You are now in time travel mode: Long hair, wild printed shirts, bell bottoms and white belts are in. No, we're not talking 2005. It is late 1974.
Nobody has cell phones. The Internet hasn't been invented yet. Don Shula's Dolphins are coming off two consecutive Super Bowl championships and they are back in their rightful place again.
On December 21, the Dolphins are in Oakland for what they hope is the first step back to their fourth consecutive Super Bowl and third title in a row. Al Davis, not yet a member of the undead who occasionally rises out of his coffin to fire coaches, spends time before the game talking with John Madden who is not yet a broadcaster or a video game icon.
On that fateful afternoon 34 years ago the Dolphins and Raiders play one of the most memorable playoff games of all time -- the Sea of Hands game. It is called that because that is what it looked like at the end when Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler launched a pass that traveled past a sea of Dolphins hands and into the awaiting arms of Clarence Davis.
After three lead changes in the final five minutes, the Raiders win 28-26 and Miami's hopes of winning a third straight Super Bowl are dashed. Within months the Dolphins break up, with Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield defecting to the World Football League.
That classic playoff game has been the subject of many tall tales, but none have been spun by NFL Films because they lost their footage from that game. The films were believed lost in a move years ago. The NBC tape of the game was believed destroyed in a fire. (Wish MSNBC would be destroyed in a fire.)
Anyway, the folks at Films recently found the lost tapes and the footage will be aired for the first time in 34 years tonight on ESPN2 as the latest installment of the Greatest Games series.
The 90-minute show will air at 12:30 a.m. Friday on the east coast (which is late tonight) or 9:30 p.m. pacific time (which is still Thursday). It will re-air again later and I'll alert you about that if you miss or do not DVR tonight.
It is billed by NFL Films as the most comprehensive show of the game ever done because it includes current interviews with some of the game's participants. I know it is something of a bummer because it was a Dolphins loss, but for the true Miami fan wanting to have a full body of knowledge about his team, including its history, this show is a must see.
A quick quiz:
How was Miami's opening TD scored that day? You might be surprised.
Who scored Miami's final TD, the one some said came, "too soon?"
Who was tackling Stabler as he threw and who was draped around Davis as he scored?
Don't cheat if you don't know. Just watch.