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Greatest Utah Sports Moments Pre-Twitter

Head coach Kyle Whittingham and quarterback Brian Johnson #3 of the Utah Utes celebrates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 31-17 during the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Twitter has drastically changed how everyone can watch events as they unfold in real time and despite not being physically together, everyone can feel like they are all together and reacting to huge events as they happen.

With Twitter officially being formed on March 21, 2006 — however, not really being relevant for a few years beyond that — has changed how we interact and specifically in huge moments in the world, specifically sports.

Plenty of big time events would have been an instant hit on Twitter. Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson, Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear, Miracle on Ice, Jesse Owens Olympic feat in Germany, or pick any of Michael Jordan NBA Finals moments, so you get the picture of this exercise.

KSL’s Unrivaled decided to go through some of the bigger sports moments in Utah’s history that would have garnered a huge reaction on Twitter.

Stockton hits “the shot” (1997)

The Utah Jazz making the NBA Finals for the first time ever was big news of itself, but to defeat the Houston Rockets, on the road, and on a buzzer beater by Hall of Famer John Stockton made it all the sweeter. The only moment that could ever top this for fans in the state of Utah would be once the Jazz win an NBA championship.

Beck To Harline (2006)

This one is sort of cheating since Twitter was around a few months prior but we will include it because there were very, very few people using Twitter less than a year after it was established. This play is one of the most well known in the Utah vs. BYU rivalry, to start, it snapped the Cougars four-game losing streak to the Utes.

The play itself seemingly lasted forever as John Beck was just roaming the pocket while surveying the field looking for anyone to be open and he finally found tight end Jonny Harline for the win as time expired.

Utah Thumps Alabama (2009)

This particular game was a watershed moment for Utah as they were not only in its second BCS game in just a four years while coming from the Mountain West, and just boat raced Alabama which was No. 1 team in the country for most of the year and Utah manhandled the Crimson Tide.

The win itself was monumental but perhaps even bigger was the first drives of the game where Utah easily marched up and down the field to take a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. The Utes ultimately won by a score of 31-17 and finished second in the AP poll, behind Florida.

Bo Diddley Tech (1984)

BYU’s 1984 football national title caused a stir in the college football world for many reasons. They came from outside the power conference structure while being in the WAC and their schedule ending up being not so great despite defeating Pitt which was the No. 3 team in the country heading into the year.

There were plenty of quotes and reaction to how the Cougars won the national title that year, but the most notable came from NBC’s Today Show when then-host Bryant Gumbel opined about the Cougars schedule that year.

“How can you rank BYU No. 1? Who’d they play — Bo Diddley Tech?”

Another item about that year which would have been Twitter gold was that ABC Sports sponsored a 1-900 number, yes you read that right, a 900 number to vote if BYU should have been the No. 1 team in the country.

Scott Mitchell Dresses Up As Wayne Fontes (1996)

This event took off basically when the internet was getting going across the country and it quickly gained steam as a national story. It was when Detroit Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell dressed up as Lions head coach Wayne Fontes.

Mitchell showed up at a team Halloween party dressed as coach Fontes — his costume consisted of Mickey Mouse ears, a cigar and a pillow stuffed under his shirt — and mocked his coach in front of the TV cameras.

“I just thought it would be funny,” Mitchell said at the time. “I didn’t mean anything personal by it or anything. The timing of what had happened in the game had nothing to do with what I was going to do.”

“It actually made it better because of what had happened. I just think you can’t take yourself too serious. I thought it would be a good way of just kind of maybe breaking up the tension, or whatever.”

The two eventually smoothed things over quickly but this is a moment in time that would have literally gone nuts had Twitter been around to witness this event.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

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