Our Movember Matchup series continues with a pair of legendary Chicago coaching staches.
One has a Super Bowl ring, and the other wears three Stanley Cup rings. One owns a race horse and the other has a restaurant chain, wine, and even Bloody Mary mix named after him. They both played their respective sports and neither will be paying for a meal in Chicago ever again.
The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania for the WWF Title.
Microsoft released Windows 3.0.
The Berlin Wall was destroyed, East and West Germany reunify into single Germany.
The first ever Web Page was written.
Muppets creator Jim Henson passed away at the age of 53.
And here’s what happened in Movies, Music and Sports…
Home Alone, Pretty Woman, Back to the Future Part III, My Blue Heaven, Air America, Gremlins 2, Another 48 Hours, Cry-Baby, The Freshman, Green Card, Cadillac Man, Bird on a Wire, Look Who’s Talking Too, Alice, Coupe de Ville, The Nasty Girl, Kindergarten Cop, Mermaids, Men at Work, Three Men and a Little Lady, AND…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Total Recall, Die Hard 2, Darkman, Dick Tracy, Hard To Kill, Captain America, Predator 2, RoboCop 2, Marked For Death, Days of Thunder, Death Warrant, Rocky V, Quigley Down Under, Revenge, Peacemaker, Young Guns II, The Ambulance, The Rookie, It AND…
Dances With Wolves, Edward Scissorhands, The Godfather Part III, Ghost, Miller’s Crossing, Awakenings, Misery, The Hunt For Red October, Presumed Innocent, The Krays, State of Grace, Lord of the Flies, Memphis Belle, King of New York, Avalon, Reversal of Fortunes, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, Life Is Sweet, Henry & June, Havana, AND…
The 63rd Academy Awards
Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves
Robert De Niro, Awakenings
Gerard DePardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac
Richard Harris, The Field
Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune – Winner
(Reversal of Fortune was the only time Jeremy Irons was nominated for an Oscar)
Best Supporting Actor
Andy Garcia, The Godfather Part III
Graham Greene, Dances with Wolves
Al Pacino, Dick Tracy
Bruce Davison, Longtime Companion
Joe Pesci, Goodfellas – Winner
(Joe Pesci was nominated once more in 1980 for Raging Bull)
Anjelica Huston, The Grifters
Julia Roberts, Working Girl
Meryl Streep, Postcards From the Edge
Joanne Woodward, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
Kathy Bates, Misery – Winner
(Kathy Bates was nominated twice more for Primary Colors and About Schmidt )
Best Supporting Actress
Annette Bening, The Grifters
Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas
Diane Ladd, Wild at Heart
Mary McDonnell, Dances with Wolves
Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost – Winner
(Whoopi Goldberg was nominated once before in 1985 for The Color Purple)
The Godfather Part III
Dances with Wolves – Winner
(Dances with Wolves won 7 of the 12 Oscars it was nominated for)
Hip Hop Albums
Billboard Year-End Top 25 Songs
01. “Hold On” – Wilson Phillips
02. “It Must Have Been Love” – Roxette
03. “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinead O’Connor
04. “Poison” – Bell Biv DeVoe
05. “Vogue” – Madonna
06. “Vision of Love” – Mariah Carey
07. “Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Collins
08. “Hold On” – En Vogue
09. “Cradle of Love” – Billy Idol
10. “Blaze of Glory” – Jon Bon Jovi
11. “Do Me!” – Bell Biv DeVoe
12. “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” – Michael Bolton
13. “Pump Up the Jam” – Technotronic
14. “Opposites Attract” – Paula Abdul and The Wild Pair
15. “Escapade” – Janet Jackson
16. “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” – Heart
17. “Close to You” – Maxi Priest
18. “Black Velvet” – Alannah Myles
19. “Release Me” – Wilson Phillips
20. “Don’t Know Much” – Linda Ronstadt
21. “All Around the World” – Lisa Stansfield
22. “I Wanna Be Rich” – Calloway
23. “Rub You the Right Way” – Johnny Gill
24. “She Ain’t Worth It” – Glenn Medeiros and Bobby Brown
25. “If Wishes Came True” – Sweet Sensation
Average: Eddie Murray (LAD) – .330
Hits: Willie McGee (STL & OAK) – 199
Home Runs: Cecil Fielder (DET) – 51
RBI: Cecil Fielder (DET) – 132
OPS: Rickey Henderson (OAK) – 1.016
Stolen Bases: Vince Coleman (STL) – 77
Wins: Bob Welch (OAK) – 27
ERA: Roger Clemens (BOS) – 1.93
Strikeouts: David Cone (NYM) – 233
Complete Games: Ramon Martinez (LAD) – 12
Shutouts: Mike Morgan (LAD), Bruce Hurst (SD), Dave Stewart (OAK) & Roger Clemens (BOS) – 4
Saves: Bobby Thigpen (CHW) – 57
AL – Rickey Henderson (OAK)
NL – Barry Bonds (PIT)
AL – Bob Welch (OAK)
NL – Doug Drabek (PIT)
Rookie of the Year
AL – Sandy Alomar (CLE)
NL – David Justice (ATL)
Cincinnati Reds sweep Oakland Athletics (4-0)
