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Mike Chamernik’s Question of the Week (July 1-5)

Last week, we had another of Mike Chamernik’s “Question of the Week” series, and again the response to that article was tremendous, and Mike is back again with his next question.

Question of the Week
by Mike Chamernik

The Fourth of July means the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. This year’s event will not feature Joey Chestnut, who has won the title in 16 of the previous 17 years. Instead, Chestnut will face Takeru Kobayashi, a six-time Nathan’s champ who was also banned from the event, in a one-versus-one hot dog eating match in September. The two greatest eaters ever, squaring off.

It got me thinking: What has been the most hyped sporting event of your lifetime? And, did the event live up to expectations? And what sporting event were you personally anticipating the most?

• • • • •

Thanks, Mike. This is definitely another great installment.

Readers? Fire away!

Comments (72)

    I got 5. 1. Oklahoma vs LSU 03 bcs champ game. 2. Osu vs LSU bcs champ game 07. 3. Clemson vs LSU national championship game. 4. Saints vs colts superbowl. Those 4 lived up to hype. Number 5 bama vs LSU 2011 bcs championship did not live up to hype it blew.

    Michael Phelps’ quest for the most golds in a single Olympics in Beijing 2008 was the biggest sporting event in my memory in terms of build-up. It certainly made each of his events must-watch TV. And it paid off, too!

    It has always bothered me that swimmers are the only people who have the potential to do this.

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. 2015. Years of build-up. It did not live up o th

    That was my main one. It was 6 years of teases. And then yeah when it finally did happen, Pacquiao was washed (but he secured the payday). You knew it wasn’t gonna be a classic fight when Jimmy Kimmel was part of Pacquiao’s walk-out crew.

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. 2015. It did not live up to the years and years of hype (IMO).

    Locally, it would have to be the 2019 NBA Finals.

    I think the most international hype I witnessed going into a sporting event was the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It feels like it was the last truly great tournament, with the rest since then blending together into an indiscernible blur.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the next Euro was expanded to 24 teams…

    Super Bowl XLII. The perfect Patriots vs. the not-so-perfect Giants. It was going to be a coronation. And it turned out just great. But I’m a Giants fan.

    Came here to say this. And I’m not a Giants or a Pats fan. Every Super Bowl has way too much hype. This one delivered in the opposite way than was expected.

    Personally, Nebraska-Florida Fiesta Bowl. 1996 season. It did not live up to the hype (competition wise), but it was glorious as a Nebraska fan.

    Speaking of “over-hyped”, Nathan’s hot dogs have got to be the most disappointing of all the tube steaks. Go get yourself some Hofmann’s.

    We don’t have Nathan’s locations in Chicago but we do have their hot dogs at the grocery store. They’re OK. We prefer Vienna Beef (of the non-premium meat makers).

    Hoffman’s are pretty good. But if we’re going upstate New York over NYC, go get some Sahlen’s from Buffalo. These are winners.

    What has been the most hyped sporting event of your lifetime?
    Evil Knievel’s attempted jump over the Snake River Canyon in 1974. The jump failed

    What sporting event were you personally anticipating the most?
    Super Bowl I, in part because I was able to watch it on a color tv!

    you beat me to the punch as the Snake River Canyon jump was first thing to come to mind.

    Agree on Evel and the Snake River canyon. It was everywhere in the months leading up to the “event”.

    Honorable mention goes to the Thrilla in Manila.

    Yep, I remember the SI article that even included a topless picture, no, not of EK. Also, Foolish Pleasure vs. Ruffian, a horse race with such a tragic result.

    a) texas vs usc rose bowl 06. Yes! leading up to it espn was analyzing if either team was the greatest of all time.
    b) usa vs german wc 02. Yes! missed handball.
    c) detroit vs colorado western conference final 97. Yes!

    Great answer, Texas vs. USC. That USC team was getting “greatest of all time” buzz. SportsCenter had a running segment comparing them to great teams of the past (and 05 USC getting the edge).

