Friday, November 25, 2016

The Lesser-Known John Colby Trilogy - Part I

Song - Terminator
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - N.A.
Primetime Usage - 1992-93
Contained on - N.A. (Sound Clip)
Featured Highlight - Bills @ 49ers, 1992

As I hinted in the previous post, the first of the forgotten John Colby Primetime songs may have a thematic connection to Arnold.  "Terminator" has the most heavily electronic sound of the set.  This may also explain why it was phased out pretty quickly, an idea I touched on in my Leading from the Front post.  It's also oddly upbeat for it's name, especially when compared to the dark, brooding, and heavy synth associated with the first Terminator movie.  Unlike the better-known Colby songs, these ones are only available in partial form on John Colby's website (AFAIK).  I've never encountered full-length cuts anywhere on the net.

Terminator's featured highlight is the Super Bowl we all thought would happen but never did.  In 1992, Buffalo visited Candlestick Park and knocked off the 49ers in a game that had over 1000 yards and zero punts.  This result also personified the early-'90s Bills' tendency to always beat NFC teams in the regular season, but never beat them in the postseason.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The John Colby Trilogy - Part III

Song - Arnold
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - N.A.
Primetime Usage - 1992-05
Contained on - N.A. (Sound Clip)
Featured Highlight - *EDIT* - 49ers @ Panthers, 1996

Arguably the most intense selection in the well-known Colby trilogy, "Arnold" works well for tough games, shootouts, big comebacks, and pretty much any other kind of football game you can imagine.  It was one of NFL Primetime's regular stalwarts from 1992 on, and with good reason.  I believe the track's name is a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger (another of Colby's songs is named "Terminator"), but I can't be certain.  It seems a little easier to decipher than "Eric D.," anyway.  As with Eric D. and Gladiator: you can either get a high-quality short clip of Arnold on John Colby's website (above), or you can find a full-length—but lower quality—version on those aforementioned bootleg NFL Primetime collections that are easily found on the web (or other youtube postings).

After Joe Montana left the San Francisco 49ers in 1993, he faced his old team exactly one time.  It was a tight contest, but Montana's Chiefs ultimately prevailed over the squad that would eventually win that year's Super Bowl.  All the talk before, during, and after the contest revolved around Joe Montana vs. Steve Young, but—as you'll see in the highlight—the real focus should've been on Derrick Thomas.
*EDIT* - This video was copyright blocked, too.  Here's a different 49ers loss, this time to Carolina in 1996.  It was basically the first big win in Carolina Panthers' history, and would springboard them to an NFC Championship appearance in just their second year of existence.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The John Colby Trilogy - Part II

Song - Eric D.
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - N.A.
Primetime Usage - 1991-05
Contained on - N.A. (Sound Clip)
Featured Highlight - Cowboys @ Eagles, 1999

The second well-known John Colby track has an odd name.  I have no idea who "Eric D." is or what significance that name has to sports or anything else, but the song nonetheless ended up as one of the top-5 most often used pieces on NFL Primetime.  I've also seen the track labeled under the name "Breakdown" on some of those bootleg Primetime music collections floating around the net, and maybe that name would've made more sense.  Speaking of those bootlegs, that's the only known way of acquiring the full-length versions of this particular Colby trilogy's songs.  The media player on John Colby's website (linked above) has higher-quality audio, but the tracks are incomplete and/or fade out prematurely.

As for the highlight:  1999 saw the start of Philadelphia's rise and the beginning of Dallas's fall.  One key moment to this was in Week 5 when Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending neck injury on the turf of always dangerous Veterans Stadium.  To add further insult to the Cowboys, they lost on a late TD pass by—of all people—Doug Pederson.  This was the first of what would a be a whopping 3 career wins as a starting QB for Pederson, a total he's already exceeded halfway through his first year as an NFL head coach.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2016

The John Colby Trilogy - Part I

Song - Gladiator
Artist(s) - John Colby
Released - N.A.
Primetime Usage - 1991-00
Contained on - N.A. (Sound Clip)
Featured Highlight - Broncos @ Giants, 1998

From 1984-92, John Colby was the music director for ESPN.  He's probably best known for composing the most famous theme song for Sportscenter, but he also wrote some sports-highlight tracks as well.  Six of those (that I know of) were used on NFL Primetime.  These six songs are divided into two "trilogies":  one consists of three pieces only used for a few years, and the other contains three tracks that lasted a long time and that any fan of Primetime will immediately recognize.  Colby is also well known for his Grammy-winning work (both pre & post-ESPN) on the productions of documentary master Ken Burns.  Check out his website (linked above) or this article if you want to learn more.

The first of these well-known John Colby highlight tracks, "Gladiator," is one that even people who didn't really watch NFL Primetime may recognize.  In addition to its frequent use on the show for a decade, it was also the background song for Chris Berman's "Fastest 3 Minutes" halftime segments on Monday Night Football.  Gladiator kept being used for that purpose well after it was phased out on Primetime, in fact.  My featured highlight choice for Gladiator is a long one.  In 1998, the Denver Broncos started 13-0 and everyone was focusing on their Week-16 matchup with the last franchise to run the table:  the Miami Dolphins.  Their Week-15 contest with the Giants in The Meadowlands then became the ultimate example of a "trap game."  A 3-7 start meant New York had no hope of defending their 1997 division-title run, but they were playing well down the stretch and this upset punctuated a 5-1 finish to the season.  Have fun watching!