At 6'2" and 168 pounds, President Barack Obama does not look like a football player. It is a good thing for him he prefers the game of basketball for exercise and activity.
The coming of this soon-to-be-legendary day brings memories of other times when there were "sea changes" in the nation's government. The two most recently obvious being the John F. Kennedy inauguration in 1961 bringing in the "new frontier" and the Ronald Reagan "return to morning in America" take-over in 1981.
Besides being a couple of Irishmen, the two had little in common personally (unless you wish to count knowing Marilyn Monroe), but how did they compare as precursors of the sports scene?
And what, if any, can we draw from the changing times of the 1960s and 1980s in projecting the future of sports results going into the second decade of the 21st Century?
Given, there are far more important items on the national and world agenda than how the election of a "new wave President" impacts the upcoming sports years but, it is significant to know that all three of these gentlemen warned us about not giving up our natural activities and interests, and they are three of the best known sportsmen to occupy the Oval Office.
Let's look back at those historic years.
World Series Champion– The New York Yankees overpower the Cincinnati Reds behind the bat of Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth's long held Home Run record by knocking in 61 in '61. Quite an accomplishment since it was believed to be an "unbreakable" record for decades. That was a sea change in itself. Naturally, the Yankees are still a factor in baseball.
NBA World Champion– The Boston Celtics. Same as the current NBA champion.
NFL Champion– The Green Bay Packers. The first Championship for Vince Lombardi. Now that was a sea change that lives with us to this day.
College Football Champion– Alabama was the consensus national champion in 1961, the first national title for Paul "Bear" Bryant. That was a sea change that lives until today.
College Basketball Champion– The Bearcats of Cincinnati defeated the defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes for the NCAA title.
College Football Champion– The Clemson Tigers overpowered the Nebraska Cornhuskers to win the consensus national championship. Tiger coach, Danny Ford played for Bear Bryant, winner of the '61 title coincidentally, at Alabama in the late sixties and was the youngest person ever to win the national championship in college football.
College Basketball Champion– The Indiana Hoosiers of Bobby Knight rolled to an easily won NCAA title behind the play of Isiah Thomas. Knight had, coincidentally, played on the '61 Ohio State team that lost to Cincinnati in the title game.
NBA Champion– The Boston Celtics. Coincidentally, the same club as '61.
NFL Champion– The San Francisco 49ers signaled the coming of a new age as they won their first NFL championship.
World Series Champion– The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees.
So what happens now? If we can draw anything from prior events we can make some very generalized statements. Let's draw some conclusions, not admissible in court, but for conversation purposes only.
NBA Champions– With the previous circumstances in mind, the Boston Celtics should win in '09. Why not? They are the defending champions of '08 as well.
College Basketball– It appears that Bobby Knight must have a hand in whatever happens based on his connections from '61 and '81. With that in mind, why not go with the person to whom he is most connected, his former player Mike Krzyzewski? So, let's go with his Duke Blue Devils, currently ranked No. 2 in the country.
College Football Champions– Since Alabama produced the national champion in '61 and the coach who won the '81 title, it is apparent we need an Alabama connection. With that in mind, let's go with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Why not? This past season they were #1 in the country at the end of the regular season.
The NFL– Next fall will bring a fresh breath of air in a champion if the '61 and '81 seasons are any indication. Look for a previously ignored team someone to burst forth and create a dynasty, like the Packers of the 60s and the 49ers of the 80s. Who? I can't say but a sneaky guess could be the old Houston Oilers who play in Tennessee.
The World Series– Based upon the '61 and '81 connections, we have to say the Yankees will be a factor. How much? Anyone's guess. It doesn't take a stretch to go with the Yankees in any season.
So do we have the crystal ball, the look into the future based upon the past? I don't know but, I do know we are at the edge of a great change and can't wait to get on to better times.
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