June 8, 2016
“I was hoping you could help me fill in an important blank, thanks to your position in the Athletic Department and today’s social media.” Bill Ziegler, Lancaster, Pa.
Randy York N-Sider
Official Blog of the Huskers
Today was the last day of school for Bill Ziegler, a Grand Island, Neb., native and lifetime Nebraska football fan, who’s finishing his 16th year of teaching social studies at Manheim Township High School in Lancaster, Pa.
That means that Ziegler is also finishing more than two decades without solving an important moment in his life, something he annually seeks, but the answer flows like a river because there’s no hurry and for some odd reason, he expects to find it someday.
Ziegler, you see, has incredible perseverance and believes that it doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop searching. To my complete surprise, Bill Ziegler came up with the most unlikely solution I could possibly imagine – using me, the official blogger for Nebraska Athletics. You’d think a grown man with the patience to teach would drop a dream after 22 years, but Bill Ziegler is like Winston Churchill – he will never, never, never give in!
How else do you explain the inspiration of his thoughts and the innovation they require? Ziegler was so desperate, he focused on Huskers.com, sending me a compelling email during lunch on his last school day. “I thought this might be a fun summer assignment as we wait for another Nebraska football season to arrive,” he said after describing the “greatest day of my life.”
200th Consecutive Home Sellout Pivotal to Huskers’ National Championship
Make that the greatest day of Ziegler’s life before he was married. Saturday Oct. 29, 1994, was a sight to behold inside and outside Memorial Stadium because third-ranked Nebraska beat second-ranked Colorado, 24-7, before the Huskers’ 200th consecutive home sellout crowd.
Big Red fans were so ecstatic with that lopsided victory, led by legendary quarterback Brook Berringer (pictured below), they stormed what is now Tom Osborne Field, unfastened the goal posts and carried them all the way to the State Capitol.
“The memory I enjoy sharing with friends usually falls under the title ‘greatest day of my life,’” Ziegler said. “I was hoping you could help me fill in an important blank, thanks to your position in the Athletic Department and today’s social media that includes 610,000 homepage likes.”
Ziegler was a freshman at the University of Nebraska on that unforgettable 1994 Saturday. He confesses that he “helped the goalposts leave the stadium” when Nebraska dominated a CU team that included future NFL stars Kordell Stewart at quarterback, Michael Westbrook at wide receiver and running back Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner.
Every Year Since 1994, Ziegler Wishes He Had the Ultimate Celebration Photo
“We carried the goalposts past the ESPN set, went outside the stadium and straight down O Street,” Ziegler said. “We passed fans cheering us on to the steps of the State Capitol Building, where it was rumored that people had saws to cut up the goalposts into smaller pieces.”
Simultaneous to that hullabaloo, “a wedding was just letting out across the street and the newly married couple – with their photographer – came across the street to take a picture with the section of the upright we’d carried there,” Ziegler said.
“Since that happened, I’ve joked that I’m probably in that couple’s wedding album,” Ziegler theorized. “This is where you come in. I was hoping you could reach out with a post and see what happens, or if you have any advice for searching this out myself.
“I still have a piece of the goalpost in a custom case in my basement,” Ziegler said. “I’m not sure how happy the University would be, but perhaps the statute of limitations has run its course.”
Ziegler Has Fond Memories Watching the Huskers with His Late Godfather
Ziegler is secure with me, but just to make sure this isn’t a hoax, I ask him to send a photo (above) wearing Husker gear. He quickly complies, attaching a photo with Pat Dowd, his godfather and former owner of Grand Island’s popular Dreisbach’s Steakhouse. Dowd was a longtime Nebraska season ticketholder who died this past April. “He took me to the Big Red Football School in 1991, so seeing this picture again means a lot,” Ziegler said.
Harkening back to Nebraska’s 1994 win over Colorado is a worthy trip. Ziegler’s favorite play in that memorable win paved the way to Nebraska’s first of three national championship seasons under Osborne. Ziegler’s fondest remembrance? Berringer’s 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Alford in the third quarter, giving Nebraska a commanding 24-0 cushion.
“That’s when a win seemed truly within reach,” said Ziegler, who continues to seek the ultimate testimonial that connects his part of the goal post to the magical day he still honors. It may be a longshot, but if anyone has a photo that includes Bill Ziegler in their wedding pictures in Lincoln on Saturday, Oct. 29, 1994, please contact me directly.
Who knows? A photo that authenticates historical proof of the greatest day in a teacher’s life before marriage may be worth more than you think.
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