I had no idea this song, which I thought was just some NBA get-pumped!! song written on commission by some poor working musician, was not only by a British prog rock band staple, but was named after a star.

I can also understand why they play the first few minutes during player intros, rather than minutes 2-6.

The longer story is that I’m trying to make a music mix of songs named after stars.  It will have more than Alan Parsons Project songs.


This week, #7…no, not that #7.  Craig Morton, of course.

Craig Morton

Craig Morton readies to pass while a 1980s San Diego Charger bears down.

Remaining editions of KY1980sDBs: 1.

A highly-touted prospect out of Cal, Craig was drafted in the 1st round (5th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in 1965.  (He was also drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the AFL, but, like, who cares?  I guess the Raiders hoped he might have trouble signing with Dallas or not want to be a backup and they’d have rights to him if he turned to the AFL.) He went on to play for 18 years in the NFL.  Initially backing up Don Meredith, Craig was anointed the team’s starter for the 1969 season.  Later, after losing the starting role to Roger Staubach, Craig spent time with the New York Giants before coming to the Broncos in 1977.  That year, his performance earned him the AP Comeback Player of the Year award, given to players who have a great year after being down with injuries, or in Craig’s case, being not so good.  He spent his last six years in Denver, through the strike-shortened 1982 season.  A strong-armed downfield passer, Craig led the league in yards per attempt three times, once with the Broncos.  He is the Broncos’ best all-time in that category, among regular starting quarterbacks.  He threw for 11,895 yards and 74 touchdowns with the team, retiring as the team’s all-time leader, and still good for second place in both categories.  Craig was enshrined in the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 1988 and elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

He played in Super Bowl V for the Cowboys, enduring a close loss to the Baltimore Colts, 16-13.  He later led the Broncos to Super Bowl XII, in which the Broncos were pummeled by Roger Staubach’s Dallas Cowboys 27-10.  Craig had an infamously terrible day, getting hounded by the Cowboys’ defense, throwing four interceptions, and getting benched in favor of Norris Weese.  However, Craig long held the distinction of being the only quarterback in NFL history to have led two different teams to the Super Bowl (a feat later equaled by Kurt Warner).

So what makes Craig Morton so awesome?  He is the oldest Denver Bronco ever, having suited up for his last game with the team in 1982 at age 39 years, 289 days, about a year older than any other player in team history, and more than 3 years older than the next oldest 1980s Denver Bronco, Paul Howard.

These days, Craig works as the Cal athletic department’s Major Gifts Officer, where, according to this article, it is his job to ask for money.  He is also an active voter in the Harris Interactive College Poll, which determines college football’s BCS rankings.  He also recently co-authored a book, Then Morton Said to Elway… The Best Denver Broncos Stories Ever Told, which I suppose would be good reading if you are the kind of person who will miss Know Your 1980s Denver Broncos.

Then Morton Said to Elway: The Best Denver Broncos Stories Ever Told


This week, Head Coach Dan Reeves.

Head Coach Dan Reeves

From my beloved 1982 Broncos yearbook, a glorious UNCREDITED (!) painting of giant Coach Reeves surveying the entire team tackling a hapless Seahawks player. Behind him, the majestic Rocky Mountains*.

Remaining editions of KY1980sDBs: 2.

Dan was hired as head coach of the Broncos before the 1981 season, at age 37, the youngest head coach in the league at the time.  He succeeded the successful (but not successful enough!) Red Miller, and there should be a league rule mandating that there is always at least one head coach named “Red.”  Dan came along at the right time, just two years before the Broncos obtainedJohn Elway, and Coach Reeves got to spend the rest of his tenure relying on one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.  Dan’s approach was to base his offense on a strong running game, defense, and conservative play calling.  This occasionally led to spats with his star quarterback and Broncos fans, who felt that his approach didn’t suit the talents of the team at the time.  Nevertheless, a football coach is charged with winning games, and Dan did that, compiling a 110-73 record (a .601 winning percentage) over his 12 years with the team, winning the division six times and making it to the Super Bowl three times.  After a mediocre 1992 season, and a perception that more success may be found going in another direction, Dan was fired by the Broncos. He coached for another 11 years for the New York Giants, then the Atlanta Falcons.  In 1993 and 1998, once with each of those teams, he was named AP NFL Coach of the Year.

He coached in Super Bowl XXI, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the New York Giants 39-20, Super Bowl XXII, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the Washington Native Americans 42-10, and Super Bowl XXIV, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the San Francisco 49ers 55-10.  Dan later led the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII, in which his team was pummeled by the Mike Shanahan-led Broncos, 34-19.

So what makes Dan Reeves so awesome? Despite his overconservative coaching reputation, Dan managed to consistently adapt and succeed as the Broncos’ coach.  As one example of his adaptability, he was willing to hand some playcalling duties to John Elway when the quarterback was in his prime.  Though the two often clashed, Dan’s mentoring helped turn John into the great player he became.  Dan’s leadership guided the Broncos to three 1980s Super Bowls, and despite the team’s pummelings on the biggest stage, it cemented the franchise as one of the consistently best in the NFL.

These days, at 66 years old, Dan serves as a broadcaster for the Westwood One radio network.  He has shown interest in returning to the sidelines since his tenure with the Falcons ended in 2003.  He briefly served as a consultant for the Dallas Cowboys, has interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers, and has implied he would like to work with current Buffalo Bills’ coach Chan Gailey, whom he had coached as a youth player.

