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Moody Madness

Postby LA_Mustang » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:16 pm

Moody Madness: Still crazy after all these years

Like the '84 game itself, Moody Madness stories go on and on


02:56 AM CDT on Thursday, April 22, 2004


By JAN HUBBARD / The Dallas Morning News



A headline writer, now long forgotten, elevated the event from unforgettable to legendary. In the April 27, 1984 edition of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavericks' bizarre victory over Seattle in the fifth and deciding game of their first-round playoff series was immortalized with this banner:

"Mavs win Moody madness"

"Moody madness" became "Moody Madness" and now is a permanent part of Dallas basketball lore. And those who lived in Dallas at that time have always used it as a reference point to quantify the significance of any basketball event.

"That was almost as good as Moody Madness."

"I haven't heard a crowd that loud since Moody Madness."

"That was the craziest thing I've seen since Moody Madness."

Taken alone, the game was a classic. The Mavericks trailed by six points with less than a minute left in regulation, came back, tied the score and won, 105-104, in overtime.

But there was so much more.

Mavericks officials did not expect the team, which had not made the playoffs in its first three seasons, to capture the home-court advantage. A World Championship Tennis event was scheduled at Reunion Arena in the last week of April, so the Mavericks had to play at SMU's Moody Coliseum, which seated 8,000 fewer people. Preparing that facility for an NBA playoff game was a daunting, and sometimes comical, task.

The craziness never stopped, and it was the last second of the game – a second that took 14 minutes to play – that transformed the game into a fable.

Twenty years later, some of the principals and behind-the-scenes people remember the night as one that was maddening, challenging, extraordinary and exhilarating.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Mike Mathis
Then: Referee

Now: Retired

Madness recap: Correctly ruled that the game had ended when the Mavericks' Jay Vincent bounced an inbounds pass off the chest of Seattle's Tom Chambers but was overruled by lead official Jake O'Donnell because the clock had not started.

Rolando Blackman
Then: Player

Now: Assistant coach

Madness recap: Scored four points in the last 21 seconds of regulation to tie the score and led Dallas with 29 points.

Steve Letson
Then: SMU ticket manager

Now: Mavericks VP of operations

Madness recap: Helped transform Moody into a facility that could accommodate an NBA playoff game.

Kevin McCarthy
Then: Public address announcer

Now: Talk show host, KMSR-AM 990.

Madness recap: Had to announce to the crowd that the last second of the game was going to be replayed.

Marty Faulkner
Then: Ticket sales/operations

Now: National sales representative, KMG Marketing

Madness recap: Worked in game operations.

Allen Stone
Then: TV play-by-play announcer

Now: News/sports anchor

Madness recap: Along with partner Scott Lloyd, had to explain to the TV audience what was happening without officials explaining anything to him.

Kevin Sullivan
Then: Public relations director

Now: VP public relations for NBC in New York

Madness recap: In charge of media seating and the statistics crew.

Chris Wold
Then: Ticket sales/operations

Now: Partner, KMG Marketing

Madness recap: Worked in game operations. Wore headphones to communicate with security and entertainment.

Mike Perlmeter
Then: 24-second shot clock operator

Now: 24-second shot clock operator.

Madness recap: Perlmeter and Jim Black, the men who normally handled the game clock and shot clock, were out of town on business. A backup crew was in charge of the clock operation.

BEFORE THE GAME

The Mavericks fell behind the Sonics, 2-1, but surprised Seattle with a 107-96 victory in Game 4. The series was marred by scheduling problems. The Seattle games were in two arenas, so when the teams returned to Dallas for Game 5 in Moody Coliseum, it was the fourth consecutive game in a different arena.

Rolando Blackman: The big thing I remember is how displaced our team felt because we were growing and our team was doing better every year. And all of a sudden, lo and behold, how do you put WCT in our gym when we are supposed to be in the playoffs? Somebody felt like we weren't going to make the playoffs, and that's why we had to move. It was a funny feeling, because we weren't going to have all of our crazy fans from Reunion.

Kevin McCarthy: Norm Sonju [the Mavericks' general manager] and I went to check out the PA system at Moody a few days before the game. It wasn't up to what we wanted, and Norm didn't know what to do. I wasn't far removed from being a DJ on rock 'n' roll radio, and I knew of a company that provided audio for all the big rock concerts. Norm called them, and they put in a sound system for that game that was just like they would use for the Rolling Stones. Anyone who was there can tell you how loud it was, because we're all still hard of hearing.

