One Man's Entry For Five Worst Houston Sports Moments -- Where Are Yours?
I couldn't help but notice that the bosses are soliciting suggestions for the best and worst sports moments in Houston history.
So I thought I would make a few suggestions.
I'll do my top 10 moments when the issue comes out with the winners, but here are my five worst moments.
1. January 6, 1980: It's the AFC Championship Game
The Houston Oilers are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. The winner advances to the Super Bowl. The loser goes home. It's the third quarter of a very tight game. The Steelers are winning 17-10, but the Oilers are driving. The Oilers are on the Steelers' 6-yard line and it's third down. Dan Pastorini lofts a pass to the far corner of the end zone. Mike Renfro beats his defender and comes down with the ball as he falls out of bounds.
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
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University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
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Rice University Owls Football vs. Florida Atlantic University Owls Football
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University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulane University Football
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The refs, of course, rule no catch, saying that Renfro didn't get both feet down. There was no replay review at the time, and the Oilers had to settle for a field goal, making the score 17-13. The Oilers went on to lose 27-13 as the Luv Ya Blue era started coming to an end.
2. April 4, 1983
The Houston Cougars are heavily favored to defeat the underdog North Carolina State Wolfpack for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. NC State finds a way to stay in the game, and with just seconds remaining on the clock, NC State's Dereck Whittenburg lofts the ball toward the bucket from 30 feet out. As it's falling short, and as the clock is ticking toward zero, Lorenzo Charles skies in the air and dunks the ball home for the victory in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA sports history.
And here's a special thanks to CBS for making sure that this video moment will never die.
3. January 1, 1979
To some people, this is the start of the legend of Joe Montana. To Houston Cougar football fans, it's the start of the downward slope of the school's football program. The Cougars are playing Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. It's a miserable day of sleet and ice and wind. The Cougars were up 34-12 with just under eight minutes remaining in the game. Montana was in the locker room, recovering from hypothermia. He returned to lead Notre Dame on one of his comebacks, throwing a TD with no time left on the clock for the 35-34 win.
4. January 3, 1993
The Houston Oilers are seemingly coasting to a playoff victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Oilers were up 28-3 at the half, and 35-3 early in the third quarter before the Bills, led by backup QB Frank Reich pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history, beating the Oilers 41-38 in OT.
5. October 17, 2005
It was Game Five of the 2005 NLCS. The Houston Astros were up 3-1 in the series, were winning the game 4-2, and they needed just three more outs to clinch the first World Series spot in team history.
Closer Brad Lidge, who had been lights-out for most of the season, was on the mound for the Astros. He got the first two outs, and had two strikes on St. Louis's David Eckstein. Eckstein then singled, and Jim Edmonds walked to put two men on base and Albert Pujols at the plate. Pujols then proceeded to destroy Lidge's career as an Astro as he hit a three-run homer off a light tower in left field, giving St. Louis the 5-4 win, and momentarily delaying the Astros trip to the Series.
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