Story entered Sunday, 07/29/2001  


Fantastic Finishes -- Book 'Em!

By Rick Brown of The Ledger (Lakeland, FL)

The dog days of summer are upon us. The heat is roasting. The rain is soaking. So, you know what that means -- college football season is right around the corner.

To prepare for the season, there is something that all college football fans must add to their collections -- a book called "Heart Stoppers and Hail Marys, 100 of the Greatest Football Finishes (1970-1999)."

The author of the book is Ted Mandell, is an associate professional specialist for film and video production at the University of Notre Dame, and is an avid fan of the Irish.

The fantastic finishes in the book, however, aren't relegated to just Notre Dame winners or the Midwestern teams.

It has the finish from Stanford and California (the game that was won by Cal on the final kickoff with all the pitch backs, ending with the guy running into the end zone and barreling into the trombone player) as well as the Doug Flutie miracle pass to beat Miami.

But Mandell does a good job at not leaving out the small-time schools with Division I-AA, Division II and Division III finishes in the collection as well.

In the book, Mandell includes a CD with 64 of the schools' broadcast of the plays. Mandell took more than six years compiling the list of games and getting the audio tracks. He said he got the idea after visiting the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.

"They have a display named 'You Call the Play' where you can record your own voice calling one of four famous plays in college football history," he said. "I was always a closet sportscaster as a kid so I thought it was a great concept. That display gave me the idea to start a website and collect as many great finishes as I could."

Mandell said he had around 225 great finishes and had to cut it down to 100.

He said he looked for games won in the final seconds; games in which one play essentially decided the outcome; games with improbable endings; and games in all areas of the country. Mandell said he also tried to stay away from games simply lost by a missed field goal -- thus you will not see or hear any wide rights in his book or CD.

"If, as a fan, you can say you still get goose bumps when you watch one play at the end of a game, or you still get sick to your stomach watching that play again, then THAT is a great finish," Mandell said.

His list isn't in order of the greatest finishes. He does it chronologically, starting with the Yale-Harvard game in 1968 (an actual headline read, 'Harvard beats Yale 29-29').

If it isn't in bookstores, it can be ordered online at the website:

The book does a marvelous job of setting up the scene, delivering the play, then explaining the aftermath of it with comments from most of the players involved.

It is a book and CD that is sure to bring back memories -- both good and bad -- and a must for all college football fans.

[Heart Stoppers and Hail Marys: 100 of the Greatest College Football Finishes (1970-1999)]