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Friday, January 30: Today, 26 Years Ago

Posted by Matt Terl on January 30, 2009 – 10:23 am

26 years ago today at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. Many of today’s most passionate Redskins fans weren’t even born yet, but those who were probably remember where they watched the game, who they were with, what they were wearing, what food was served, and everything else.

What they might not remember, unless they were there, is that the temperature at kickoff was 61 degrees, and the wind was slight from the north. That Don Orr was the field judge, and that the attendance was 103,667.

I don’t remember those things either (although I do know from watching the highlights that the weather was good that day), but I know them because I just found in the files here at Redskins Park the detailed game summary produced by the teams’ stats crew.

These are still generated today, with updates handed out in the press box after each quarter and a complete booklet photocopied and distributed after the game, but they look a little slicker now.

Here are two pages of the game book from the preseason Hall of Fame game in Canton, just as an example.Here’s the first page.

And here’s another.

Things were done a little differently back before desktop computers and Xerox machines and all that. Here’s how the first page of that stats book looked, typewritten and with some of the borders added in by hand after the fact.

It’s just a visual reminder that those were different times … which is something that is probably pretty important to keep in mind when reading the current spate of Russ Grimm stories, which almost all feature lengthy anecdotes involving beer, pranks, and more beer. In days when the stats for the Super Bowl were kept by hand and mimeographed for distribution, an offensive-lineman-slash-future-head-coaching-candidate vomiting in the huddle was simply a charming diversion, not cause for eleven million TV hours of screaming and panic on ESPN as it would be today.

Here is the Super Bowl XVII Stats Book as a PDF.


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