25 Years ago, you didn’t want to be the trombone player

November 20th, 2007

Of course that title is redundant. No one ever wants to be the trombone player, but on November 20, 1982 it was a particularly hazardous assignment. Especially if you happened to be a Stanford trombone player walking in the end zone at the end of the annual Big Game between Stanford and Cal. They just call this The Play:

Yay Berkeley!

Now, if you count the laterals (including the last, although it has always appeared to me to be an illegal forward pass) you’ll see that Cal used five laterals to get the ball into the Stanford end zone where that poor clueless trombonist stood. Five laterals barely counts as exciting. For a truly wild play, I refer you to this year’s Division III Trinity at Millsaps game, in which the Trinity Tigers managed a whopping fifteen laterals to score a game-winning touchdown against the hapless Millsaps Majors (motto “Can we take a nap now?”).

Alas, though, there’s no band and no sacrificial trombone player waiting at the end of the play.

* * *

We all know that Stanford’s quarterback in 1982 was a guy named John Elway, who went on to win two Super Bowls as the QB of the Denver Broncos.

Bonus points if you can also name:

(a) The name of the Cal announcer on The Play;
(b) The name of the unfortunate Stanford trombone player (last heard asking “Did someone get the number of that truck?”);
(c) The name of the Millsaps head coach (hint: it’s a name you’ve probably heard before).

(a) The Bears announcer who called the famous Play was Joe Starkey.
(b) The Stanford trombonist, whose 1.5 seconds of fame last saw him flat on his back (a route to fame also taken by Brody Croyle) was Gary Tyrrell.
(c) Millsaps is coached by Mike DuBose, “The worst part about it is we had five or six guys just quit on the play…”

One Response to “25 Years ago, you didn’t want to be the trombone player”

  1. Michael Says:

    Jim, I got a Black ‘08 Ford Escape. I traded in my ‘02 Escape for the current model. Of course, a brand new car, and I get two full days of cold, rainy weather before I have to go back to work. Gotta love the irony!