    The game probably exceeded the hype. The best college game of the modern era.

    Battle of the Bay (I’m from the Bay Area), the original Olympic Dream Team, the home run race between Sosa and McGwire, then Bonds chasing the record 3 years later.

    From a local viewpoint, Jose Canseco going 40/40 was a huge deal, and Rickey Henderson breaking the stolen base record.

    If you have fond memories of any of the previous MLB moments, check out The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience on Netflix. It’s hilarious.

    If I were to expand it to the most memorable (or perhaps hyped AFTER the fact), Keri Strug sticking the landing with a bad ankle, Tyson downing McNeeley in 90 seconds (The Great White Hype is a vastly underrated movie that essentially spoofs that entire moment in history), pretty much any of Jordan’s championships.

    And in the realm of non-performance hype, anytime LeBron or KD are free agents is a real orgy for the hype machine.

    Sticking to the “big 4” sports, my favorite were the 1993 and 1998 NBA Finals as a Bulls fan. Both game 6s were thrilling ends to those seasons.

    As a neutral fan, the NBA Finals in ’94, ’11, and ’16 (game 7, rest of series mostly blowouts), the Giants over Pats Superbowls, and the 2001 World Series have been most memorable. Thinking this through, if I were to rank them, where I was and who I was with would factor in too.

    As an NBA fan, I’ve sadly found that to me most NBA playoffs don’t live up to the hype, especially lately.

    I’m loving the new management and refreshing take on things here at Uni Watch. It’s so nice to once again be able to read about a fun, interesting topic without all the f-bombs, politics, and general curmudgeonly attitude. Thanks!

    Most hyped sporting event of my time as a sports fan is probably the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs Astrodome showdown, aka The Battle of the Sexes. Seems like it lived up to the hype as people still refer to it today as a milestone event in gender equality, at least as far as sports is concerned. I could have attended using my concessionaire’s pass (I sold beer at Oilers games and other events) but for one reason or another, I didn’t go. Ali-Frazier 1 would probably give that match a run for it’s money as far as hype goes.
    My most anticipated event(s) would be the 1994 Game Seven between the Rangers and Canucks. As a lifelong Rangers fan, I knew how fleeting a shot at the Stanley Cup could be. It certainly lived up to my anticipation. Watching the win that night is the only sporting event that has ever brought we to tears.

    Yes! I just posted about the Battle of the Sexes. Seemed so silly at the time, but it really made a huge impact on the sports world.

    It’s hard to pick out a single most hyped sporting event of my lifetime, but the Bama-LSU BCS championship has to be up there.

    I guess I would have to pick the Vince Young vs Reggie Bush Rose Bowl for most hyped, and it certainly lived up to it, despite the sanctions that followed it.

    The weird thing is that my most enduring sports memories are ones that were not hyped up, almost like a hidden gem that everyone missed precisely because it was not advertised ad nauseum. Number one on the list was the Buster Douglas KO of Mike Tyson, followed by Kerry Wood’s 20 K game vs the Astros.

    Pandemonium in Piscataway–Rutgers over Louisville, November 9, 2006. Only true Rutgers fans can understand the depths of oblivion reached by the football team. The thought of an 8-0 start, followed by toppling the #3 team in the country, was unthinkable. The hype leading up to that Thursday night game was just insane. And it certainly lived up to the hype. I had the good fortune to storm the field and will never forget it!

    The 2000 World Series. It such a big deal in NY. So many arguments every morning on my school bus.

    The Battle of the Sexes – Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs. It lived up to the hype and then some. BJK is a trailblazer and the Battle of the Sexes was one of the most important events in women’s sports.

    I’m a little bummed that it didn’t cross my mind to get a Uni Watch membership card based on BJK’s tennis dress for BotS until it was too late.

