Let me fill you in a little bit on what I’m talking about here. My best friend Steve and I play old school Strat—O—Matic football. No computers involved, except for this part. It’s all about rolling the dice, and guessing right at the right times. We have a bunch of teams, old and new, totalling more than 200 card sets between us. The teams were seeded on the cards as well as on prior game experience.
There have been five previous tournaments which also helped decipher the ranking, that’s how the 1995 Pittsburgh Steelers are such a high seed; they've won two of those tournaments. At the beginning of each article I will recap the games we have played already.
As for a complete look at the teams involved and a little more information on how the seeding was conducted—I’m working that. I have a few days, so maybe I can get it done.
Quick look back on what’s happened thus far in the field of 64.
Game One saw a tough battle as the No. 7 '63 NY Giants get by the No. 58 '96 Carolina Panthers in a classic, thanks to Y.A. Tittle and Del Shofner. Final score: 22-19.
Game Two brought the first upset when the No. 10 '63 Baltimore Colts got it all handed to them in a huge loss to the No. 55 '96 Pittsburgh Steelers, 37-3.
Game Three was another upset in a high scoring affair between Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. The No. 17 '84 San Francisco 49ers played host to the No. 48 '04 Indianapolis Colts. They fell 38-31 on a Dominic Rhodes 95-yard KO Return TD with 30 seconds left.
Game Four saw a defensively dominated game when the No. 5 '78 Dallas Cowboys and Tony Doresett took down the stingy No. 60 '00 Baltimore Ravens 14-9.
Game Five saw the No. 1 team in the tournament fall, as the lowly No. 64 '78 Denver Broncos knocked off the '67 Baltimore Colts 21-7. Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas went 5 of 21 with a pick, a sack, and no touchdowns.
So we've been flying through these games and, from now until round two, I will be dealing at least two games per article.
This article will recap games six, seven, and eight.
Game Six's slate would put the No. 11 '67 Oakland Raiders against the No. 54 '99 Jacksonville Jaguars. The game was going as planned through the first half of play. The Raiders, behind a two touchdown performance, was able to take a 14-7 lead into the locker room.
The second half started out in favor of the Jags. After a field goal drive and a blocked punt by Bryce Paup, the Jags found themselves only down four with good field position. After runs for zero and nine yards, Fred Taylor busted loose on third down for a 37 yard touchdown run.
Jacksonville had taken the lead for the first time in the game and would hold it through the third; but the fourth quarter would belong Clem Daniels and the Oakland Raiders. With Mark Brunell struggling in the second half (zero completions) and Daniels starting roll in the final frame, it all proved too much for the Jags as they allow two late rushing touchdowns to fall 28-17.
Game Seven brought us the No. 12 '69 Kansas City Chiefs hosting the '01 San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium.
Mike Livingston got the start for the Chiefs, but it was the Chiefs' defense that stole the show, shutting out the 49ers in the first half. It wasn't as if Kansas City was an offensive juggernaut, but a fumbled punt return by Vinny Sutherland and two first half interceptions by Jeff Garcia gave the Chiefs great field position. This lead to two touchdowns and a field goal to end the first half. Score: 17-0.
Kansas City came out in the second half and continued to dominate, putting up another touchdown and a field goal in the third quarter. Things would change in the final five minutes of the quarter when the 49ers were finally able to mount a drive that ended with a 13 yard touchdown by Garrison Hearst, making it 27-7. Warren McVee fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and, two plays later, Hearst found the end zone again. This time, it was from 10 yards out, cutting the Kansas City lead to 13. Willie Mitchell would field the kickoff that followed and, again, the Chiefs put the ball on the turf. This fumble happened on the last play of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with San Francisco having all the momentum on their side but, after a field goal cut the lead to 10, the 49ers went cold. Kansas City was able to shut down Garcia and Hearst in the final quarter, picking off Garcia two more times and allowing Hearst zero yards on six carries.
The Chiefs turned the final interception into a back breaking field goal to take this one, 30-17.
Game eight was a battle of California as the No. 44 '70 San Francisco 49ers headed south to San Diego to take on the No. 21 '79 San Diego Chargers.
The 49ers came out strong, harassing Dan Fouts from the start and putting the clamps on the Chargers running game. Doug Cunningham finished off the 49ers' first drive with a 15 yard touchdown run, which would end up being the only scoring of the first quarter.
San Francisco started the second quarter in the same manner as the first; John Brodie drove the 49ers down the field and hit Gene Washington for a 26 yard touchdown, his only one of the game. Bruce Gossett would miss the extra point though, making it a 13-0 game. Both teams would trade three pointers and San Francisco left for the locker room up 13.
San Diego kicked off to start the second half. The 49ers continued to control the line of scrimmage and got another touchdown before Dan Fouts brought life back to the Chargers. Even with a far—from—star performance that included three interceptions, four sacks and a fumble, Fouts found a way to lead San Diego back with two touchdown passes late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started 23-17 in favor of the visitors and would remain that way as the teams exchanged defensive blows. Nearing the midway point of the quarter, Dan Fouts threw his third touchdown pass of the game, hitting John Jefferson for a 23 yard score (24-23 Chargers). Fouts finished with 440 yards through the air and looked to have clinched the game. San Francisco returned to the field looking to drain the clock and set up a game winning field goal attempt by Bruce Gossett. The 49ers managed to work the clock and made it to the 23 yard line to set up a 40 yard field goal on the last play of the game. The '70 49ers upset the '79 San Diego Chargers.