to the Notre Dame broadcasts, had marketed it as the “Game of the Century”. Despite that, ESPN’s College Gameday broadcast on location for the first time in the regular season (typically they’d only done Bowl Games from locations outside the studio before this). But – would the game live up to the hype? You had the #1 ranked team in Florida State pitted against the #2 in Notre Dame – the underdog having the home-field advantage. Both teams entered play undefeated and the hype surrounding the clash was through the roof. It’s the kind of matchup you expect to see in a bowl game, or in today’s CFP (previously the BCS). But this was a regular-season game!
Thankfully – the game didn’t disappoint. Florida State got out to an early lead, but Notre Dame would end up dominating most of the remainder of the game. They held a 31-17 lead in the 4th quarter before FSU found another gear. The last few minutes couldn’t have played out better for those who cared about the television ratings. I guess there’s an argument to be made for this qualifying as a “Game of the Century” – but I think like most other debates of this ilk, this one will rage on in perpetuity.
There were a few things that caught my eye during this broadcast.
- O.J. Simpson was a sideline reporter for this game. Given where “Juice” is these days, and everything that’s happened, this took me off guard. Crazy!
- Star Power – with a game being billed the way it was, I would’ve expected it to be filled with names who would go on to have successful NFL careers. On the contrary, throughout the broadcast I was hard pressed to find names who might fit that bill – Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks are the only two that jumped out to me. There were at least 20 players who did go on to the NFL, but apart from those two, only a handful of others had “noteworthy” stints in the pros.
- It almost wasn’t! – The original season schedule had ND playing Penn State on this day, but they canceled. The school’s administration asked coach Lou Holtz who he wanted to play. When his first choice of Miami was turned down he picked Florida State (Holtz and FSU coach Bobby Bowden were friends, and he had crashed on Bowden’s couch during his honeymoon!!!).
Anyway – no matter which side of the “Game of the Century” debate you fall on with regards to this game, I hope you enjoy the watch.
See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.
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