    1980 Winter Olympics USA men’s hockey. There was not a person around that wasn’t talking about the game with Russia. Work, school and even the grocery store. The network changed the game time so more people could watch. I’m pretty sure that was the beginning of the USA chant. It brought this country together in a way I did not see again until 9/11

    1980 USA men’s hockey team miracle on ice. everyone was talking about this game. Whether you were at work at school or even in the grocery store, people couldn’t stop discussing us. The network even moved this game so more people could watch. I’m pretty sure this was the beginning of the USA chant. It brought this country together in a way I didn’t see again until 9/11.

    The 2008 Olympics in Bejing stick out for me. Must have been before all the streaming content that silos us into our niches.

    I would throw into the mix any one of the Tyson pay per view bouts that were over in seconds. Highly anticipated, fell so flat.

    The only Tyson fight I got was him vs. Clifford Ettienne, in 2002. I know it was post-post-prime Tyson but I was still excited. Tyson knocked Ettienne out in 49 seconds. And not even a great KO. It was Tyson’s last victory, though.

    For a dark horse, how about this year’s Tour de France?

    Pogačar vs Vingegaard vs Roglič vs Evenepoel, with my guy Richard Carapaz and the ghost of Egan Bernal waiting in the wings, and with Mark Cavendish taking one more shot at history! Mmm mmm, delicious.

    My anticipation for this race was as high as for any sporting event of the last twenty years… until three of the four big contenders got injured in the same crash this spring. But they each made it back for the race after all! And we should hopefully get some fireworks as early as today’s climb of the Galibier.

    Update: yesterday’s stage up and down the Col du Galibier FULFILLED THE HYPE.

    Evel Knievel comes to mind as being a master at hyping himself. The jump over the Snake River, with him on a rocket, definitely didn’t live up to the hype.
    Another master of hype was Muhammad Ali, promoting his fights. The fights against Joe Frazier, and later George Foreman, were masterful examples of promotion. And these fights usually delivered.

    Not sure I can answer this just because the hype level for everything has been taken so out of proportion lately. The most hyped things are all recent, only because the baseline hype for everything is so high now, the need to generate content and ratings moving the needle.
    Also I am trying to think of context to the event, of course a championship game / match should have hype, so it becomes hard to filter how much is hype and how much is really the deserved coverage the event should get?
    I feel like there have been lot of ND football games that get big hype. The Bush-Push game in particular comes to mind. But if I am really thinking about what was the most hyped even in sports, sadly what sticks out was LeBron’s “the decision”. Maybe I cannot separate total hype from most overhyped, but this is just what comes to my mind.

    The Decision is a great call. A “remember where you were” moment.

    Good answers everyone!

    I figured boxing and Olympics would get a few mentions. Plus big college bowl games (because matchups are set for weeks in advance).

    One of the most hyped NBA matchups I can remember was the 2017 Finals. Third edition of Cavs-Warriors, only now with KD, and still with LeBron, Kyrie, Love, Curry, Draymond, and Klay. Two best teams in the league, by far. And both conference finals ended early, so it was a week of nothing to do before Game 1.

    I’m surprised there aren’t some pro wrestling matches mentioned.

    Well I still haven’t come to terms with that cheater Cody Rhodes defeating our Tribal Chief……

    For pro wrestling, few were so hyped up in my mind as Starrcade ’97. Sting challenging Hollywood Hogan to reclaim the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from the nWo’s leader was a huge deal. Ultimately, I think trying to work Bret Hart into the scenario to take a shot at the previous month’s Survivor Series “Montreal Screwjob” worked to the detriment of the match, especially since he went in (in his role as a special guest referee at the event) to reverse the “fast” count in Hogan’s favor, even though upon his entry into WCW, he’d been associated with the nWo, and he’d associate with them for a bit afterward.

    Wrestlemania was the biggest deal when it began in the late 1980s! As far as team-based athletics go, it was the 1986 Mets and 1994 Rangers for me. There was lots of lead up interest to the eventual championships. For the Mets, one of the newspapers put out a magazine at the start of the playoffs with scorecards for each game and I kept score. For the Rangers I kept every newspaper from each game.

