We Were The Champions, My Friend

Spurred on by a friend who liked my review of a recent Elton John movie, I finally got around to watching Bohemian Rapsody the other night.

“Mike, great movie, but you’ve got to watch Bohemian Rapsody and get back to me.”

I did.

Late to that party but better late than never.

An absolutely brilliant film and Remi Malek deserved his Best Actor in a Lead Role Award probably better than anyone I’ve seen in the last decade.

At least.

One of the cornerstones of the film was the 22-minute performance by Queen during the Wembley Stadium version of Live Aid which was pure gold. Widely hailed by critics as the best live performance by any rock band ever, I can honestly say I’ve never seen an audience both more mesmerized by any rock band or more participatory in the concert itself.

It got me to thinking about Temple football and crowd reactions.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of great Temple crowds.

While 35,000 people going crazy in the 27-10 win over Penn State at Lincoln Financial Field was truly inspiring and 30,000 Temple fans in a Mayor’s Cup win over Villanova (where only 5,000 Nova fans could make it) was a close runnerup, I have to give the nod to one game in 2016.

The 34-10 win over Navy at Navy.

That was SUPPOSED to be a home game for Navy but, of the nearly 30K fans in a 35K stadium, at least 15K were Temple fans. Maybe more, maybe less, but from the sound of the crowd only one team had a home-field advantage.

That was Temple.

Fans of then the No. 19 team in the country, Navy, largely sat on their hands.

That’s damn impressive because one group of fans had to travel three hours to get to the game while the other group had to roll out of bed and walk a mile or so down the road.

We were the champions, my friend, and the noise we made will be remembered to the end.

In the closing 20 seconds when the outcome had been long determined, I made my way to the concourse like a nut case and yelled out to no one in particular:


Sheepishly, I looked around hoping no one saw me but saw about a dozen or more people wearing Temple stuff smiling back and clapping.

They understood the 50 years or so of frustration being released in a positive manner.

Savor it because while being a champion again is always the goal, don’t know if the present-day college football landscape will ever give Temple the same kind of even playing field it had seven short years ago.

Monday: How History Could Repeat


6 thoughts on “We Were The Champions, My Friend

  1. This Owl Alum and my granddaughter witnessed that game and shared our joy with my fellow Temple fans. We cheered, “Abandon Ship”, as it became clear that the Owls would prevail. We were also joined by our friend, a Navy vet, ( I served in the Army), and he quietly watched as we enjoyed our reverie.

  2. Glory days! Who could have imagined the decent of Owl football to where it had sunk under former program-destroyer head coach Rod Carey? We were on top of the college football world for a few unforgettable seasons! But I am encouraged thus far with Coach Drayton and his desire to reach out to Owl Nation in support of the program. Nowhere to go but up at this point after a disastrous 2021 season.

    • I’d be a lot more encouraged when news of signing another quarterback breaks to at minimum provide AAC quality depth in the fall. I trust Stan is working on it.

  3. The joy of the Temple Fans, the sense of brotherhood, was everywhere for that game at Navy. We had a great time in the tent, and also talked with Mr Mike G in the tent. Then in the stands we were seated with all sorts of Temple fans in the 2nd level, damn what a great view,( I want that type stadium) — anyway, we were mixed in with students and they were so great and fun to be with. That game joy was another level from the Penn Sate Killing.

    • The way it should be! With a promising new HC and staff in place, let’s look forward to better days ahead! I know it’s early, but after those dark days with the last HC and what I’ve seen so far with Coach Drayton, I believe we are on our way back to respectability. This program has been down many times over its long history and somehow survived. We will be back!

      • Absolutely. We’re looking forward to return of TEMPLE TUFF. I am also thinking of making the trip to Navy, with a friend who is a Navy vet, (I served in the Army). Can’t wait for REAL TEMPLE FOOTBALL!!

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