September 26, 1983

The Wikipedia entry for Stanislav Petrov.

Stanislav Evgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станислав Евграфович Петров) (born c. 1939) is a retired Russian Army colonel who, on September 26, 1983, averted a potential nuclear war by refusing to accept that the United States had launched missiles against the USSR, despite the indications given by his computerized early warning systems. The Soviet computer reports were later shown to have been in error, and Petrov is credited with preventing World War III and the devastation of much of the Earth by nuclear weapons. Because of military secrecy and international policy, Petrov’s actions were kept secret until 1998.

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Monday Morning Quarterback

One of my favorite parts of the football season is when CNN/SI updates their website on Monday mornings and Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback article appears. Today’s is especially sweet.

Nine plays in 1:58 with a costly pass-interference call on Patriots (and former Steelers) cornerback Chad Scott. Big Ben hits Hines Ward for a four-yard TD, and here is where Belichick would have coached this game differently than Bill Cowher: he wouldn’t have left so much time on the clock. The Steelers had plenty of time, 3:19, to score the tying touchdown. But they left 1:21 on the clock. Hadn’t they seen Super Bowl XXXVI, when Brady went half the length of the field in 51 seconds to give Vinatieri a shot at the game-winning field goal? He doesn’t need much time. Eighty-one seconds, starting at the Patriots’ 38. Brady can take a Caribbean vacation in 81 seconds for crying out loud. Surely he can get a three-time world champion into field goal range in that amount of time.

A little dump pass, a safe pass, to Faulk, who catches-and-runs for 17. Ten for 10. Faulk’s hurt on the play. In comes Pass, the special-teamer/spot back. Brady, in trouble … steps up in the pocket, dunks it to Pass for 14. Eleven for 11. Dillon burrows for nothing. Fifty seconds now. Brady to Givens, again, this time for six. Twelve for 12.

Vinatieri comes in the game. Third and 4 from the Steelers’ 25. Shudder through the Steelers crowd. They know what this means. Vinatieri’s Mariano Rivera. Money.

Perfect snap from Lonie Paxton. Perfect hold from Josh Miller. Boink! Vinatieri boots it end over end, headed straight down the middle of the fairway. A Tiger drive. Maybe seven feet inside the left upright. Pats win, 23-20. The Steelers just left ’em too much time.

Runs like this have happened so seldom in NFL history. The Pats were 34-4 in 2003 and 2004, including the playoffs. At 2-1 now, that puts them at 36-5 since the start of the 2003 season. Start the great Miami team’s clock on opening day 1972 and advance 41 games, and the Dolphins were one game better — 37-4

I just know we’re witnessing something very, very special. Corny as it sounds, even if you bleed black and gold, you’ve got to appreciate the greatness in progress.

It’s not right to say: Root for the Patriots. You, of course, should root for your team. But I think it is right to say: Appreciate the Patriots. Their kind won’t come along again for a long, long time.