Today we are taking a trip down memory lane, roll with me people. Back in 1997, cue Dom Kennedy’s song, naw but really, in 1997 December 15th on Monday Night Football the San Francisco 49ers played the Denver Broncos. When this game was played, I was still excited about what presents I was going to get on Christmas, at this current time I was only a 14-year-old sports nut.
The game showcased two of the premier teams at the current time coming into the game the 9ers record was 12-2 and Broncos were a respected 11-3. Before the game started it was billed to be a good regular season game.
What I remember most about this season is that it was the year Jerry Rice got his knee hurt in the 1st game against the Buccaneers, which left him out for the season. Sad sad day for 9ers fans.
The 9ers won the game 34-17 but it won’t be remembered for the winner or the loser of the game, in my mind this will always be known as the infamous spit game. Both teams had great players at the time 9ers had Steve Young, a young Terrell Owens, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young and the Broncos had John Elway, Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, and Steve Atwater just to name a few. But the two players who stood out the most happened to be WR J.J. Stokes of the 9ers and LB Bill Romanowski of the Broncos. Not because any play either, one made it was because of the spit incident after a play. Stokes and Romanowski met helmet to helmet, then the unthinkable happen “spit flew from Bill’s helmet to J.J.’s face”. After being in shock for the next few minutes after seeing this happen live, this was before dvr so I couldn’t rewind one hundred times, but the MNF crew did a good job replaying the situation. I realized that J.J. Stokes allowed a grown man to intentionally spit on him on national t.v. I know Bill was known to do bad things (in August of the same year he broke QB Kerry Collins jaw on a vicious tackle) to people but no retaliation after getting spit on? on national tv? c’mon son.
What was J.J. thinking did he not want to get kicked out the game? All he did was wipe his face off like it was a normal occurrence and walk back to the huddle. This would be a perfect time to cleat him anywhere, but win or lose I believe you have the right to fight if someone spits on you. Was getting spit on the “in” thing to have happen to you in 97? Would you rather fight and lose or let somebody spit on you than walk away? J.J. is a better man then most to be able to walk away.
Romanowski did get fined $7,500 for the incident but at the end of the day people won’t remember his fine, people will remember him spitting on J.J. I guess Stokes believed in turning the other cheek.
Thanks for rolling back down memory lane with me. How many of the Front Office News readers remember this incident?