Today in Sports History: January 13th

Michael-jordan-1999

(Jordan's second retirement. Photo by John Biever, SI Photos)

1/13/1974 - Dolphins win back-to-back

Proving that their undefeated season in 1972 was not a fluke, the Miami Dolphins destroy the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7, in Super Bowl VIII, joining the Green Bay Packers as then the only franchises to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Larry Csonka, who rushed for 145 yards on 33 carries, was named the game's most valuable player. Asked how badly his team had played defensively, Vikings tackle Alan Page remarked, "We could have used a shotgun."

Although the Dolphins, who had gone 32-2 over a two-year span, did not finish with a record as impressive as their 1972 campaign, many regarded the 1973 team as superior to the '72 team. The Dolphins had faced an extremely easy schedule in 1972, and had to face NFL powerhouses in 1973, such as the Raiders, Steelers and Cowboys. And unlike their previous Super Bowl, where they edged out the Chiefs by only a touchdown, they destroyed their opponent in Super Bowl VIII.

"Going 17-0 like we did last year is something I'll look back on when I'm old and be proud," said Dolphins coach Don Shula. "But I'm even prouder of this team because they had to overcome a lot. The reason this means so much is it's tougher to repeat than to get there the first time."

1/13/1999 - Jordan announces second retirement

After a full year of speculation, Michael Jordan announces that he is ending his professional basketball career at the age of 35. It was the second retirement for Air Jordan, who had called it quits in 1993 following the death of his father. Like his first retirement, he left the game on top, having just won back-to-back-to-back titles with the Chicago Bulls. His announcement came just one week after the 1998-99 NBA lockout came to an end.

Never had there been a more significant retirement in the league's history. Jordan had given the NBA an unprecedented ratings and attendance boost, the likes of which were currently being seen from golf prodigy Tiger Woods. Without their marquee superstar, the NBA spent the next decade searching desperately for the "Next Jordan," and though some of the players receiving this title -- mainly LeBron James -- were worthy of it, no one was able to match the reach and popularity of Jordan.

Without M.J., and without almost all of the players that had won them the NBA title, the Bulls crashed to earth in 1999, finishing with a 13-37 record in a lockout-shortened season. The following years were just as bad, as the Bulls finished with 65, 67, 61, 52, and 59 losses. It was a dramatic fall for a franchise that had been more or less unbeatable for most of the 1990's.

In his retirement press conference, Jordan said that he had run out of challenges and that he was ready to give up the game of basketball. However, he gave tantalizing answers to several questions, implying that a second comeback was not entirely out of the question. Asked specifically about it, Jordan answered, "No. I never say never, but 95 - 99.9 percent, I'm very secure with my decision."

That one-tenth of a percent was all people needed to speculate that he could return to the league. The fact that he had done it before, and that he was still only 35, intensified people's beliefs. It took a little bit, but in 2001, Michael finally announced that he was in fact returning to the NBA, this time with the Washington Wizards.

1/13/2009 - High school team wins 100-0

A girl's high school basketball game makes headline news, as Covenant beats Dallas Academy by the whopping score of 100-0. The fallout resulting from the game led to the firing of the Covenant coach, and got the losing team on national television.

To read more about this story, click here for an in-depth Inhistoric article:

Further reading:

Michael Jordan's last day as a Bull [ESPN]

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