(1) UNLV, (4) Arkansas, (3) Duke and (4) Georgia Tech
(1) UNLV over (3) Duke 103-73
Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 33.6
Rebounds Per Game: Hakeem Olajuwon (HOU) – 14.0
Assists Per Game: John Stockton (UTAH) – 14.5
Charles Barkley (PHI)
Patrick Ewing (NY)
Magic Johnson (LAL)
Michael Jordan (CHI)
Karl Malone (UTAH)
MVP – Magic Johnson (LAL)
Rookie of the Year – David Robinson (SA)
Detroit Pistons over Portland Trailblazers (4-1)
Heisman Trophy – Ty Detmer, BYU
(2) Georgia Tech was awarded the National Championship after defeating Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl 45-21
The 44th President of the United States LOVES his sports. He is an unapologetic Chicago White Sox fan. He fills out March Madness brackets for both Men and Women’s tournaments on SportsCenter each year. He also has no problem mixing it up on the White House basketball court.
So on his 54th birthday, lets put the partisan blah blah blah on the back-burner and appreciate something we all enjoy…Sports.
I look forward to the President’s annual segment on ESPN where he joins the rest of the nation in the Madness. Since he was elected, President Obama is interviewed by college basketball reporter Andy Katz from the White House to talk out each of his picks. Last year he took regular season undefeated favorite Kentucky to win it all (like many of you did) over Nova, and was obviously incorrect as Duke beat Wisconsin in the National Championship.
President Obama finished in ESPN’s 72.9 percentile in 2014 and was most successful in 2011 with a bracket in the 87.4%. Both years, UConn won the National Championship and he didn’t pick them. The President did choose a National Champion for his first year in office, North Carolina in 2009.
ESPN isn’t the only network who gets to share air-time with the Commander in Chief as one of CBS’s best color analysts, Clark Kellogg, took him on in a game of HORSE…err POTUS.
I don’t even want to know what would’ve happen if the President got skunked.
He Loves His Chicago Teams
Despite referring to his White Sox’s home stadium as “Kaminskey Field” early in his first term, the President has never wavered as a Chicago die hard. When the Bulls re-signed All-Star Jimmy Butler to a longterm deal, he was on it…
(Ironic that it was Mike Ditka handing the President his jersey since he also wanted to run against him for a Senate seat in 2004)
The ’85 Bears and the Blackhawks may be the only Chicago teams that the President has hosted at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but he always seems to get a quick shoutout in for his favorite squads when he hosts other teams.
We all remember the drama surrounding Red Sox DH David Ortiz’s selfie with the President and the handful of athletes who make a thing out of not going to visit the White House, despite it being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (looking at you, Tim Thomas)…
The Supreme Court sided with Larry Flynt in the Hustler vs. Falwell case.
George H.W. Bush was elected President of the United States.
The first “World AIDS Day” was held on December 1st.
The NBA’s youngest MVP, Derrick Rose, was born.
And here’s what else happened in Movies, Music, and Sports…
Beetlejuice, Big, A Fish Called Wanda, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad, The Great Outdoors, Bull Durham, Hairspray, Heathers, Working Girl, Midnight Run, Punchline, Twins, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Earth Girls are Easy, My Stepmother is an Alien, Mystic Pizza, Scrooged, Crocodile Dundee II, Big Top Pee-Wee, She’s Having a Baby, Short Circuit 2, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, AND…
Coming to America
Young Guns, Rambo III, Child’s Play, They Live, Frantic, The Dead Pool, Red Heat, Dead Ringers, The Vanishing, Action Jackson, Off Limits, D.O.A., Tequila Sunrise, Spellbinder, Halloween 4, Shoot to Kill, Shakedown, The Bourne Identity, Friday the 13th VII, Maniac Cop, The Presidio, Bloodsport AND…
Cocktail, Willow, The Accused, Dangerous Liaisons, Beaches, The Last Temptation of Christ, Evil Angels, The Accidental Tourist, Mississippi Burning, Dead Solid Perfect, Eight Men Out, And God Created Woman, Another Woman, Patty Hearst, Betrayed, Bright Lights Big City, Torch Song Trilogy, Stealing Home, The Moderns, Sweethearts Dance, Cocoon: The Return, A Summer Story, Running on Empty, Bird, Stand and Deliver, Colors, Gorillas in the Mist, AND…
The 61st Academy Awards
Gene Hackman, Mississippi Burning
Tom Hanks, Big
Edward James Olmos, Stand and Deliver
Max von Sydow, Pelle the Conquerer
Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man – Winner
It was Dustin Hoffman’s second Oscars win after Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980 out of 7 nominations.
