Most weekdays from now until the Packers and Seahawks kick off on September 4th, The Big Lead will detail one reason we are excited for football season to begin. Including today, we’re 38 days away from NCAA and 45 from NFL.
If you talk to anyone between the age of roughly 37 years old and 45 years old, and mention the name “Bo Jackson”, you will likely get more fawning than a group of middle-aged white sportswriters anticipating a Bruce Springsteen concert. Let’s face it, if you are about my age, you came of age as a football fan during the “Bo Knows” era. If feel pretty confident that if the internet age had been around during Bo Jackson, he would have broken it many times over.
If you weren’t around, and looked at his career statistics in baseball and football, you might not get all the hype. Playing both sports, he never started a NFL season before mid-October. He was just starting to become of one of the best players in baseball when the football injury robbed him, flashing great power and arm strength while also having plenty of opportunities to break his bat over his knee after a strikeout.
If you were around and were becoming a sports fan, well, he was the most amazing athlete you had seen. Some of this is what my good friend Doug Drinen describes as the “world was perfect when [you] were 12 years old.”
And so it was for me. Growing up in Kansas City, Bo Jackson was larger than life. I remember watching his throw from the warning track to the plate in a late night West Coast game to save it. I was glued to the TV at the start of the 1989 All-Star Game. I was watching Monday Night Football when he ran through Brian Bosworth and also ran into a tunnel after a 91 yard run. I had the posters with him in a football and baseball uniform on the wall.
Why do we love football? Bo knows it’s because of the larger than life performances. We also learned just how ephemeral it all can be. When Jackson hurt his hip in that playoff game against Cincinnati in January 1991, we all felt it. Life isn’t fair. Neither is football sometimes.
So as we look forward to the season, here are some Bo Jackson highlights to get you through the summer doldrums.
The touchdown run into the tunnel against Seattle:
Bo carrying Bosworth into the end zone:
Touchdown run against Denver:
Gunning Harold Reynolds from the warning track after bare-hand grab: