I could not have told you when I was younger, but I like writing today because of the ability to tell stories. That comes across as simple enough, but I promise there is more to it. When I was in elementary school we were encouraged to read because we could go anywhere that our imaginations could take us. This was supposed to develop our curiosity and enhance our learning.
Therefore, we would be given books about the sea, how animals anatomy works, or child aged mystery and suspense books. This was a good idea. However, the main problem is that this did not enhance my love for reading or make me want to be more creative. I found reading to be boring during elementary school, which created a disturbing pattern during my schooling. We were encouraged to read books that interested us, nonetheless, we were never given a chance to read what we wanted because we often had to read what the instructor gave us. For that reason, pushing into middle school and high school my love for reading diminished. I could probably count on one hand how many books I actually read during those early years.
One day my sister came to me with the book suggestion, Along Came a Spider by James Patterson that changed my outlook on books. I read it in about one week. It was like watching a movie as I vividly imagined the scenes, the characters, and followed the plot as it unfolded. I was captivated by every moment of suspense and intrigue. I finally understood what book readers meant by the common phrase, “the book is better than the movie.” There is one-hundred percent truth to this statement. Books just hit differently. The details are fresh, the plots are well conceived, and the characters are very well developed. It is the perfect form of storytelling. Now that I am in college, reading and writing has become a regular part of my life, but it goes back to that first book that sister let me read about fifteen years ago.
Even though reading was not a part of my daily habits as a child, looking back, storytelling very much was a major part of my life. This is only something that I have realized after examining my life in retrospect. One of the main reasons I enjoyed watching sports documentaries growing up was because of its ability to tell stories. One of my favorite shows to watch was Road to the Super Bowl. This is a program that still comes on to this very day, but in my opinion, the program was better when I was growing up because of NFL Film’s ability to a tell story out of the NFL season.
They were able to take the main points of a 17-week regular season, including the first three weeks of the post season, and make it into a digestible storyline. NFL Films would narrate aspects such as great individual accomplishments or team successes that were a surprise to the season. They would even detail the season’s most dominant team and maybe even a coach that led his team from the bottom of the pack all the way to a division title. I used to watch this program and devour the material. It captured my imagination unlike anything else I would watch. I would watch the programs so many times that I could remember the words of Harry Kalas and John Facenda, the iconic voices of the narrators behind the program I loved.
Though many Road to the Super Bowl’s had an impact on me it was one in particular that captured by imagination unlike any other. Road to the Super Bowl 1990. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have seen it over 75 times in my lifetime. That is how much it has meant to me. While the statistics, teams, and players have all come to be interesting to me, it is the captivating storyline of the 1990 NFL season that has been the most compelling to me. NFL Films told the story of the 1990 NFL season better than any other season they have ever told. I have many points of information stored in my memory from that season, simply from watching that  Road to the Super Bowl.
• Seahawks finished 9-7 just one game from a playoff berth despite starting 0-3
• Seahawks 6-2 record (through games 9-16) was the best through the 2nd half of the season
• Barry Sanders led the league in rushing and TDs
• Marty Schottenheimer, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcels, Mike Ditka, Don Shula, Marv Levy and Sam Wyche were among the league’s best coaches
• Marty Schottenheimer led Kansas City to its best record since 1969. Don Shula leads the Dolphins back to the playoffs for the first time since 1985, while the other five coaches led their teams to a division title
• Randall Cunningham threw 30 TD’s and was the NFL’s most exciting QB
• Warren Moon shows the run and shoot is perfect for his talent as he leads the NFL in completions
• Steve DeBerg has his best season ever as he has the 2nd lowest interception ratio of all time
• The Raiders win 12 games and the AFC West title to reassert their dominance
• Bo Jackson is the first back up ever to make the Pro Bowl and Marcus Allen scores 13 TDs
• Raiders have the 4th best defense and finish 2nd in sacks
• Bruce Smith of the Bills wins defensive player of year
• Thurman Thomas leads the AFC in rushing and leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage
• With victories over the Eagles and Giants, the Bills are classified as an NFC team
• Bills are no longer full of “bluster and bravado”
• Bills win 3rd straight AFC East title despite Jim Kelly being on the sideline
• Bills hang 44 points and 500+ yards on the Dolphins in the playoffs
• With 4 sacks and timely offensive plays the Raiders defeat the Bengals 20-10 in the playoffs
• Bills embarrass the Raiders 51-3 in the AFC Championship game
• Coming off of back-to-back Super Bowl seasons, the 49ers are primed unlike any other team to three-peat
• The 49ers have to work harder for their victories, but because of Joe Montana they are still the best team in the NFL
• 49ers start 10-0
• 49ers extended their road streak to 18 victories
• 49ers advanced to the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season
• Giants ran an offense that consisted of a “minimum number of plays executed to the maximum efficiency”
• Giants possessed the NFLs #1 scoring defense
• Phil Simms preferred a “High yield low risk” passing attack
• Giants start 10-0
• Week 13: 49ers defeat the Giants 7-3. A loss that sends the Giants into a tailspin to end the regular season. In the process, the Giants lose starting QB Phil Simms for the season to injury
• Long time back up QB Jeff Hostetler filled the role of starting QB for the Giants
• In the NFC Divisional Playoffs vs the Bears, Hostetler gets the Giants back on track as they trounce the Bears 31-3
• In the other NFC Divisional playoff game, the 49ers end the Redskins season with a Michael Carter interception for a TD. 49ers win 28-10
• Despite a 13-6 lead by the 49ers over the Giants in the NFC Championship game, it is a hit by Leonard Marshall on Joe Montana that knocked Montana out of the game changing the games complexion
• Leading 13-12 late in the 4th quarter only needing to run the clock out, Roger Craig fumbles the football leading to a recovery by Lawrence Taylor
• Hostetler puts the Giants in range for a game winning FG
• Matt Bahr hits a FG to send the Giants to the Super Bowl
It is because of re-watching the 1990 Road to the Super Bowl that many aspects of the season have stuck out to me. For instance, to this day no other team, including past great teams have had a more golden opportunity to three-peat then the 1990 San Francisco 49ers. It is a travesty that they were unable to beat a New York Giants team that they were clearly better than. The 49ers and Giants had some memorable chapters in the 1980s, but that 1990 NFC Championship, which would be the last game in that era, would be its best.
The Raiders, who at the time were in Los Angeles, were presented as a team that had found themselves and would go on to great accomplishments as they had in the past. However, in the decade of the 1990s this would be the Raiders shining achievement. Difficulties with Raiders owner Al Davis allowed the Raiders to lose the greatest running back they ever had in Marcus Allen. Furthermore, in the Raiders playoff victory over the Bengals, they lost perhaps the NFLs most exciting young runner, Bo Jackson to a career ending hip injury.
The Buffalo Bills would go on to play in one of the most exciting Super Bowl’s ever (XXV), but in a game in which they were unable to assert their dominance it would cost them as they lost their grip on the game. Ultimately, it came down to a field goal that has forever come to be known as “wide right.”
The 1990 NFL season is full of gems and great memories as NFL Films brilliantly told its story. While I still love listening to stories of sports season both NFL and NBA, my love for story telling has expanded. I like to write my own short stories, about romance, first loves, friendship, and even those based on historical elements. I am still finding my style, but I know this much, that I love to write and create worlds. It is so refreshing to be the author of a world and I owe it all to my love for one program from my past. Road to the Super Bowl.