Though neither adored nor even appreciated by most Midwest sports fans or media, McNown, the onetime UCLA quarterback, has always had a flair for the spectacular.
And in the biggest game of 2000 for both the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears, it was Chicago quarterback McNown whose passes, on the night before Christmas, advanced the Rams to the NFL playoffs by ending Detroit's season.
His rookie year in the pro league hasn't been the former Bruin's favorite in football--but he's not likely to forget the last game.
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How Cade Did It
For those who were busy Christmas shopping at the time, here's a recital of McNown's most significant deeds that day:
In the third quarter, at a time when the Lions still expected to romp, he cooled them down with a 27-yard touchdown pass that nudged the Bears ahead for the first time, 13-10.
In the last minute of the game, breaking a 20-20 tie, McNown drove the Bears into position for Paul Edinger's winning field goal, 23-20.
McNown's last play, the pass that placed Chicago within field-goal range, gained 10 yards on fourth and one.
Because the Chicago newspapers harbor McNown haters in almost every department, it was no surprise that they focused afterward not on the winning drive but on the winning kick, professing amazement that a man could kick a football 54 yards even in the ideal atmospheric conditions of a Pontiac, Mich., dome.
Still, it was Cade who gave Chicagoland its big day.
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Frosty NFL Playoffs Probable
Most Americans enjoyed a white Christmas this year, and good for them.
If you only have to spend a half hour or so outdoors, a cold winter day can be fun.
But the El Nino hot spell that made much of America unseasonably pleasant in recent Januarys is not only just a memory now, it's been replaced, back East, by the harsh winter weather they know so well.
They've had more snow and a deeper freeze in the Eastern and Midwestern states this year than in any recent winter.
And due to the reality that January is traditionally the coldest of the 12 months in America, the signs all point to frosty football ahead.