The new year brings another round of anniversaries.
As the NFL's playoffs unfold, pro football marks the 50th anniversary of the New York Jets' stunning 1969 upset over the Baltimore Colts.
The NFL's Colts were believed the superior team, but Jets quarterback Joe Namath and wide receiver Don Maynard remember in an oral history for the Athletic how inferior the Colts looked on film when compared with AFL teams. New York coach Weeb Eubank ordered his players to stop watching the Colts film unless they'd grow too overconfident.
Namath, Maynard and other Jets contend that the tough game wasn't the Super Bowl, won 16-7 by the Jets, but the AFC title game against the Oakland Raiders in frigid Shea Stadium. The Jets outlasted the Raiders in that brutal game, avenging their loss to Oakland's rowdy outlaws earlier in the season in the famous "Heidi" game.
Now, the media landscape is packed with articles about the 20th anniversary of "The Sopranos." Interviews with creator David Chase abound, asking the prominent question, "Did Tony Soprano die?" after the last, blacked out scene.
I came late to "The Sopranos," binge watching several seasons after subscribing to HBO. then watching the final year episode by episode.
While "The Sopranos'" first three years often matched the critical superlatives hurled at it, the last two seasons fell off. I'm not sure the series broke as completely from TV conventions as its supporters claim.
Still, the mob drama/comedy holds up compared with the proliferation of shows that seek to follow "The Sopranos" in creating edgy, shocking and quirky narratives. Unfortunately, many of the new series deliver gorgeous scenery and inventive plots without developing sympathetic characters.
James Gandolfini's Tony was a monster, but we always liked him.
Next up on the anniversary drum roll: Woodstock. The Moon Landing. Abbey Road. The Mets. The Knicks.