SPORTING MISCHIEF & MAYHEM: The day Wilt the Stilt and the Bears made their point

By Inigo ‘Naughty’ Zenicazelaya

CHRISTMAS is fast approaching - the equivalent of the Super Bowl for ‘shopaholics’ like my wife.

Any ‘shopaholic’ will tell you ‘Black Friday’ is their pre-season, while the 12 days of Christmas serves as their playoffs leading to their Championship game, ‘The Mid Night Madness’ sale at Kelly’s!

Myself on the other hand, I am dealing with a first-round fantasy football playoff loss, leaving me now with six of my original 10 teams alive and in the playoffs, where anything can happen.

So I study match-ups and projected scores for my remaining fantasy teams, all while trying to avoid speaking about my Cowboys still being in contention in the worst division in football, the NFC Least.

No matter how much I beat up my gums for the Cowboys to tank it so as to get that high first round pick in the NFL Draft and that soft fourth place schedule next season, it’s not going to happen though.

Here’s my prediction: back up QB Matt Cassel, now playing for a contract because he’s a free agent at the end of the season, is going to show off his skills and get us into a race down to the wire for the division title and first-round playoff game.

Again, a scenario which we don’t need playing out. The Cowboys need that high draft pick and ‘cup cake’ schedule for next season.

I can’t rack my brain over ‘what if’s’ regarding the NFL playoff picture, how many more tears to shed on Kobe’s retirement and all the off-season comings and and goings in baseball.

So in order to keep my sanity and appetite, I went back in time to see what great moments in sports history occurred on this date, December 8, and all I can say is, this day has proven to be loaded with sports greatness historically.

1940 - Bears 73

Redskins 0

The 1940 NFL Championship game was a blowout of epic proportions as the Chicago Bears humiliated the Washington Redskins 73-0.

It was the largest blowout in NFL history, add the fact that it happened between the two best teams in the league at the time made it an instant classic.

Chicago’s 73 points still stands as the single-game best in either the regular season or the post-season.

Three weeks earlier, the Bears had lost to those same Redskins, 7-3. Chicago thought they scored in the final minutes for the win. Redskins owner George Preston Marshall fired the Bears up by calling them crybabies. Legendary Bears coach George Halas made sure his team was ready for the rematch, bulletin board material and all.

Halas was a master motivator, his team was primed and ready for the challenge. The Redskins never saw it coming. Ten different Bears scored in the massacre. Redskins owner Marshall was so disgusted that he stormed off the field, calling some of his players “yellow”.

Legendary Hall of Fame Redskins quarterback “Slinging” Sammy Baugh threw a wide-open pass to Charley Malone that would have put Washington on the board. However the ball slipped through his fingertips and the ‘Skins finished shut out.

The 1940 championship game was also the final recorded game in which a player did not wear a helmet - Bears end Dick Plasman holds that distinction.

1961 - Chamberlain scores 78 in triple overtime

It took three overtimes for my Los Angeles Lakers to defeat the Philadelphia Warriors 151-147.

Hall of Fame Lakers forward Elgin Baylor scored 63 points, but he was far from the ‘headliner’ in this one. Despite losing, Warriors centre Wilt Chamberlain scored 78 points - breaking the single-game record of 71 points set by Baylor.

Chamberlain’s record would last for three months - he scored 100 points against the New York Knicks in March.

The 141 points between Baylor and Chamberlain is still an NBA game high for two players.

1980 - Cosell delivers

news of Lennon’s death

On a sombre note, Monday Night Football legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell told the world that John Lennon of The Beatles has been shot and killed in New York.

Here are some other monumental sports happenings that also occurred on December 8.

1863 - Tom King, of England, defeated American John Heenan and became the first world heavyweight boxing champion.

1987 - Ron Hextall (Philadelphia Flyers) became the first goaltender in NHL history to shoot and score a goal. His empty net goal made him only the second goalie to get credit for a goal in the NHL.

1994 - In Los Angeles, 12 alternate jurors were chosen for the O J Simpson murder trial.

2000 - Mario Lemieux announced to the Pittsburgh Penguins that he planned to return to the National Hockey League (NHL) as a player at 35. He would be the first modern owner-player in US pro sports.

2003 - The Orlando Magic ended their 19-game losing streak by beating the Phoenix Suns 105-98.

2004 - In Michigan, five Indiana Pacers and seven fans were charged for various crimes related to a fight that broke out during a Pacers-Pistons game on November 19. The infamous “Ron Artest Brawl”.

Until next week, remember if you don’t know your past, you will never know your future, sports included.

• Naughty presents ‘Mischief and Mayhem in da AM’ from 6am to 10am, Monday to Friday and ‘The Press Box’ sports talk show on Sunday from 10am to 1pm, on KISS FM 96.1. Comments and questions to naughty@tribunemedia.net


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