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The Rose Bowl, Recaptured

John Richards was 10 years old during Jim Plunkett's 1970 Heisman season, and he never forgot the thrill of the quarterback's exploits and Stanford's Rose Bowl win over Ohio State. About four years ago, he learned from a video collector that NBC had not preserved a full tape of its Rose Bowl telecast. Richards began hunting for any copy that might have survived.

He made friends through the Internet with an Ohio man who had reconstructed the key missing footage—some of the first-quarter action—from black-and-white film shot by Ohio State, and then combined it with NBC's color broadcast tape to produce a complete replay. Richards got a DVD copy.

Two years ago, Richards, a freelance illustrator who lives in Palo Alto, was at Menlo Park's Dutch Goose pub when he spotted Plunkett. The two struck up a conversation and Richards offered Plunkett a copy of the DVD. When Plunkett watched, it was a joy—and a revelation. "I didn't realize we got our butts kicked in the first half," says Plunkett. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, Stanford dropped behind 14-10 at halftime. But Stanford rallied with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to stun the previously unbeaten Buckeyes 27-17.

This fall, Plunkett enjoyed another treat from Richards, who had hunted down a copy of the 29-22 win over Washington that clinched the 1971 Rose Bowl berth.

For the record, Richards is a graduate of Chico State. But his mother, Barbara Smith, is a Stanford alumna, Class of 1942, who rooted for the 1940 team that went 10-0 and beat Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.

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