Steve Letson: The Mavericks were trying to get as many people in there as they could, and at the time, SMU had the wooden bleachers on the floor for students. The Mavericks said we had to number them because seats had to be reserved. We started putting numbers down and taped off areas, but when we got to the end, there weren't enough seats. So we had to do it again. We gave everyone about 14 inches, and it was ridiculous. I think the only reason it worked is because everyone stood up the whole game.

DURING THE GAME

The setting was intense, deafening, crowded and exciting.

Chris Wold: Back then, games weren't such a production like they are now. Norm always wanted the music turned off when the ball was in play. But it was so loud that when Seattle had it, the music was blaring but no one complained because the fans were so loud that you couldn't hear it.

Steve Letson: We announced ... [9,007] that night, but I know there were over 10,000 people in there. The four corners at SMU are open, and people were standing in there with people on their shoulders. I stood at the top of the arena because there were no tickets, and I couldn't hear anything. It was louder than Reunion ever was.

THE KEY MOMENT

After overcoming a six-point deficit in the last minute of regulation to send the game to overtime, the Mavericks built a six-point lead, only to see the Sonics come back. With one second remaining, Seattle scored to pull within a point, and the Mavericks called a timeout to set up the last play. Dallas coach [deleted] Motta instructed Jay Vincent to bounce the ball off the chest of the player who was guarding the inbounds play. Motta reasoned that even if the player caught the pass, he would have it at midcourt and wouldn't have time to shoot.

Allen Stone: Rick Sund totally second-guessed Motta after the game and talked about how stupid he was for throwing the ball to Chambers. All they had to do was get the ball inbounds and the game was over, so he was saying, "What if they had made a half-court shot?" It was kind of crazy.

Mike Mathis: Jay came out of the huddle and looked at me and said, "The clock starts when the ball touches someone on the court, right?" I said, "Right." He got the ball, bounced it off Tom Chambers' chest, and Chambers had to turn and throw it from midcourt. All of that took more than one second. So I said, "The game's over. Let's go."

Rolando Blackman: We ran off the court and into the locker room and started celebrating. About two minutes later, someone came in and said the game wasn't over. We said, "Yes it is. We're not going out there." Guys already had their shoes off.

Mike Mathis: Tommy Nuñez was the alternate official and was sitting at the table. He came running out and said, "Mike, Mike. The clock didn't start." I said, "I don't give a damn. I know what a second is. The game's over. Let's go." So then Jake comes over, and he is the type of guy that never wanted to ... [tick] people off. So he's trying to figure out what he's going to do. He finally says, 'I'm going to give the ball to Dallas.' And I said, "You are? What are they going to get? A do-over?" So he changes his mind and says, "I'm going to give the ball to Seattle."

BACK TO THE COURT

When the Mavericks returned to the floor, an announcement was made that Chambers had intercepted the ball and Mathis had mistakenly blown his whistle because the clock had not started. That was incorrect, but it was the best O'Donnell could do.

Mike Perlmeter: That night, the regular clock operator Jim Black and I were both out of town on business. So they had backups. Inexperience was a factor because Jim and I had a system. With less than 24 seconds left, I would spot for him. When the ball was legally touched, I would hit him on the arm and he would start the clock. But the other thing was that they were also using equipment that was unfamiliar. The mechanisms were different because they were using SMU equipment rather than the regular equipment from Reunion Arena. So it was a combination of things.

Mike Mathis: There was a little cove behind the scorer's table. I grabbed Pinky DeLay, the security guy, and told him, "If the ball goes in, I'm not trying to get across Moody Coliseum to the second-floor dressing room. I'm going right under the table and into the cove, and we're going to have the Alamo back there. Get your guys and surround me." He asked me what was going to happen to Jake and Tommy, and I said, "They don't listen to me. They're on their own."

Rolando Blackman: I felt like a capped volcano. I had all this fuel inside of me, and all of us had to keep it capped. There was so much crap going on. We just had to get back on the court and play defense. It was all crazy.

Mike Mathis: I didn't want to talk to the other guys after the game, so I went straight to the shower and just stood under the hot water. All of a sudden, I hear this voice that says, "Mike, Mike, what happened? We nearly got killed out there, Mike." I open one eye and look over and it's Pinky. He's in the shower, fully clothed, getting drenched, going, "Mike, Mike, we nearly got killed." We've laughed about that for 20 years.

THE AFTERMATH

Twenty years later, the principals and the people behind the scenes still remember it with awe.

Kevin Sullivan: It was such an unbelievable game that we later made a videotape of it and sold it in all Sound Warehouse stores, which at the time was the big music chain in the city.

