Saturday, June 27, 2009

Memories of the Original MJ

My Michael Jackson memories date me and my age. I first saw him and Jackson 5 on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1970. I listened to their first album on an 8-track cassette.

But the closest I came to Michael Jackson -- the original MJ -- was in 1993 when he appeared at halftime of Super Bowl XXVII at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena where everyone thought the San Francisco 49ers would be. The 49ers had the best record (14-2) in the NFL during the 1992 season and that earned them the right to host the upstart Dallas Cowboys in the NFL championship game at Candlestick Park on Jan. 17, 1993.

It was Steve Young’s first championship game as the 49ers quarterback, replacing Joe Montana. He drove the 49ers 93 yards to a touchdown with 4:33 left in the game, pulling the 49ers within 24-20. I had come down from the press box and was on the sideline to the left of the 49ers bench. The crowd was as loud as I can ever remember it being at Candlestick Park. The Cowboys had the ball and the 49ers’ defense needed a stop and everyone was on their feet. It was thunderous. The momentum had shifted.

Then,  on first down, Troy Aikman threw a 14-yard pass to Alvin Harper who turned it into 70-yard gain and Candlestick fell silent and the 49ers’ rally went dead. Three plays later, Dallas scored the clinching TD and Jimmy Johnson walked into the visiting locker room and uttered that infamous scream “How ‘bout them Cowboys!”

It wasn’t supposed to be the Cowboys’ year. It was supposed to be the 49ers’ year and I was supposed to go to the Super Bowl.

Instead, Michael Jackson told us to “Beat it.”


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