The Statue Of Liberty Play
Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses—as long as they aren't huddled at the 35-yard line and considering running what was once America's favorite sandlot play. The last NFL team to run a Statue of Liberty for a touchdown was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who flummoxed the Jacksonville Jaguars with this old chestnut on Nov. 12, 1995. The game was tied 10-10 with eight minutes left when coach Sam Wyche had Errict Rhett line up in a split-back set, which for the Bucs was often a throwing formation. "We did everything but go up to the line and scream, 'We're going to pass!' " says Wyche. At the snap Rhett took one step to his right, pivoted and crossed back in front of quarterback Trent Dilfer. Dilfer handed the ball to Rhett, who scampered into the end zone. The Bucs won 17-16.
The play was popularized by University of Chicago coach Alonzo Stagg, who ran it 21 times in an 18-0 win over Wisconsin in 1908. Now, alas, it's deemed too risky. "The Statue of Liberty has a high explosion rate, meaning that if it blows up, it blows up bad," Wyche says. "Coaches don't use it much, because they know if something looks tricky and doesn't work, they get labeled as 'tricky.' "
Bubble Gum with Baseball Cards
The pink sticks disappeared in 1996, because they interfered with new packaging technology and stained the cards. Long gone are the days when, seeing yet another Wayne Terwilliger card with your bubble gum, you would ditch Terwilliger and keep the gum.
If Peter O'Malley completes his planned $350 million sale of the Dodgers to media mogul Rupert Murdoch, only eight of North America's 113 major sports teams will serve as the primary source of income for the families or individuals who own them: the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams in the NFL and the Milwaukee Brewers in baseball. Though a few grand old sporting families, such as the Rooneys (Steelers) and Browns (Bengals) are still in the business, others, such as the Wrigleys (Chicago Cubs) and Yawkeys (Boston Red Sox) are gone. Looking around the pro sports landscape at owners such as Paul Allen (Seattle Seahawks), who has a reported net worth of $11 billion, and Time Warner (Atlanta Braves and Hawks), which has assets valued at $20 billion. Bengals president Mike Brown says with no small measure of understatement, "They have a safety net we don't."
At its peak of popularity, in 1972, Roller Derby drew 5.5 million fans to U.S. rinks. But the biggest star, Blonde Bomber Joanie Weston, died in May at 62, and her sport—developed by impresario Leo Seltzer in Depression-era Chicago—died after promoters turned it into a WWF-style geek show later in the 1970s.
Independent NASCAR Drivers
Dave Marcis is a throwback to an age when drivers maintained and raced cars they actually owned and depended on their winnings for food and gas. Thus, during qualifiers for the NASCAR Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Raceway in July, the 56-year-old Marcis, who has a permanent race-day crew of only four (most drivers have eight), spent part of his time under the hood of his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, trying to remove a faulty shock absorber. "We're definitely behind the times," says Marcis' assistant, Dwayne Leek. "There's only so much Dave can do."
Marcis is regarded as the last of the old-time independent drivers. "Today guys come along, get in a car and don't really understand it," says Marcis, who has earned a little more than $5 million in 30 years on the track. I enjoy doing my own thing."
He hasn't won a race in 15 years, however, and he lives a spartan existence. Most drivers have spacious, air-conditioned trailers, catered meals and even personal fitness trainers. Until this season, when Marcis' team was able to borrow a relatively new van to travel in, it used a rickety hitch-up trailer that barely had room for the bologna sandwiches Marcis packs for every race.