Chris Wold: I got to work a little late the next morning. The receptionist said, "You better get back there." The phones were ringing off the hook. The amazing thing was that people were calling in to buy season tickets.

Kevin McCarthy: It was a cross between a Fellini movie and a hurricane. It really was madness.
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Postby LA_Mustang » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:17 pm

BEFORE THE GAME

The Mavericks fell behind the Sonics, 2-1, but surprised Seattle with a 107-96 victory in Game 4. The series was marred by scheduling problems. The Seattle games were in two arenas, so when the teams returned to Dallas for Game 5 in Moody Coliseum, it was the fourth consecutive game in a different arena.

Rolando Blackman: The big thing I remember is how displaced our team felt because we were growing and our team was doing better every year. And all of a sudden, lo and behold, how do you put WCT in our gym when we are supposed to be in the playoffs? Somebody felt like we weren't going to make the playoffs, and that's why we had to move. It was a funny feeling, because we weren't going to have all of our crazy fans from Reunion.

Kevin McCarthy: Norm Sonju [the Mavericks' general manager] and I went to check out the PA system at Moody a few days before the game. It wasn't up to what we wanted, and Norm didn't know what to do. I wasn't far removed from being a DJ on rock 'n' roll radio, and I knew of a company that provided audio for all the big rock concerts. Norm called them, and they put in a sound system for that game that was just like they would use for the Rolling Stones. Anyone who was there can tell you how loud it was, because we're all still hard of hearing.

Steve Letson: The Mavericks were trying to get as many people in there as they could, and at the time, SMU had the wooden bleachers on the floor for students. The Mavericks said we had to number them because seats had to be reserved. We started putting numbers down and taped off areas, but when we got to the end, there weren't enough seats. So we had to do it again. We gave everyone about 14 inches, and it was ridiculous. I think the only reason it worked is because everyone stood up the whole game.

DURING THE GAME

The setting was intense, deafening, crowded and exciting.

Chris Wold: Back then, games weren't such a production like they are now. Norm always wanted the music turned off when the ball was in play. But it was so loud that when Seattle had it, the music was blaring but no one complained because the fans were so loud that you couldn't hear it.

Steve Letson: We announced ... [9,007] that night, but I know there were over 10,000 people in there. The four corners at SMU are open, and people were standing in there with people on their shoulders. I stood at the top of the arena because there were no tickets, and I couldn't hear anything. It was louder than Reunion ever was.

THE KEY MOMENT

After overcoming a six-point deficit in the last minute of regulation to send the game to overtime, the Mavericks built a six-point lead, only to see the Sonics come back. With one second remaining, Seattle scored to pull within a point, and the Mavericks called a timeout to set up the last play. Dallas coach [deleted] Motta instructed Jay Vincent to bounce the ball off the chest of the player who was guarding the inbounds play. Motta reasoned that even if the player caught the pass, he would have it at midcourt and wouldn't have time to shoot.

Allen Stone: Rick Sund totally second-guessed Motta after the game and talked about how stupid he was for throwing the ball to Chambers. All they had to do was get the ball inbounds and the game was over, so he was saying, "What if they had made a half-court shot?" It was kind of crazy.

Mike Mathis: Jay came out of the huddle and looked at me and said, "The clock starts when the ball touches someone on the court, right?" I said, "Right." He got the ball, bounced it off Tom Chambers' chest, and Chambers had to turn and throw it from midcourt. All of that took more than one second. So I said, "The game's over. Let's go."

Rolando Blackman: We ran off the court and into the locker room and started celebrating. About two minutes later, someone came in and said the game wasn't over. We said, "Yes it is. We're not going out there." Guys already had their shoes off.

Mike Mathis: Tommy Nuñez was the alternate official and was sitting at the table. He came running out and said, "Mike, Mike. The clock didn't start." I said, "I don't give a damn. I know what a second is. The game's over. Let's go." So then Jake comes over, and he is the type of guy that never wanted to ... [tick] people off. So he's trying to figure out what he's going to do. He finally says, 'I'm going to give the ball to Dallas.' And I said, "You are? What are they going to get? A do-over?" So he changes his mind and says, "I'm going to give the ball to Seattle."

BACK TO THE COURT

When the Mavericks returned to the floor, an announcement was made that Chambers had intercepted the ball and Mathis had mistakenly blown his whistle because the clock had not started. That was incorrect, but it was the best O'Donnell could do.

