Jan 30 in Sports History: UCLA Bruins start streaking

John Wooden

In 1971: UCLA’s basketball team looked to rebound from a tough loss at Notre Dame the week before with a little tune-up against UC Santa Barbara before conference play began. The loss to the Irish ended a 45-game winning streak for the Bruins. Led by Sidney Wicks, UCLA dispatched UCSB 74-61. Then they decided to get serious and win 87 more consecutive games (and three championships). Ironically, the Bruins’ streak would come to an end again at the hands the Irish in South Bend 155 weeks later. Even more ironically (according to a site called referee.com), referee Rich Weiler worked both Notre Dame games. The Bruins’ 88-game winning streak (it could’ve been 133 if Catholics decided not to build a lovely campus in Indiana) will forever be untouched in college basketball.

In 1996: In the only Super Bowl where a player from the opposing team should’ve been given the MVP award, Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell “led” the Dallas Cowboys to their third title in five years with two horrendous interceptions in a 27-17 victory in Super Bowl XXX at Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium. Brown was just sorta standing there, minding his own business and not covering anybody on either play. But O’Donnell insisted on landing him a huge free agent contract by giving Brown the MVP award. Even worse, O’Donnell questioned “which direction” the Steelers were headed that offseason when he landed an even bigger contract with the soon-to-be 1-15 Jets. Karma did the best it could, as Brown only played 14 games the next two years after getting all that money from the Raiders while O’Donnell fizzled out, became a journeyman backup and was not allowed anywhere near the ball during Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans.

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