Today, Dec. 25 is by far the most anticipated day of the year as families and friends gather to make lifelong memories. This probably won’t come as a shock to those who know me and the seven people who read my column but some of my fondest Christmas Day memories are sports-related.
I’ll start with my favorite Christmas Day sports memory.
It was 1995 and the Dallas Cowboys were on the road playing the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Cheap Emmitt Smith Jersey needed just one touchdown to break what was then the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season but it was the Cowboys’ final game of the regular season so if it was to going to happen, it had to happen on that Christmas night.
I remember jumping up and down as the Cowboys took an early 24-0 lead but also getting nervous knowing none of those three touchdowns were scored by Smith. Two of them were touchdown passes to Kevin Williams, a No. 2 receiver who hadn’t seen much of the end zone that year, so it was easy to be happy for him but I wanted my favorite running back to break that record. The other touchdown at that point came on a pick-six from Brock Marion.
Smith eventually score that touchdown in the fourth quarter and I’m guessing if you were one of my family members watching with me, you probably would have thought I was the one who broke the record.
A fun fact about that game – footage of it was used for the movie “Jerry Maguire.” I saw that movie for the first time within the last few years and recognized what game that was right away. Some people might say that’s sad but I’m kind of proud of that fact.
During the dynasty years, the Lakers provided a lot of Christmas-day entertainment. I remember vividly when the Lakers beat the Celtics in 2008, not only because of the LA-Boston rivalry and the fact that it was a rematch of the previous NBA Finals but that was also the game when Phil Jackson earned his 1,000th win.
Four years prior to that, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal faced off the first time since being teammates. The Heat and Lakers were tied at 91 when O’Neal fouled but the Heat came out victorious 104-102. It’s sad to think of the fact that Bryant is no longer with us but he provided us with many great memories, even Christmas-Day memories.
Legendary Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, who sadly, also passed away in 2020, broke on Christmas Day. In 1994, the Pro Football Hall of Famer coached his Dolphins to a 27-20 victory over the Detroit Lions, his 319th regular-season win, an NFL record.
I’m too young to remember it but the Dolphins were involved in what has become known as the “Longest Game in NFL History,” in 1971. At that time, if the two teams were still tied after one overtime period, they’d go into a second, and that’s what happened between the Dolphins and Chiefs. A field goal eventually led Miami to a 27-24 win.
These are just a few sports Christmas moments that stand out the most and there’s no telling what today has in store. The Saints and Vikings could add to the festivities. The NBA could also provide some surprises with the Warriors vs. Bucks, Nets vs. Celtics or Mavericks vs. Lakers. Maybe sports happening today will provide some positive memories for a year that many people would like to forget.
With all that being said, however you celebrate this holiday season and whatever games you will be watching, have a Merry Christmas.
TEMPE, AZ — Because of the ongoing pandemic, Pat’s Run will again be held virtually in 2021.
“While we are disappointed that we won’t be in the same physical location, we will all still come together for the spirited, family-friendly event that we’ve all come to know and love,” the Cheap Pat Tillman Jersey Foundation said in an email to subscribers and a note on its website.
Instead of a single-day race in Tempe, the virtual window for runners to complete their 4.12 mile run will be extended to three days on April 23-25, 2021.
Registration opens on Jan. 12, 2021 and runners will receive a t-shirt and a medal.
It is the signature fundraising event for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which supports active military, veterans, and their spouses.
The foundation is named after Pat Tillman, an ASU athlete and scholar and Arizona Cardinals recruit who put his NFL career on hold and joined the U.S. Army following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Tillman was killed by friendly-fire after his unit was attacked.
“We are also sad not to be coming together this year, but we feel a virtual race is the best way to bring our community together to support our Tillman Scholars and honor Pat’s memory, while also ensuring everyone’s safety and success for Pat’s Run,” a note on the website said.
The in-person race is traditionally held in Tempe and ends inside Sun Devil Stadium. The 2020 race was also held virtually because of the pandemic.