On April 30, Louisiana “” the state, not the blob on the back of the quarter that stretches to Winnipeg “” celebrated its first-ever bicentennial. The Zombie State’s sports history is rich, and Balls now presents the Top 200 Moments in Louisiana Sports History.
Editor’s note: Due to press limitations, 186 of the Top 200 Moments in Louisiana Sports History had to be omitted.
September 7, 1892 “” Corbett beats Sullivan. Fifteen months earlier, Louisiana had become the first state to legalize prizefighting, and “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, using a new, schmancy, scientific boxing technique to which the newly popular Marquis of Queensberry Rules lent themselves, became boxing’s heavyweight champion by upending John Lawrence Sullivan, the “Boston Strong Boy” who proved to be the final heavyweight champion of the bare-knuckle era, by way of a knockout in the 21st round. Unusual for boxing at the time, the fight took place inside the electrically illuminated, 10,000-seat Olympic Club in the Lower Ninth Ward. Corbett’s victory effectively killed the bare-knuckle era, and every subsequent title fight was fought with gloves, prompting Mark Twain to coin the term “pussification of America.”
Circa 1920s “” Let’s face it: La Salle was no de Soto. In 1682, Robert de la Salle buried an engraved metal plate and cross in the mouth of the Mississippi River near modern-day Venice. A little over a year later, he tried to return to the mouth and find the markers he had buried in the river territory he had claimed for Louis XIV. His mission was plagued by pirates and his horrible sense of direction; he never found the mouth again. Two-hundred-fortyish years later, a Cajun trapper found the plate. Unable to decipher the Latin inscription, this Rhodes scholar melted the plate into the most historically costly fishing weights ever.
LSU proves that even the village idiot can win a national title as coach of its football program.
November 11, 1939 “” The worst football game of all time. Texas Tech took on Centenary at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds in Shreveport on a day filled with heavy rain and high winds. Neither team’s offense could gain any traction in the thick mud, so both teams resorted to punting on first down. After an amazing 77 punts, an unbreakable NCAA record had been set, and the game ended in a predictable 0-0 tie. If Brad Wing reads this paragraph, he will get a huge boner.
August 1944 “” LSU kidnaps Tittle. Marshall, Texas, native Yelberton Abraham Tittle had already enrolled to play for the Longhorns in Austin, right in the middle of that patch in South Central Texas that to this day is overflowing with Germans (not the people who make burritos “” those are another kind of people). Being that Y.A. Tittle was Jewish, an area with an inordinate amount of Germans in the mid-1940s didn’t appear to be conducive to the positive college experience he must have had in mind, which is probably why he wasn’t at all reluctant to jump in the car of overly eager LSU assistant football coach Red Swanson and head east to play for the Tigers. Texas head coach Dana Bible for years accused LSU’s Bernie Moore of kidnapping Tittle.
October 31, 1959. If you know anything about this day, you’ve read literally 8,000 articles about it, so I won’t make you suffer through another. If the mentioning of 10/31/59 doesn’t ring a bell for you, it’s because you’re holding a purse and have recently Googled the side effects of IUDs.
July 1966 “” Tug’s knocked-up one-nighter moves to Delhi. Mets reliever Tug McGraw “” a man after this writer’s own heart, “Tug” was so nicknamed by his mother for his aggressive style of breast-feeding “” left his rubbers in Queens during the 1966 All-Star break, which he spent in Jacksonville. A chick he met that week moved in with some relatives soon after in the Richland Parish hamlet of Delhi (which is pronounced the way an idiot who knows nothing about India would pronounce it). Country legend Tim McGraw had been conceived.
November 1, 1966 “” Long and Boggs successfully gangbang Rozelle. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle thought that he had successfully and efficiently organized the NFL-AFL merger, convincing Congress to pass a law exempting the merger from antitrust regulations. That’s when mortal enemies Senator Russell Long and House Majority Whip Hale Boggs joined forces and withheld their deciding votes, holding up passage of the law. After reading between the lines, Rozelle awarded New Orleans the NFL’s 16th franchise, prompting Long and Boggs to cast their votes in favor of the antitrust exemption. Rozelle was subsequently treated for severe hemorrhoids.
January 23, 1986 “” McMahon’s fruit cup. Da Bearsss were three days away from their first and only Super Bowl win in New Orleans, and Bearsss quarterback and faux Mormon Jim McMahon had grown tired of the media’s questioning him on his recent ass contusion, so he simply showed them what they needed to see.
April 6, 1994 “” Chris Everett. After years of public humiliation at the hands of Jim Rome, Saints quarterback Jim Everett physically attacked his humiliator on a live ESPN2 broadcast. It is universally regarded today as the greatest thing that a Purdue alumnus has ever done for Louisiana sports.
October 20, 1996 “” “Diddly poo.” After a 19-7 loss to Carolina, Saints head coach Jim Mora suddenly ends his tenure in New Orleans with the single-greatest sound bite in the history of sports.
November 4, 2001 “” Turley’s ‘roid rage. “It was just another play during the game of football,” Saints tackle Kyle Turley ineloquently said of the incident when he stripped Jets safety Damien Robinson of his helmet in reaction to Robinson’s grabbing of Saints quarterback and smiling expert Aaron Brooks’ face mask in the greatest football game in WWE history.
January 7, 2008 “” LSU proves that even the village idiot can win a national title as coach of its football program.
February 7, 2010 “” Cheating and bounties pay off.
March 21, 2012 “” Duck Dynasty premieres. Arguably one of the top four or five greatest, obviously scripted reality shows about a multimillion-dollar family business centered around perfectly whittled duck calls, Duck Dynasty solidifies Louisiana’s status as Sportsman’s Paradise while helping the people of West Monroe finally shed the backward image gleaned by that guy who had sex with his sister’s pet pig.