Today is Super Bowl Sunday XLIV, the day the Seattle Seahawks will win its second-in-a-row Super Bowl, defeating the New England Patriots by at least a touchdown. The hero and maybe the Most Valuable Player will be Russell Wilson, the former NC State quarterback who was exiled to the Wisconsin Badgers and a Rose Bowl victory before making his way to the National Football League. Prediction, you ask? We’ll see. This, though, is less about football and more about basketball.
Many Super Bowl Sundays ago, NC State’s basketball team was center stage and the lead-in to a history making NFL title game between the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. The Wolfpack played the Maryland Terrapins, ranked No. 2 in the nation behind UCLA, in College Park that Sunday, January 14, 1973. The Atlantic Coast Conference game was played a few hours prior to the Super Bowl and was televised nationwide to an estimated 30 million viewers. It was the first of many Super Sunday lead-in college basketball games to come.
In the basketball game, the score was tied, 85-85, with 90 seconds on the clock and the Wolfpack had the ball. State guard Monte Towe had fouled out, so sophomore forward David Thompson played keep-away with senior guard Joe Cafferky and sophomore guard Mark Moeller until Coach Norm Sloan called for a timeout with 38 seconds to go. After putting the ball in play, State kept it away from the basket for another 26 seconds, calling time out with 12 seconds to go.
When play resumed, for some reason, 7’2” center Tommy Burleson ended up with the ball about 25 feet from the basket with five seconds left. He could not find anyone to receive a pass, so he launched a shot which hit the rim and bounced away, and, in a story written by Ken Lloyd, sports editor of the Technician (NC State student newspaper), from out of nowhere came Dazzlin’ Dave, soaring as only he can, to tip in the winning bucket and put the finishing touches on a superb 37-point performance.
The Wolfpack, on a one-year NCAA probation (which you can read about in 1973-74 Reliving the NC State Wolfpack’s Title Run [CaryTown Press]), finished the season 27-0 overall and 12-0 in the ACC, winning the regular season and ACC Tournament championships, but could not play in post-season. Footnote to that historical basketball day: Miami won the Super Bowl, 14-7, over the Redskins, completing a perfect 17-0 record for the season and playoffs, the only time an NFL team has never lost a game for a season.
Dictionary.com word of the day
nonesuch (noun) [nuhn-suhch]: a person or thing without equal; paragon