What was happening in the world when Manning and Woodson debuted?
The year was 1998. Steve Jobs had just introduced the the Apple iMac, and by year’s end, Congress would vote to impeach then-President Bill Clinton.
A young cornerback from Michigan was coming off a Heisman-winning campaign and was preparing for his first season in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, who were just a few years removed from returning to Northern California from Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, a quarterback from the Rocky Top was looking to make a name for himself on the NFL stage with a name that had been made famous by his father.
Nearly two decades later, these two future Hall of Famers will be facing one another in an important AFC West matchup when Charles Woodson leads his Raiders against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
What was happening around the world the year these two titans of the gridiron first stepped on a professional football field, a combined 502 games ago? Let’s have some fun by checking it out.
Will Smith’s "Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It" tops Billboard charts
Just a couple years removed from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" finale a couple years away from his Oscar-nominated turn in "Ali," Will Smith hit it big with this single. "Getting Jiggy Wit’ It" hit the Billboard No. 1 position and also found itself in the top 10 in nearly a dozen other countries. Unfortunately for Smith, this song is considered one of the worst in creation. In fact, AOL Radio ranked it as the 19th-worst song ever created. Yeah, it was really bad.
Sonny Bono dies in skiing accident
Then a congressman in California, Bono was skiing at a resort in Lake Tahoe when the 62-year-old former music star hit a tree on Jan. 5, 1998. As half of the famed Sonny & Cher duo of the 1960s and 1970s, Bono left behind some of the most original music of that grand era, including "I Got You Babe."
"Seinfeld" goes out on top
This transcendent sitcom ended its nine-season run as one of the top pop culture icons of the 1990s with a whopping 79 million Americans tuning in for the final episode in May 1998. From "no soup for you" to the famous "contest" episode, the series created by comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David has since become a cultural touchstone that has spanned generations.
John Elway wins first Super Bowl as Broncos defeat Packers
Now the general manager and executive vice president of the Broncos, Elway was carried to his first Super Bowl after three previous losses in the big game. The man who stepped up to help this Hall of Fame quarterback take that huge monkey off his back was none other than Super Bowl MVP Terrell Davis, who put up 157 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the Brett Favre-led Green Bay Packers. Elway would go on to lead the Broncos to a repeat the following season — his last in the NFL.
Dale Earnhardt wins Daytona 500
Almost three years to the day before he passed away on the same historic track in Florida, Earnhardt earned his first and only Daytona 500 win. Leading in 107 of the 200 laps, the "Intimidator" ended up grabbing the win with the race under caution. It probably wasn’t the most drama-filled ending in Daytona history, but it was a huge win for a guy that had struggled on this track for so many years.
In February 2001, on the very same raceway, the famed patriarch of the Earnhardt family died of injuries sustained in a crash. And six years to the day after Dale Sr. earned his first and only win at Daytona, his son crossed the finish line in first place.
"Titanic" swells to box office hit
James Cameron’s epic romance premiered in December 1997, but it hit widespread acclaim during the early part of 1998 and launched the careers of young stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, both in their early 20s at the time. Nominated for 14 Academy Awards, "Titanic" tied "Ben Hur" for the most Oscars won by a single film (11). In total, the epic earned $2.2 billion in the box office, still second-most to Cameron’s 2011 film "Avatar."
DVD and DIVX battle it out to replace the video cassette
There was a time not too long ago that the DVD was all the craze. After decades of dealing with a lesser quality format in the form of the video cassette, this shiny new product caught on big time around the world. Though, it didn’t come after the DVD found itself in a battle with DIVX to take over the home entertainment viewing industry. For those of us who grew up on the cassette, it was a welcome change. Fortunately, the DVD came out on top after these two went at it during the 1998 Consumer Electronics Show.
Michael Jordan goes out on top
For the first time. Maybe the second time. Yeah, it’s still hard to keep count. However, Jordan’s performance against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals is still among the greatest basketball memories in the history of the sport. Hitting the last-second game-winning shot in the sixth and final game of the series, the image of Jordan floating over defenders will remain ingrained in basketball lore well into the future. Overall, Jordan netted 45 points in the game, earning his sixth NBA Finals MVP.
It was the last game Jordan would ever play for the Chicago Bulls. After a hiatus of three years, Jordan would return to play for the Washington Wizards — his third comeback attempt.
Google files for incorporation
What in the world did we do before the creation of this modern marvel? And to think, after it was founded in Menlo Park, Calif., in September 1998, this search engine nearly failed.
Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin actually offered up the company to Excite CEO George Bell for $1 million in 1999, supposedly because the project was taking time from their studies at Stanford. Fortunately for all of us, Bell turned the offer down.
Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris’ single-season home run record
Going toe-to-toe with Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, McGwire rode a late-season hot streak to 70 home runs — surpassing the 61 that Maris hit some 37 years earlier.
And while the St. Louis Cardinals slugger would eventually find himself involved in the steroid scandal that took over the baseball world, this one season did a lot for baseball itself. It’s the one point in history we can look back to and say without a doubt that baseball was back following the strike of 1994.
Check out Vincent’s other work on eDraft.com and follow him on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL
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