So I finished watching the 1983 Holiday Bowl on DVR last night (it was on something called BYUtv a while back ... on another note, I somehow have BYUtv!). Man oh man ... you know how Mizzou made a killer mistake to lose the Insight Bowl last year? And how they lost the 2006 Sun Bowl because of extreme bad luck as much as anything? Well, that Holiday Bowl was as bad as both combined. I knew Mizzou had almost picked off the pass to Steve Young on the game-winning play, but I didn't know they had fumbled inside the BYU 5 in the third quarter or been stuffed on fourth-and-1 inside the 10 to set up BYU's final drive. And I didn't know that they had executed an absolutely gorgeous safety blitz and obliterated Young two plays before the game-winning touchdown; a Mizzou defender fell on the ball but couldn't pull it in, then ANOTHER Mizzou defender fell on the ball but couldn't pull it in. Talk about What Ifs...
Also: watchingplay this game from a "future pro passer" standpoint, I'd have been entirely unimpressed. His footwork was shaky, he made iffy reads, and he overthrew his receivers a lot (he threw three picks and almost threw about three more). He was still terrifying because he has the second-quickest "I'm going to run now" first step I've ever seen (behind Michael Vick), but from just watching this game, I'd have expected nothing from him as an NFL quarterback.
Of course, it's amazing what seasoning can do. Young got some solid USFL experience, then got to serve as an apprentice under Joe Montana -- with some coach named Bill Walsh -- for a number of years. Blaine Gabbert's skill set is obviously completely different from Young's, but Young's case does prove how much situation matters; it proves that in the right situation, Gabbert's problems as we know them, particularly in the instincts department, still have time to be rectified.
I ALSO didn't know that an extended set of highlights from the game was on YouTube. (Or if I did know that, I had long forgotten.) Fumbles, picks, fumbles, fumbles, and picks. And for those who continue finding themselves screaming for a power rushing attack, watch this game in its entirety ... power running can fail just as miserably as pass-heavy offenses.