Best Supporting Actor
Alec Guinness, Little Dorrit
Martin Landau, Tucker The Man and His Dream
River Phoenix, Running on Empty
Dean Stockwell, Married to the Mob
Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda – Winner
Kline is 1-for-1 at the Oscars
Glenn Close, Dangerous Liaisons
Melanie Griffith, Working Girl
Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark
Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas in the Mist
Jodie Foster, The Accused – Winner
Of 4 nominations, this was Jodie Fosters first of 2 Oscar wins.
Best Supporting Actress
Joan Cusack, Working Girl
Frances McDormand, Mississippi Burning
Michelle Pfeiffer, Dangerous Liaisons
Sigourney Weaver, Working Girl
Geena Davis, The Accidental Tourist – Winner
Geena Davis has won 1 out of 2 nominations, the second for Thelma and Louise.
The Accidental Tourist
Rain Man – Winner
Rain Man won 4 of the 8 Academy Awards it was nominated for, including Best Director and Best Writing.
Hip Hop Albums
Billboard Year-End Top 25
01. “Faith” – George Michael
02. “Need You Tonight” – INXS
03. “Got My Mind Set On You” – George Harrison
04. “Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley
05. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
06. “So Emotional” – Whitney Houston
07. “Heaven is a Place on Earth” – Belinda Carlisle
08. “Could’ve Been” – Tiffany
09. “Hands to Heaven” – Breathe
10. “Roll with It” – Steve Winwood
11. “One More Try” – George Michael
12. “Wishing Well” – Terrence Trent D’Arby
13. “Anything For You” – Gloria Estefan
14. “The Flame” – Cheap Trick
15. “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” – Billy Ocean
16. “Seasons Change” – Expose
17. “Is This Love” – Whitesnake
18. “Wild, Wild West” – The Escape Club
19. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Lepard
20. “I’ll Always Love You” – Taylor Dayne
21. “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson
22. “Shake Your Love” – Debbie Gibson
23. “Simply Irresistible” – Robert Palmer
24. “Hold On To The Nights” – Richard Marx
25. “Hungry Eyes” – Eric Carmen
Average: Wade Boggs (BOS) – .366
Hits: Kirby Pucket (MIN) – 234
Home Runs: Jose Canseco (OAK) – 42
RBI: Jose Canseco (OAK) – 124
OPS: Wade Boggs (BOS) – .965
Stolen Bases: Rickey Henderson (NYY) – 93
Wins: Frank Viola (MIN) – 24
ERA: Joe Magrane (STL) – 2.18
Strikeouts: Roger Clemens (BOS) – 291
Complete Games: Danny Jackson (CIN) & Orel Hershiser (LAD) – 15
Shutouts: Orel Hershiser (LAD) & Roger Clemens (BOS) – 8
Saves: Dennis Eckersley (OAK) – 45
AL – Jose Canseco (OAK)
NL – Kirk Gibson (LAD)
AL – Frank Viola (MIN)
NL – Orel Hershiser (LAD)
Rookie of the Year
AL – Walt Weiss (OAK)
NL – Chris Sabo (CIN)
Los Angeles Dodgers over Oakland Athletics (4-1)
(1) Oklahoma, (1) Arizona, (2) Duke and (6) Kansas
(6) Kansas over (1) Oklahoma 83-79
Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 35.0
Rebounds Per Game: Michael Cage (LAC) – 13.0
Assists Per Game: John Stockton (UTAH) – 13.8
Charles Barkley (PHI)
Larry Bird (BOS)
Magic Johnson (LAL)
Michael Jordan (CHI)
Hakeem Olajuwon (HOU)
MVP – Michael Jordan (CHI)
Rookie of the Year – Mark Jackson (NY)
Los Angeles Lakers over Detroit Pistons (4-3)
Heisman Trophy: Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State)
Notre Dame over West Virginia 34-21 in the Fiesta Bowl
As we waited to see what would happen when Y2K hit…
The Sopranos debuted on HBO.
