Not so fast.
As more than
50 votes poured in during the final hours of voting, fans of the 1958 team laid it on the line, completing the comeback and
allowing the hallowed team led by coach Jack Armstrong to carry that title instead.
And what a
battle it was. When it was all said and done,
the '58 team finished with 241 votes. The Joe Gaddis-led team from 1991 came in with 222 votes and the Emory Hale team of
1980 had 145.
But this was
no contest, friends. In fact, all along we talked
about the non-scientific voting procedures, the casual methods in which fans could cast their ballots and the fact that this
was one man listening to readers, hoping to generate a buzz within the community.
This was no
contest this was a celebration of Oak
who thought this was a contest, I'm sorry. But, like most of the players and coaches from those three teams realize, you can't
compare teams in newspaper articles or by talking about it among yourselves.
The only way
to compare football teams is to have those teams compete against each other.
And we all
know that's impossible. Sure, Jackie Pope looks like
he could run for over 100 yards against an opponent right now, but there's no way the three teams could play each other.
And even then,
we know that things change. People have changed, whether it's the additives in food or pure and simple evolution, players
are bigger and faster these days. But I still wouldn't
under estimate some of those teams from the past.
hope everyone who read this little series enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Talking with the players, some
of the coaches and even the daughters of some of the coaches has been extremely fun. I also know it generated a lot of chatter
in Oak Ridge, with people debating the teams and coming up with their own reasons
one team or the other should be considered the best.
talking to so many, I think it came down to that National Championship. You know, the one many people want to disprove and dismiss. Well, it happened and it helped create the
lore that is Oak Ridge football.
It is amazing.
I have to admit, I thought the 1991 team would win this little experiment because more of their fans and players were around
and were part of the "Internet" generation. And it looked as if that would be the case, but the last-day heroics by the '58
fans pushed their team right over the top. Right where
they probably deserve to be.
MY VOTE: The
entire time, people asked me who I voted for. I kept
quiet, evaluated the players, the teams and even the fans because I needed to rely on their accounts because I was not here.
team do I think should have won in our Best Team competition? The fans and the community of Oak Ridge, that's who
the winners were, now and when all three of these teams were performing on the field.
real winners and what an opportunity it must have been to be part of the Oak Ridge community then. The opportunity to get excited and become part of something that was so special ... it
had to be a tremendous feeling. The memories that were created, the friendships and bonds that were formed that's the key,
and that's the thing these players often talk about when asked.
It's not the
gold footballs, or the wins. It's those life-long friends and those glory days when the Oak Ridge community rallied together, supporting the team and wishing them the best, through
good times and bad. Ah, the good 'ol days.
2008, The Oak Ridger. All Rights Reserved.