Stoops, Brown among an elite class

Mack Brown (left) and Bob Stoops have each won one national championship. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes

It is often the case that historical events aren't appreciated until they become, well, history.

Think about the invention of the telephone. Or the invention of the computer. Who would've thought at those moments in time that either device would eventually become an inseparable part of daily life for hundreds of millions of people around the world? Some things just don't seem all that grand until we're able to look back and see them in proper perspective.

The same thing happens with accomplishments in sports. Sometimes players or coaches make success seem so easy that their greatness is taken for granted in the moment.

One such example came a few years ago in college football, when Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden were battling each other for the all-time lead in coaching victories. Season after season, the race went back and forth -- both men eclipsing 380 wins -- until Bowden finally had to call it a career (and later had 12 of his wins vacated). At the time, that competition overshadowed the fact that these men had significantly separated themselves from all other coaches in major-college football history. Looking at it now, it's conceivable that we may never see another coach reach even 300 wins.

Another example is the current Red River coaching rivalry between Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners and Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns. It's perfectly understandable that these coaches may not stand out as extraordinary in a series that has previously featured sideline legends such as Barry Switzer, Darrell Royal and Bud Wilkinson, but they have quietly done something together that has occurred very rarely in college football history.