Today I re-watched an episode of "America's Game"
. These were a series of one-hour programs that NFL Films put together as recollections of every Super Bowl winner. The one I had was for the 1970 Colts
, winners of Super Bowl V
. Background: the 1968 Colts had lost Super Bowl III
to the Jets after being heavy favorites, and many of the veterans on the '70 championship team had also been present for that loss. What was interesting was at the end of the program, when the players were asked today what their feelings are about their Super Bowl victory, you expect to hear what a great feeling it was, how satisfying to finally reach the summit; the '70 Colts vets' recollections were very
different from what you usually hear out of a team that won it all...but at the same time, the haunted quality of their comments struck me as simultaneously pathetic and very human, too:
Bill Curry - "Super Bowl V, this ring right here - emblematic of our 'return to glory', dominance, all that sort of thing - is the most mixed sense of achievement that I experienced in my career. In all my years, SB V invokes for me a sense of not carrying our share of the load. I didn't feel redemption, I didn't feel like we went down there and took care of business, conducted ourselves on the field like champions. We turned the ball over seven times, and after enduring all the slings and arrows of the previous two years, you've thought we've been near perfect that day."
"It was the last championship of any Baltimore Colts team. It was not the redemption we'd desperately sought for what had gone before. There's almost a sense of longing, of 'Gosh, if we could just to do that again.' (But) that's a bunch of old men, wasting time. There's something sad about that. Maybe old competitors just never grow out of that zeal for wanting to have done your best when the heat was on, and can't help but wish we had done a little better, and I guess we'll go to our grave like that."
Mike Curtis - "That loss, Christ, almost 40 years ago, is the grave baggage...doesn't matter than I (played) in 200 games, won a bunch of awards, doesn't mean flip to me. Its losing (Super Bowl III)... There's nothing more I can do. I leave football and move on to the future. I've worn (the SB V) ring four times. I think I have it in the pocket of one of my suit jackets, kinda where I hide it."
Bubba Smith - "Now, when he kicks the field goal (to win the game), I got depressed. And I knew I was supposed to be feeling good - 'finally did it, world champions!' I wasn't feeling that way. I couldn't really feel as happy as I wanted to feel, because I was supposed to look at my other ring, from Super Bowl III, and say 'Well, I got two,' and I couldn't do it... SB III, I still haven't gotten over it. Until this day, if they have that game on, I turn away right away, because I don't want to have no dreams about it."