Thursday, December 29, 2011

The way we were...Hurricanes get ready 'to go to war'

Twenty-five years ago this week....

From the Miami News, Dec. 29, 1986: Number one-ranked University of Miami Hurricanes dresses the part as they get ready "to go war" with number two Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Click image to enlarge.

Some trash talk preceded the game. Miami News columnist Tom Archdeacon summed up the tense atmosphere:
The folks at the Fiesta Bowl won't soon forget the University of Miami football team - although if things keep going as they are they'd sure like to.

...Especially after a special party for the two teams was interrupted last night when Jerome Brown - after taking off his sweat suit to reveal his army fatigues - announced from the stage: "The Japanese didn't eat with the enemy before they bombed Pearl Harbor, either. Let's get out of here."

And then, a surprised crowd watched as Brown and the rest of the Hurricanes team got up and marched out of the combination steak fry and talent show.

As Miami retreated, Penn State punter John Bruno, who had been emceeing part of the program said, "...Yeah, but didn't the Japanese lose that war?"
Archdeacon continued with more pearls of wisdom from Brown:
"If the football field was meant for clean-cut guys, priests would be playing in the games," Brown said. "But the football field was meant for men out there trying to kill each other.

"That's why we wore the army fatigues out here on the plane. Wait till game day, even more of the guys will be wearing them. Those who don't have 'em are going to buy them here. We're on a mission."

A few years ago, freelance writer Michael Weinreb recounted how the idea of wearing army fatigues came about:
The idea? Two decades later, who can remember how the idea came about? According to Highsmith, it started with a few of the seniors, like him and like Brown, the incorrigible All-America defensive tackle. And then it spread, and it became the latest outlandish brainstorm of a team that felt like it could do absolutely no wrong, even as the improprieties and transgressions mounted and the self-righteous criticism came hard and fast.

They were thugs. They were outlaws. They were the Oakland Raiders of college football.

So when somebody came up with this new idea, the notion of wearing combat fatigues all week long, to show the world that they meant business, that they were there to do a job, they all seemed to think it made perfect sense. Johnson and Jankovich were already out in Arizona, so the players were flying out on their own, and there was no one to tell them otherwise.

It wasn't until they stepped off the plane in their fatigues and saw the Penn State players walking around in suits and ties that they realized what their outfits had wrought. This had already become the most hyped game in the history of college football, and now here was an organic story line: The bad guys had dressed the part.
The Fiesta Bowl was played Friday night, Jan. 2, 1987. The 'Canes lost to Penn State, 14-10.

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