    Any event which gets the term, ” ……… of the Century” is usually overblown.

    There was Ali-Frasier I in 1971, Notre Dame vs. Michigan State in 1966, and New York-Baltimore in 1958.

    • Bronny James being drafted at 55

    • Most things having to do with the Dallas Cowboys

    The Bronny draft has indeed been talked about since like 2019, when LeBron said he wanted to play with his son.

    Every Daytona 500 from 1980 – 1998…even after Earnhardt finally won, the racing at the(so-called) Great American Race was generally never really all that great, especially in the restrictor plate era.

    Foolish Pleasure match race vs Ruffian, who unfortunately had to be put down.

    Good call. I had forgotten about this. I was probably about 10 years old and I was watching it when it happened.

    Easy choice for me: The first Frazier/Ali fight in 1971. The hype was off the charts. Such a huge deal, not just because boxing was still very popular, but also the racial and political overtones. Of course I didn’t get to see it because it was only shown on closed circuit in move theaters. It would have been even bigger these days because of ESPN, 24 hour news, social media, etc.

    Honorable mention- Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs and Evel Knievel’ failed jump.

    I’m showing my age here.

    The first Ali-Frazier fight, held on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden. The Fight of the Century. Nothing else really comes close to the hype for that event, IMHO.

    Philly-locally, the return of Buddy Ryan to the Vet was a sorta big deal…but his Cardinals got bested by the Kotite-coached Eagles that day – though the Birds wouldn’t win another game after that and went from 7-2 to finish the season 7-9.
    Hey Richie,…BOO!

    Hyped event that delivered – Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. The pre-race hoopla about how the Belmont would be “Sham’s race” (clearly the most legendary name for a racehorse) was totally blown out of the water by Big Red’s performance. Re-watching that race still gives me chills.

    Hyped event that failed (miserably) to deliver – Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

    The battle of the sexes tennis match with Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Was around 13 or 14 so had to watch. That old man had no chance at all. But what a build up!

    Earliest I remember is 1968 and “The Battle of the Century” in the Astrodome. UCLA vs. Houston, Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) vs Elvin Hayes.
    Next was Ali Frazier.
    Then Battle of the Sexes.

    Most hyped was the 1972 Summit Series in hockey – eight-game series between Canada and Russia and the first time Canada ever put their best players against Russia’s best players. And it absolutely lived up to expectations; completely reshaped the trajectory of the sport.

    I don’t think this qualifies as an “event”, but the ongoing McGwire vs Sosa home run race that dominated the sporting world through the summer of 98.

    Too many things are over-hyped for me to narrow it down.
    *My* most anticipated event:
    1985 NCAA Final, Villanova vs Georgetown.
    Oh BOY did it live up to my expectations!

    Game 7 of 2016 World Series looked to be a classic until the idiot Cubs Manager (Joe, the smartest guy in the room – just ask me) took Hendricks out way too early, thereby letting Cleveland back into the game. I was furious.
    Imagine what might have happened if they’d lost. Suicidal Cubs fans all over the north side, and beyond.

    I was a neutral for that game but that was a great game. The Rajai Davis home run made me scream and I couldn’t stop it.

    Through my own subjective lens:
    Super Bowl LII, Eagles over Patriots. And it delivered.
    UNC over Duke in the Final Four in 2022. And it delivered.
    Super Bowl LVII, Chiefs over Eagles. It did not deliver.
    Roy Halladay’s playoff no-hitter versus the Reds in 2010. Watched a no-hitter from the upper deck. Delivered.
    Phillies/Astros 2022 World Series Game 4. Watched a no-hitter from the upper deck. Historic, but did not deliver.
    Villanova over UNC in the natty in 2016. Great game, but heartbreaking for me, especially with 3 generations of Villanova alums in my family.

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