Will Ferrell did it in “Old School” — up the quad and to the gymnasium. Michael O’Brien, a 25-year-old rugby and Foster’s beer enthusiast, was the first in the sports world — 1974, Twickenham Stadium, England vs. France.
I’m talking about streaking.
Although Ferrell and O’Brien required alcohol and peer pressure, streaks are something we marvel at it the world of sports. OK, not so much the Ferrell streaks. But they’re why the 1972 Dolphins pop champagne whenever NFL teams lose, and ditto for the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers basketball team.
Steaks of the winning variety — not so much the naked running through the streets kind, but maybe — are the quickest way to pick out dominance. Winning and losing is the most black and white way to determine greatness in sports, and when a player or team wins a bunch in a row, it becomes something special.
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is currently riding a 90-game winning streak, tying the college basketball record — men’s or women’s. Who’d they tie? Well, the UConn women’s basketball team.
This is the second time in less than 10 years the Lady Huskies have won at least 90 in a row. They won 90 straight from 2008-2010, and it looks like they’ll be surpassing that streak in the next few days. They’re 90th came Tuesday night in a 102-37 massacre of the 20th-ranked team in the country. Yes, they beat a top-20 team by 65 points; this is a column about dominance, after all.
The UConn women’s basketball program is the most dominant in the history of sports.
While many argue that the lopsided victories deteriorate the competition and general pizzazz of the sport, dominance is something we need.
It becomes hard to comprehend how good these players really are because we get comfortable with greatness and often forget what greatness is. Greatness becomes the new norm.
But the type of greatness utterly dominating teams display is insanely rare. That’s why the ‘72 Dolphins streak hasn’t been broken for 44 years and counting.
They’re unicorns, and the UConn women are unicorns at a tea party with the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch.
But where there’s a streak, there’s a broken streak, and that’s another reason to bask in the dominance. Eventually, for even the briefest moment, somebody else will be slightly more dominant than the most dominant in the sport.
The Huskies eventually lost to Stanford in 2010. The undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide, a team chasing its fifth title in eight years, were dethroned by Clemson at the last second Monday. It took a dominating performance from Deshaun Watson to outduel the best program of the decade — maybe ever.
The Golden State Warriors won 73 regular season NBA games, only to lose in the NBA Finals, thanks to the dominance of Lebron James.
In any sports competition, a thousand tiny little details have to go right for a team to win. “Off night” is a common phrase among broadcasters because they happen on a somewhat regular basis. Michael Jordan missed jumpers; Babe Ruth struck out; Tom Brady throws interceptions (rarely, but still).
That’s why streaks are incredible. For a team to go an extended period of time avoiding even the most minor hiccup hardly happens and is a major testament to the team’s preparation, chemistry and overall skill.
They truly are the best of the best, and they leave zero doubt.
The UConn women may never lose again. Surely they will, but until they do, it’s hard to really comprehend when or how. I mean, nobody’s beaten them in 90 games. Why would that all of a sudden change?
But the Dolphins lost in Week 2 of the ‘73 season. As did the Hoosiers in ‘76. The 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats didn’t lose until the Final Four; they finished 38-1. The Lady Huskies lost in 2010, two years after David Tyree caught a football with his helmet and the champagne showers rained in Miami.
Streaks eventually fall. Teams eventually lose, and the dominance fades, leaving just a blurry photo of a Sasquatch that we swear we saw but may never see again.
Then, like Brian McKnight, the streak starts back at one.
Get your cameras ready.