The world that was when Cal last axed Stanford

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Blockbuster officials paced the conference room as they struggled to find ways to compete with the emerging beast known as Netflix, while President Barack Obama sat in the Oval Office admiring the Nobel Peace Prize he had won just a month earlier.  The Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” echoed throughout the streets as political pundits debated the effects of the stimulus package passed by the Democratic Congress at the beginning of the year.  This was the world that existed when the Cal football team last defeated Stanford in the Big Game. Oh, how times have changed.

On November 21, 2009 Andrew Luck and the Cardinal indulged in an early Thanksgiving dinner, eating a heaping plate of “L” served to them by a ferocious Golden Bears team on their own home turf in Palo Alto, California. Since that thrilling victory, however, the Bears have lost every subsequent Big Game. To see how much the world has changed since Cal last claimed the Stanford Axe, let’s take a look at what was happening at the time.

In sports

Santonio Holmes closed out Super Bowl XLIII with a magnificent tiptoe catch in the back of the Cardinals’ end zone, securing a 27-23 victory and the Steelers’ sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Kobe Bryant and company leapt with joy as the Lakers celebrated their 4-1 Finals victory over Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.

Pedro Martinez hung his head as he walked into the Phillies’ dugout while Yankee fans jeered him with the inevitable “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants. That night the Bronx Bombers went on to win their 27th World Series in franchise history.

In tech

The Apple iPhone 3GS dominated the cell phone game in 2009, as over one million units were sold within three days of the product’s release. The second most popular phone of the year was the LG enV Touch, which stirred a great deal of envy among sixth graders who were still stuck with their parents’ old flip phones.

In film and television

America was introduced to William Schuester and the McKinley High School glee club as Fox’s Glee took television by storm, being rated one of Time Magazine’s best programs of the year.

Brad Pitt and his army of fools stormed the big screen in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.  The film grossed over $320 million at the box office and was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

In music

Kanye West ruined Taylor Swift’s Grammy acceptance speech with his infamous, “Taylor… I’ma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!”  Later that night, Lil Wayne took home four Grammy Awards, one of which was won for arguably his most popular album, Tha Carter III.

Lady Gaga cracked the Billboard Top Ten not once, but twice, with her hit songs “Poker Face,” and “Just Dance.”

Though the world is a different place in 2018 than it was in 2009, the Big Game still carries the pride of being one of the greatest contests in all of collegiate athletics, and the Bears’ desire to bring home the Stanford Axe is just as intense as it was nine years ago. With a roster loaded with talent and a young head coach hungry to prove himself in the most meaningful game of the season, the Bears will come out this Saturday ready to make sure the Axe doesn’t leave Memorial Stadium.

Joey Patton covers men’s swimming and diving. Contact him at [email protected].