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Zoned Out
Rick Reilly
December 15, 2003
The SI columnist's home state deserves a little more attention, thank you
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December 15, 2003

Zoned Out

The SI columnist's home state deserves a little more attention, thank you

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Here in Colorado there is one thing we pine to hear, three little words from the rest of the country that would finally make us feel loved: "7 p.m., Mountain." � Why must every freaking kickoff be, "9 Eastern, 8 Central, 6 Pacific"? Why do you forsake us, Mr. Announcer? What have we done to deserve this, Ms. Chiron Typist? � What are we, tundra? You think it's just prairie dogs between Kansas City and Bakersfield? You think it's the Land Before Time, as though we all just walk around without watches, bumping into each other, going, "Does the sun look kind of 4:30ish to you?" � Throw us a freaking bone here, people! My God, look what Colorado has contributed to sports! �

?The most exciting quarterback ever, John Elway. Or don't you remember the Drive, the Drive II and the Dive? Do you forget first-down-and-98-to-go and Elway telling his boys, "We've got 'em right where we want 'em"? Do you remember his two aorta-halting fourth-down completions in the final drive to beat Houston in the 1991 playoffs?

?The greatest slam-dunk contest in history—David Thompson versus Julius Erving at McNichols Arena in 1976, during which hoops fans were elevated to a dizzy nirvana never approached since, with Doc winning on a cloud-gatherer.

?The feel-good moment in NHL history, in 2001, when Avalanche captain Joe Sakic handed the Stanley Cup to Ray Bourque for the first time in Bourque's 22-year career. They say even the statues in the Denver Civic Center cried that day. And yet where does Bourque hold his parade? Boston.

?The greatest college football play ever, Colorado's Kordell Stewart to Michael Westbrook for 64 yards on a planned tip with no time left to beat Michigan in 1994. And all we ever hear about is Flutie, Flutie, Flutie.

?The highest-scoring NBA team in history, the 1981-82 Denver Nuggets, featuring Dan Issel, Kiki Vandeweghe, Alex English and a coach, Doug Moe, who never called a play. They averaged 126.5 points a game. The next year, that team scored 184 points in one game—and lost! These days a team scores a lousy 100, they give away 15,000 hamburgers.

So with, all we've done, why do you snub us? We could see you saying, "9 Eastern, 6 Pacific and you Flyover States will just have to do the math." But no, you mention Central time, you hook up most of Nebraska, a place so flat you could watch your dog run away for three days.

It's not funny! Because you forget us in time, you forget us in history. Do you realize that there isn't one Denver Bronco in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? The Broncos have played in six Super Bowls, second only to Dallas's eight—and yet seven Cowboys are enshrined.

No Rich (the Sheriff) Jackson, who would've blown away today's sack numbers, if they'd kept that stat in his day. No Floyd Little, who retired as the seventh-leading rusher in NFL history. (The six in front of him are in.) No Randy Gradishar, who had twice the tackles of fellow linebacker Ted Hendricks, who's in. Teams with fewer Super Bowl appearances punk Denver continually—Pittsburgh (17 Hall of Famers), Oakland (12), Miami (8), Minnesota (6). Even Tennessee has two. Shame, shame, shame.

Look who we've contributed to sports history: Jack Dempsey, Damon Runyon, Byron (Whizzer) White, Hale Irwin, Frank Shorter, Peter Forsberg and, of course, the Barrel Man. How many stadium whack jobs have their own books?

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