No, the Bluecoats have not performed in, or around, a Super Bowl… yet. As the world prepares for the biggest game in football this coming weekend, in 1981 the Bluecoats were preparing for their “Super Bowl” in the eyes of their director. In just the second season after having been inactive, the Bluecoats were on the rise again. A newspaper reporter sat down with director Tom Jakmides about how the season was progressing and he drew the analogy of DCI World Championsips as the equivalent to the NFL championship game. But the Bluecoats goal wasn’t to win a DCI Championship in 1981, it was to achieve member status (making top 25). Jakmides had long established this as one of the first major goals for the young corps. In two previous trips to DCI Championship week, the corps had placed 35th in their first appearance in 1977, and then 28th the following year. But following their inactive season of 1979, the 1980 corps tumbled back to 38th.
Like getting to any Super Bowl, you have to win to get there. The Bluecoats were proving their mettle in this 1981 season, having taking their 4th state VFW Championship title in five years, no easy feat when there were drum corps all over the state of Ohio to challenge. For the first time in corps history, they made the night show of a major day-night prelims & finals contest — this one across the state in Toledo. They would do this again for DCI North in Ypsilanti. And with a major gathering of corps at historic Whitewater, Wisconsin, they placed 25th in DCI Midwest prelims. The crowning achievement of the season was in the Class A division at the prestigious U.S. Open in Marion, Ohio, where the corps took the championship. “Open” competition events were viewed in the late
70s and 80s as nearly equivalent to DCI Championships. Many of these Open contests pre-dated DCI’s existence by decades. In 1981, DCI had not been an organization for a decade.
When the dust settled at season’s end, the corps missed out on top 25 by six places and seven points. Despite not making that elusive goal of Top 25, the 116-person Bluecoats still went home champions, having pocketed the title in Marion, and while not a “Super Bowl” certainly would be like winning a major collegiate bowl game.