By Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

In the 1970s player introductions for college football games were very different compared to the productions that they are now.  There were no fancy graphics, no computer generated backgrounds and no animations some forty years ago.  While the intros back then lacked the glitz and glamour of today’s game, they made up for it in uniqueness and creativity.

In 1973, the player introductions for the Michigan-Ohio State game were announced over the Michigan Stadium public address system. ABC-TV’s Bill Fleming was live on the field and had the players run up to the on-field camera as he announced their names to the sell-out crowd and national TV audience, literally minutes before kickoff.  Those introductions were epic and captured the emotion of the moment.  None were better than Michigan’s Curtis Tucker, Dave Gallagher and Paul Seal’s introductions.

A few years later, ABC decided to use video mug shots at the Friday walkthroughs for both teams instead of delaying the start of the game with on-field player introductions.  This was relatively boring as the players were usually just standing there in their team-issued sweat-suits as the camera moved down the line, one by one.

Then, in 1978, Michigan tailback Harlan Huckleby added a subtle coolness to his intro for the game against Notre Dame.  When the camera moved in front of #25 and paused for about 3 seconds, Huckleby winked:

When I recently asked Huck about it he didn’t recall doing the wink or what his motivation was at the time.  Whatever the reason, it was a cool move by one of Michigan’s coolest cats, for sure!

The next time Michigan was on National TV, Michigan’s Russell Davis, Ralph Clayton and Doug Marsh all decided to continue the tradition of the Huckleby Wink. During the 1978 Michigan-Ohio State game, all three players winked when the ABC camera got in front of them.  The next year, during the 1979 Notre Dame mug shot player intros, Stan Edwards, Lawrence Reid, Clayton and Ed Muransky all winked to the ABC camera.  Who knew that what Huck started on a whim a year earlier would continue with the next group of Wolverines?!

For the 1979 Rose Bowl, NBC took the player introductions to a new level.  The peacock network already had the players introducing themselves, as well as their hometown and degree of study for the previous few Rose Bowl telecasts. In 1979 NBC decided to have the starters for each team hang out in a picturesque garden while they shot their player intros.  It was a little more dynamic and flashy than ABC’s Friday walk-through mug shots, but not by much.

For Michigan quarterback Rick Leach, NBC decided to add a little pizzazz to his intro. After announcing all the offensive starters, NBC had Leach crouch down behind his offensive linemen. As legendary broadcaster Curt Gowdy announced that “you can’t hide an All-American,” the Wolverine offensive linemen all knelt down on one knee and up stood the Guts and Glue behind them. It was classic!

I’ve made a video collage of some of the more memorable Michigan player introductions of the 1970’s for all to see and remember:

Ed. You can check out the whole Dr. Sap Archives video collection here, including the intro clips from several games in the 1970s.


Follow MVictors on Twitter


Via the mind of Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis, here are the Round 1 results of the Bo Brackets

the Bo Brackets

ROUND 1 GAMES – 1970s

clip_image001 1969 vs 1970
In a close game, 1969 pulled away late in the 2nd half with a pic-six by Barry Pierson and a Garvie Craw 1-yard TD run that came off a Tom Curtis interception.


Final Score: 21-7
1969 advances


clip_image002 1971 vs 1972
Dennis Franklin out dueled Tom Slade for most of this game, but Billy Taylor scored his 2nd TD of the contest on a 65-yard scamper to put the ’71 squad up, 17-13. Franklin’s last second Hail Mary pass was batted down by Thom Darden in the endzone to preserve the victory for the 1971 team as they move on.


Final Score: 17-13
1971 advances


clip_image003 1976 vs 1977
Rob Lytle ran for three TD’s as the ’76 squad looked to make this game a blowout, but Rick Leach’s three TD passes in the 4th quarter tied the game at 21 with just under a minute to go. Jim Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to set up Bobby Wood’s game winning 33-yard field goal. Final score: 24-21.

Final Score: 24-21
1976 advances


clip_image004 1973 vs. 1974
A back and forth contest that saw the lead change 3 times, this game, not surprisingly, came down to a last second field goal. This time Mike Lantry drilled it right down the middle to give the 1973 team the 20-17 victory.


Final Score: 20-17
1973 advances


ROUND 1 GAMES – 1980s


1980 vs 1981
An 80-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Carter in the first quarter put the 1980 squad up early, but dual-threat QB Steve Smith led the 1981 Wolverines on three scoring drives to take the lead, 9-7 just before the half. After making some halftime adjustments McCartney’s Monsters finally figured out how to stop Smith with two red-zone interceptions in the 4th quarter to win, 17-9.=

Final Score: 17-9
1980 advances


1988 vs 1978
In a battle of #7 southpaw signal callers, Demetrius Brown emerged victorious over Rick Leach, 28-21. John Kolesar caught two TD passes while Vada Murray intercepted Leach’s pass in the endzone in the final minute of the game to preserve the victory for the ’88 squad.

Final Score: 28-21
1988 advances


clip_image008 1989 vs 1986
Jim Harbaugh threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to freshman wideout Greg McMurtry, but it wasn’t enough as J.D. Carlson kicked 4 field goals to lift the 1989 squad to the victory.

Final Score: 26-24
1989 advances


clip_image009 1985 vs 1982
Jamie Morris ran for 275 yards and two touchdowns and Mark Messner had four sacks to lead the 1985 team to a 24-10 victory. Messner’s last sack separated Steve Smith’s shoulder, knocking him out of the game early in the 3rd quarter.

Final Score: 24-10
1985 advances


For more on the Bo Brackets, click here.   Second round coming up later this week.


Follow MVictors on Twitter