*This picture is almost as good.  He looks like Clark Kent about to enter a phone booth.

Things which are happening, in bulleted, executive-summary form, for blog readers on the go!

*My wedding.  Yesterday was my negative-one-month anniversary, meaning that in a month from now my freewheeling bachelor days of living with my fiancee in the house we bought together and going to bed at 10 every night are coming to a continuation.  We got our marriage license today in an unprecedented show of bureaucratic efficiency.  Wedding stuff is pretty much set.  Looking forward to seeing some family (mostly hers, as they will outnumber my family’s attendees like 3-1, so all mutual friends have to sit on my side) but mostly looking forward to having it done and eating cake and being on our honeymoon.  But, who wouldn’t?

*Artie’s recovery continues.  Monday was liberation day: stitches removed, e-collar retired, confinement discontinued.  Vet says he’s doing great and now we’re into the long process of him regaining his strength and getting used to walking on a leg that’s missing a joint and is shorter than the other one.  Also he’s still like 30% bald so that has to grow back in.  We thought he would never want to see the guest room, the location of his confinement, ever again.  But, oddly, he’s pestering us to be let back in there.  Leading theory is that is where he got all his morphine and he’s hoping for another hit.

*Fantasy baseball season ends, playoff baseball begins.  My fake teams all took home a trophy: in three leagues I finished first, second, and third.  This proves once again that most of my best skills have no practical value whatsoever, at least until being able to successfully predict the general trend of professional sports statistics becomes a paying occupation.  (Of course, there is always gambling.)  As far as playoffs go, I don’t anticipate watching heavily this year.  I think I watched maybe three games from start to finish this year.  Although I read an absolute ton.  I feel like I followed a whole season of some computer simulation that didn’t actually take place in the biosphere.  It’s disorienting to then actually watch: I spend all my time reading Fangraphs and Joe Posnanski, where they intelligently talk about advanced statistics that actually, you know, affect outcomes of games.  Then I turn on a game and the announcers tell me that Player X really knows how to win, and then there are beer commercials telling me that somehow Coors Light is good now because it comes in a new type of container, and then I barf.

*I started reading Thomas Pynchon’s V., which I mention because every time I try to read Pynchon since I failed to get through Gravity’s Rainbow, I feel that I have to report the effort.  Since failing at GR, I tried, succeeded, and loved The Crying of Lot 49.  I thought I was ready for V. and I’m getting through it all right but honestly finding it to be a bit of a slog.  I’m hoping the ending comes together for me, but we’ll see.

*I am desperately trying to figure out what that pumpkin ale was that I had 3-5 years ago that was so delicious.  Most pumpkin ales seem like they’ll be good, and might even smell good, but then turn out to be a little boring.  This one, which I am not making up, was excellent.  But I don’t remember what it was.  If you have a good pumpkin ale recommendation, I am eagerly listening.


This week, #57, Tom Jackson.

Tom JacksonAnnouncement!  This edition covers the first of the three remaining as-yet-unprofiled 1980s Denver Broncos in the Ring of Fame.  (The Broncos’ Ring of Fame does have a few more Broncos who played in the 1980s, but I do not consider them 1980s Denver Broncos, if you follow me.  Haven Moses and Billy Thompson both played through 1981, and would be important points of discussion in KNOW YOUR 1970s DENVER BRONCOS, but I will omit them from this series.)  Upcoming editions of KNOW YOUR 1980s DENVER BRONCOS will cover the other two, plus one bonus edition.  And…those will sadly mark the conclusion of the series.  I know what you’re thinking: that, according to Pro Football Reference, there are 148 1980s Denver Broncos, and this will only be 22 of them.  But I don’t think I can come up with something interesting to say about the remaining 126.  So, let the countdown begin.

Tom was drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round of the 1973 draft, and went on to play his entire 14-year career with the team. To this day, only John Elway and Jason Elam have played more games as a Bronco. He is among the all-time team leaders in interceptions, and would probably be near the top for tackles and sacks, had they been adequately recorded during the bulk of his playing days.  Tom was elected to three Pro Bowls and, in 1977, to the league’s All-Pro Team, as one of the leaders of the Broncos’ vaunted Orange Crush defense.  He was inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 1992.

He played in Super Bowl XII, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys 27-10, and Super Bowl XXI, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the New York Giants 39-20. The team’s even more severe pummelings in Super Bowls XXII and XXIV might be attributable to the loss of Tom’s veteran leadership on defense.

So what makes Tom Jackson so awesome? He remains one of the team’s signature players both on and off the field.  Not only statistically, and in terms of leadership, but as a highly visible personality for an ofter-overlooked team.  He routinely picks the Broncos to do well on ESPN and clearly shows a level of bias all fans of the team appreciate.

These days, Tom is a highly successful broadcaster.  He remains entrenched on ESPN’s featured NFL shows, where he has had a position since 1987, 23 years to date, much longer than he was a player!  The relative lengths of his player and broadcaster information on his Wikipedia page speaks to his increased visibility in his current position, as well as the fact that most people who edit Wikipedia have only ever known Tom as a broadcaster.  He’s a skilled and intelligent presence on ESPN, and is unfortunately subject to the overbearing personalities of the (approximately) twelve hundred other panelists on NFL Countdown.  Tom lives in Cincinnati, and, according to his Wikipedia bio, loves spicy food so much he wants to market his own hot sauce.