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Summary: Heaven, Hell, two roads, the crowd

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“WRONG WAY”

Matt 7: 13-14 (p 685) July 15, 2012

INTRODUCTION:

Douglas Corrigan became a legendary aviator, not because of his accomplishments as a pilot but rather because of a supposed navigational error. In 1938, Corrigan “Mistakenly” flew from New York to Ireland—when he was supposed to be flying from New York to California-because he seemingly misread his compass. For Americans, who were caught in the midst of the Great Depression, Corrigan’s antic provided a great deal of humor and uplift and he became a national folk hero. To this day, Corrigan’s nickname, “Wrong Way” Corrigan,” remains a stock colloquial phrase in popular culture. People us it to describe anyone who blunders and goes the wrong way, particularly in sporting events.

In fact…. (show the clip)

On January 1, 1929, the Golden Bears faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Rose bowl in Pasadena, California, USA. Midway through the second quarter, Riegels, who played center, picked up a fumble by Tech’s Jack “Stumpy” Thomason. Just 30 yards away from the Yellow Jackets’ end zone, Riegels was somehow turned around and ran 69 yards in the wrong direction.

Teammate and quarterback Benny Lom chased Riegels, screaming at him to stop. Known for his speed, Lom finally caught up with Riegels at California’s 3-yard line and tried to turn him around, but he was immediately hit by a wave of Tech players and tackled back to the 1-yard line. The Bears chose to punt rather than risk a play so close to their own end zone, but Tech’s Vance Maree blocked Lom’s punt for a safety, giving Georgia Tech a 2-0 lead.

Riegels was so distraught that he had to be talked into returning to the game for the second half. Riegels turned in a stellar second half performance, including blocking a Tech punt. Lom passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point, but Tech would ultimately win the game-and their second national championship-be a final score of 8-7. The example of how the distraught Riegels was persuaded to pick himself up, return to the field and play so hard during the second half is sometimes used by motivational speakers to illustrate overcoming setbacks.

But there is a more modern “Wrong Way”. It involves Jim Marshall, who played for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1960’s…

During his time with the Minnesota Vikings, Marshall was involved in what is considered by many, including SI.com author John Rolfe, to be one of the most embarrassing moments in professional sports history. On October 25, 1964, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards with it the wrong way into his own end zone. Thinking that he had scored a touchdown for the Vikings, Marshall then threw the ball away in celebration. The ball landed out of bounds, resulting in a safety for the 49ers. Despite the gaffe, the Vikings won the game 27-22, with the final margin of victory provided by a Carl Eller touchdown return of a fumble caused by a Marshall sack. Marshall later received a letter from Roy Riegels, in famous for a wrong-way run in the 1929 Rose Bowl, stating. “Welcome to the club.”


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