Mike Perlmeter: That night, the regular clock operator Jim Black and I were both out of town on business. So they had backups. Inexperience was a factor because Jim and I had a system. With less than 24 seconds left, I would spot for him. When the ball was legally touched, I would hit him on the arm and he would start the clock. But the other thing was that they were also using equipment that was unfamiliar. The mechanisms were different because they were using SMU equipment rather than the regular equipment from Reunion Arena. So it was a combination of things.

Mike Mathis: There was a little cove behind the scorer's table. I grabbed Pinky DeLay, the security guy, and told him, "If the ball goes in, I'm not trying to get across Moody Coliseum to the second-floor dressing room. I'm going right under the table and into the cove, and we're going to have the Alamo back there. Get your guys and surround me." He asked me what was going to happen to Jake and Tommy, and I said, "They don't listen to me. They're on their own."

Rolando Blackman: I felt like a capped volcano. I had all this fuel inside of me, and all of us had to keep it capped. There was so much crap going on. We just had to get back on the court and play defense. It was all crazy.

Mike Mathis: I didn't want to talk to the other guys after the game, so I went straight to the shower and just stood under the hot water. All of a sudden, I hear this voice that says, "Mike, Mike, what happened? We nearly got killed out there, Mike." I open one eye and look over and it's Pinky. He's in the shower, fully clothed, getting drenched, going, "Mike, Mike, we nearly got killed." We've laughed about that for 20 years.

THE AFTERMATH

Twenty years later, the principals and the people behind the scenes still remember it with awe.

Kevin Sullivan: It was such an unbelievable game that we later made a videotape of it and sold it in all Sound Warehouse stores, which at the time was the big music chain in the city.

Chris Wold: I got to work a little late the next morning. The receptionist said, "You better get back there." The phones were ringing off the hook. The amazing thing was that people were calling in to buy season tickets.

Kevin McCarthy: It was a cross between a Fellini movie and a hurricane. It really was madness.
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Postby LA_Mustang » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:18 pm

Mike Mathis: Tommy Nuñez was the alternate official and was sitting at the table. He came running out and said, "Mike, Mike. The clock didn't start." I said, "I don't give a damn. I know what a second is. The game's over. Let's go." So then Jake comes over, and he is the type of guy that never wanted to ... [tick] people off. So he's trying to figure out what he's going to do. He finally says, 'I'm going to give the ball to Dallas.' And I said, "You are? What are they going to get? A do-over?" So he changes his mind and says, "I'm going to give the ball to Seattle."

BACK TO THE COURT

When the Mavericks returned to the floor, an announcement was made that Chambers had intercepted the ball and Mathis had mistakenly blown his whistle because the clock had not started. That was incorrect, but it was the best O'Donnell could do.

Mike Perlmeter: That night, the regular clock operator Jim Black and I were both out of town on business. So they had backups. Inexperience was a factor because Jim and I had a system. With less than 24 seconds left, I would spot for him. When the ball was legally touched, I would hit him on the arm and he would start the clock. But the other thing was that they were also using equipment that was unfamiliar. The mechanisms were different because they were using SMU equipment rather than the regular equipment from Reunion Arena. So it was a combination of things.

Mike Mathis: There was a little cove behind the scorer's table. I grabbed Pinky DeLay, the security guy, and told him, "If the ball goes in, I'm not trying to get across Moody Coliseum to the second-floor dressing room. I'm going right under the table and into the cove, and we're going to have the Alamo back there. Get your guys and surround me." He asked me what was going to happen to Jake and Tommy, and I said, "They don't listen to me. They're on their own."

Rolando Blackman: I felt like a capped volcano. I had all this fuel inside of me, and all of us had to keep it capped. There was so much crap going on. We just had to get back on the court and play defense. It was all crazy.

Mike Mathis: I didn't want to talk to the other guys after the game, so I went straight to the shower and just stood under the hot water. All of a sudden, I hear this voice that says, "Mike, Mike, what happened? We nearly got killed out there, Mike." I open one eye and look over and it's Pinky. He's in the shower, fully clothed, getting drenched, going, "Mike, Mike, we nearly got killed." We've laughed about that for 20 years.

THE AFTERMATH

Twenty years later, the principals and the people behind the scenes still remember it with awe.

Kevin Sullivan: It was such an unbelievable game that we later made a videotape of it and sold it in all Sound Warehouse stores, which at the time was the big music chain in the city.

Chris Wold: I got to work a little late the next morning. The receptionist said, "You better get back there." The phones were ringing off the hook. The amazing thing was that people were calling in to buy season tickets.

