Cotton, Street and the Game of the Century

BILL MARTIN

The recent passing of James Street brought with it a flood of emotions for those who remember the man for what he accomplished at the University of Texas.

I was around him as a young man and as an adult and I can say it was always a pleasure and somewhat of a thrill.

I guess as a tribute to Street, I went back and watched the classic 1969 “Game of The Century” between Texas and Arkansas on You Tube.

Whether you’re a Longhorn fan or not, if you’re a college football fan, I highly recommend watching it.

It’s on video tape and is so clear that it looks like it was played last week.

To hear Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson again was a treat. They weren’t the two best announcers, but they kept it sweet and simple and allowed the game to unfold in front of you.

It was refreshing not to have 27 studio “experts” and sideline and end zone reporters interrupting the actual game. Just Texas vs. Arkansas, no insight needed.

It was the only game on television that week.

To hear Schenkel mention those names again, the names that we worshiped as kids, brought a smile to my face.

Steve Worster, Ted Koy, Jim Bertleson, Bob McKay, Bill Atessis, Danny Lester, Freddie Steinmark, Bill Montgomery, Bill Burnett, Chuck Dicus and for some reason, Schenkel kept referring to Cotton Speyrer as Charlie Speyrer.

Now his given name was Charles, but I doubt any one had called him Charlie since he was in diapers.

And do yourself a favor, watch McKay (No. 64)—one of the best linemen to ever play college football—mashing Razorbacks all over the field. Impressive.

It’s funny to hear Schenkel and Wilkinson brag about having this new technical innovation that no one else had—slow motion replay.

There was no instant replay review to bog the game down, but clearly Texas would have been the benefactor of a little replay as the first pass that Arkansas completes to set up their first score after a Longhorn fumble on the second play of the game, John Reese was clearly out of bounds.

Texas fumbled five times and there wasn’t one review. Back then, a fumble was a fumble.

Now as I’ve stated before, my father was the biggest Texas fan I’ve ever known. Think Weldon Alford x2.

He was the president of the Louisiana Texas Exes when we lived in Lafayette and for the Game of the Century, he rented a banquet room at one of the hotels in town and Longhorns came from all over the Pelican state to watch.

All 200 of us watched the game on one television and if I had to guess I would say it was probably (Aghast!) a 21-inch screen—huge for that day and age. It also had a set rabbitt ears perched on top of it.

Despite the fact that I was 11 years old, I understood the importance of this game.

Texas found itself behind 14-0 at halftime, so my father did what he always did when the Longhorns were behind at halftime—he fired up his lucky cigar. He lit it up inside the banquet room (Aghast! part 2).

When James Street took off on his infamous 58-yard


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2013-10-10 digital edition



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