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Remembering Fiesta Bowl 1996

This weekend I dug out the 1996 Fiesta Bowl game and got that digitized as well. In December 1995, we ended up getting our ticket request denied, so on Christmas Night, we were busy discussing what our plans for watching the game were going to be, when suddenly the story broke that there they had just added 1500 seats in the end zone bleachers for the Fiesta Bowl, and they'd go on sale the next morning. Second chance to see history!

Well, we immediately began our planning. Back in those days, there was no Expedia or Orbitz to use. Travelocity was some rudimentary command line interface. How the heck are we getting to Phoenix if we get tickets? Well, we called the travel agent I used the year before to see what might be available.

We hit the gold mine... a charter still had a few seats and tickets left, and was marking them down. It still was a little pricey...and there was one minor detail. The flight was a Red Eye that left at 2 am after the game. But we took it, and didn't look back.

The hotel was actually a very fine resort that had just been completely remodeled, complete with a heated pool. Only the crazy Nebraskans dared jump into the 90 degree water, since the high temperatures in Phoenix were only in the 60's.

Oh... and the game wasn't half bad...

It was tough to edit this down without capturing the feeling of that night in Tempe. Especially touching was Kent Pavelka's tribute to Brook Berringer, who would die in a plane crash just four months later.

After the game, we had just enough time to find the ESPN GameDay set where I got to yell at Lee Corso and Craig James "Wrong Again!" Then it was off to the airport for a quick nap before the 2 am departure. The flight was by far the worst part of the trip, as the last people to get tickets got stuck in the last row of the plane...the ones that don't recline. What a wonderful red eye flight. Not.

But what a night for Cornhusker football, and I was so lucky to witness the coronation of the greatest college football team ever.

One of my favorite lines was from David Letterman the next night: "Oh, and Nebraska scored again!"