Kevin McCarthy: It was a cross between a Fellini movie and a hurricane. It really was madness.

E-mail jhubbard@dallasnews.com
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Postby Hoop Fan » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:34 pm

Moody truly could be amazing if we could fill it. There would be no crazier an atmosphere this side of Cameron Indoor.
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Postby RGV Pony » Fri Apr 23, 2004 7:14 am

I'd love to see video of Moody Madness to see what it was like to have the place stuffed. Anyone have access to such? Diehard Pony, perhaps?
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Moody & the Southwest Conference Games

Postby The Falcon » Fri Apr 23, 2004 9:56 am

Back in the late 60's and 70's, Moody had its own Madness - SMU style.
I was an usher in Moody back then. (I also worked many of the
Dallas Chapparrels' games that were played in Moody for the old ABA.

All of the Southwest Conference games were competitive and good
crowds came - many sellouts. The atmosphere was always electric for
the Arkansas games with Texas, A&M, and Tech being close. Many
hotly contested games, boisterous crowds, brawling in the middle of the
floor, Sutton using a 4 corners stall game in the first half without a shot
clock because he didn't want SMU to blow him out. Even TCU & Baylor
brought many fans and the games were very competitive. Only Houston
& Rice didn't bring fans - but even those teams had good athletes that
brought the Dallas fans out - players like Drexler, Olajuwan, Michael Young and Elvin Hayes, Moody was full, electric, and it was loud.

If I were King for a Day - I'd wave my wand and the Southwest Conference would magically reappear - but alas, that won't happen.

Having dreamed that - I am looking forward with anticipation and a great
amount of wishful thinking and blind support that Coach Tubbs will restore
the thrill that was once Moody Madness and provide SMU with its own Hollywood ending as local boy, underdog - makes good. Tubbs is Rocky and Rudy all rolled into one. What a thrill that would be. I have been doing my part for the past 20 years by bringing anywhere from 2 to 8 people with me to SMU games - if all of you reading this board would do that, we could bring the excitement back.

Even though I'd rather see Moody improved (not replaced) soon. That
probably won't happen. If we ( you and I, Tubbs, and the players) can
restore Moody Madness, I am hopeful that a new Moody would appear.
Go Mustangs! We've got Ford Stadium now and hopefully next year's team will bring on "Ford Fever."
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Postby Hoop Fan » Fri Apr 23, 2004 10:55 am

Ford Fever. I like it. And hopefully, Tubbs will start to schedule some of the big boys to come to Moody now, because once he starts winning, they wont want to come. I'd schedule Arkansas, Oklahoma and UT if I could. Even give them 2 for 1s if necessary. UT probably wouldnt do it, but the others might. Kansas and Ok State too. I think Dement avoided good teams and didnt want them to get exposure in Dallas. I see some logic in that, but I think playing them does more for SMU recruiting than not playing them.
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Postby moodymadness » Fri Apr 23, 2004 11:05 am

LA, I thought you were calling me out for a second with that subject title! But there is nothing like Moody Madness and I would like nothing more than for Moody to restore the atmosphere that The Falcon mentioned.
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Postby Diehard Pony » Fri Apr 23, 2004 11:21 am

First of all, I too am excited at the possibilities of Coach Tubbs restoring "Moody Madness" SMU style. As The Falcon pointed out there was much SMU Moody Madness for many years up through the 80’s until failures by the team, the “Mavericks effect”, and the SWC break up drastically impaired attendance.

Big SMU home crowds of reasonably recent vintage are as follows:

10,276 Texas A&M 1/13/79
10,091 Texas 2/20/79
9,912 T. Tech 2/22/77
9,890 Arkansas 2/16/78
9,876 Texas A&M 2/12/77
9,007 Houston 1984
9,007 Arkansas 1984
9,007 Arkansas 1985
9,007 Houston 1985
9,007 Texas A&M 1985
9,007 Louisville 1985
9,007 T Tech 1985
9,007 Arkansas 1988
9,007 Arkansas 1991
9,007 Arkansas 1995

As to RGV’s question about video, I have the 1985 games against Arkansas and Louisville (national TV).

I don't have the Mavs Moody Madness as I am not a Mavs fan. For those that witnessed our attendance pre and post arrrival of the Mavs it was easy to see the impact. Before the Mavs, we benefitted from attendance by non-SMU basketball fans....we were the only show in town.
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Postby LA_Mustang » Sun Apr 25, 2004 2:34 pm

FYI, Fox Sports will revisit Moody Madness tonight at 9pm.
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