Let’s start this discussion with a simple question: what team won the first Super Bowl?
In 1920, the NFL was founded. Forty years later, the NFL had a rich history and a promising future until, in 1960, the NFL refused to give some would be owners expansion teams and these would be owners decided to form their own American Football League (AFL). A few years later, bidding wars over players threatened both leagues. A merger of the leagues was hammered out where they agreed to a player draft to stop the bidding wars and a final championship game between each leagues’ champion. Thus, the Super Bowl was born. The 1966 season ended with the first Superbowl, pitting the NFL champion Green Bay Packers and The Kansas City Chiefs, the AFL champion. The Packers won 35-10.
But who won the NFL Championship the year before? Many fewer people know this.
In 1976, the Professional Disc Golf Association was founded. Forty years later, the Disc Golf Pro Tour (and World Tour) have been born out of a desire to advance the pro side of the sport faster than the PDGA has been doing. We are witnessing the End of the Beginning (http://www.pdga.com/end-beginning). While we will not have the National Tour, Pro Tour, and World Tour champions battle it out (although I’d pony up for a pay per view of this event!), we will be witnessing an evolution of our sport to something a bit more professional.
Bearing this in mind, I believe Paul McBeth is the 1965 Green Bay Packers. He just won the final season before The Modern Age of Disc Golf. He is the undisputed number one disc golfer on the planet. If he continues the trend, he will be viewed as the link between the end of the beginning and the modern age of disc golf. He will cement his place in the history of our sport as the man to be crowned our first modern champion.
Looking back at the 1966 Super Bowl – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usNzAc-05u8 – the game almost seems quaint (and a tad ridiculous with with goal posts IN THE END ZONE!) Imagine how quaint the 2016 disc golf season will feel in just a decade, once the Pro Tour is established, the spectators are here in force, cheering for their favorite touring pros and hoping they don’t make a social media gaffe that they have to explain to their kids. The corporate sponsors are lining up to be the official VR headset of the Pro Tour and the Tribaloid disc golf video game has 1 million downloads in the first 24 hours.
However, what if Paul McBeth does not maintain his spot at the pinnacle of our sport? He will forever be known as one of the best players in the nascent years of our sport – as one of the players that helped push us into this new era, but was just a tad too early to really benefit from it. His 2015 earnings of $70K will be remembered as small potatoes as we forget how little everyone else was making.
With the early days of disc golf behind us, Ken Climo will forever be known as the best disc golfer in the formative years of disc golf. With the modern age of disc golf ahead of us, Paul’s place in disc golf history is not yet secure. If the Packers had not won those first two Super Bowls, most NFL fans would not remember their dominance in the early 1960s. Paul’s amazing 2015 dominance, without a repeat, could be a forgotten blip in disc golf history.
The 2016 season is going to be one we remember, and I am excited to watch it unfold. And if he does fall from the top spot, who will be the one to push him off? Who is pushing themselves during this off season to compete and dethrone the undisputed best disc golfer on the planet?
When the Tour Championship is on the line, who will define the moment?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.