It's Just Like 1980! Yeah, right.

I started this post after Brian Burke's comment last week that if the US wins gold it's a victory on a par with 1980. Little did I realize that beating Canada in a pre-lim game was going to be touted as "Miracle 2.0." (I just heard someone on ESPN radio characterize the U.S. team as not even expected to make it out of the preliminary round. Really? By whom?)

Anyway, Miracle 2: Miller Time. There are so many ways to pick that apart, but I'll just stick with this:

The 1980 US team was a bunch of college kids, playing not only against grown-ups (which is usually mentioned), but against the Red Army, elite professionals in everything but name, trained and funded by the Soviet military, hockey division. Everybody knows it was the height of the Cold War and the Soviets were the enemy, but just paying lip-service to that doesn't give us (or me, anyway) any sense of magnitude. To get that, you have to see it from the Soviets' point of view.

It would be as though the U.S. Marines had a football team, not a college team, but an elite all-star squad with the very best football players from across the country, NFL players, and they ruled the world and virtually never lost over several decades of competition (by the way: the all-time Olympic win/loss record of the Soviet national team? 62-6-2). Imagine such a team. Now imagine it's 2002. And we lose in the Olympics to the the team from Afghanistan, made up entirely of Taliban prep-school kids.

No matter what happens to Canada or Russia or the US in this Olympics, it's not going be as bad as that.