President Bill Clinton was acquitted in impeachment proceedings.
Sega Dreamcast was released in North America,
George Harrison was attacked at his home in Friar Park.
Wilt Chamberlain passed away at the age of 63.
And here’s what happened in the worlds of Movies, Music, and Sports…
American Pie, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, 10 Things I Hate About You, Notting Hill, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Being John Malkovich, She’s All That, Big Daddy, Galaxy Quest, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, Never Been Kissed, Dogma, Stuart Little, Blue Streak, Analyze This, Jawbreaker, Bowfinger, Dick, Idle Hands, Mystery Men, Life, Drive Me Crazy, EDtv, Detroit Rock City, The Bachelor, Superstar, AND…
The Sixth Sense, The Matrix, Three Kings, The Boondock Saints, End of Days, Deep Blue Sea, The Insider, Universal Soldier: The Return, A Murder of Crows, 8mm, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Double Jeopardy, Instinct, The Bone Collector, The World is Not Enough, The Ninth Gate, Arlington Road, Chill Factor, True Crime, Payback, Resurrection, Stigmata, The Mod Squad, Entrapment, The Astronaut’s Wife, The Rage: Carrie 2, AND…
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Fight Club, American Beauty, Eyes Wide Shut, Bicentennial Man, Boys Don’t Cry, Anna and the King, Girl Interrupted, Animal Farm, 200 Cigarettes, The Virgin Suicides, October Sky, Great Expectations, Onegin, Flawless, The Hurricane, Brokedown Palace, Magnolia, Cruel Intentions, Random Hearts, All About My Mother, The Winslow Boy, Varsity Blues, The Cider House Rules, The Deep End of the Ocean, Tuesdays with Morrie, Black and White, AND…
The Green Mile
The 72nd Academy Awards
Russell Crowe, The Insider
Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story
Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown
Denzel Washington, The Hurricane
Kevin Spacey, American Beauty – Winner
(Spacey’s 2nd Oscar. First was Best Supporting Actor in 1996 for The Usual Suspects)
Best Supporting Actor
Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile
Jude Law, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense
Tom Cruise, Magnolia
Michael Caine, The Cider House Rules – Winner
(Caine’s 2nd win out of 6 nominations.)
Annette Benning, American Beauty
Janet McTeer, Tumbleweeds
Julianne Moore, The End of the Affair
Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart
Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry – Winner
(This was Swank’s first of two Oscar nominations and awards.)
Best Supporting Actress
Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense
Catherine Keener, Being John Malkovich
Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown
Chloe Sevigny, Boys Don’t Cry
Angelina Jolie, Girl Interrupted – Winner
(Jolie has also won the Humanitarian Academy Award in 2014)
The Cider House Rules
The Green Mile
The Sixth Sense
American Beauty – Winner
(American Beauty won 5 of the 8 Oscars it was nominated for.)
Hip Hop Albums
Billboard Year-End Top 25
01. “Believe” – Cher
02. “No Scrubs” – TLC
03. “Angel of Mine” – Monica
04. “Heartbreak Hotel” – Whitney Houston featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price
05. “…Baby One More Time” – Britney Spears
06. “Kiss Me” – Sixpence None the Richer
07. “Genie in a Bottle” – Christina Aguilera
08. “Every Morning” – Sugar Ray
09. “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” – Deborah Cox
10. “Livin’ la Vida Loca” – Ricky Martin
11. “Where My Girls At?” – 702
12. “If You Had My Love” – Jennifer Lopez
13. “Slide” – Goo Goo Dolls
14. “Have You Ever?” – Brandy
15. “I Want It That Way” – Backstreet Boys
16. “I’m Your Angel” – Celine Dion and R. Kelly
17. “All Star” – Smash Mouth
18. “Angel” – Sarah McLachlan
19. “Smooth” – Santana featuring Rob Thomas
20. “Unpretty” – TLC
21. “Bills, Bills, Bills” – Destiny’s Child
22. “Save Tonight” – Eagle-Eye Cherry
23. “Last Kiss” – Pearl Jam
24. “Fortunate” – Maxwell
25. “All I Have to Give” – Backstreet Boys
Average: Larry Walker (COL) – .379
Hits: Derek Jeter (NYY) – 219
Home Runs: Mark McGwire (STL) – 65
RBI: Manny Ramirez (CLE) – 165
OPS: Larry Walker (COL) – 1.168
Stolen Bases: Tony Womack (AZ)
Wins: Pedro Martinez (BOS) – 23
ERA: Pedro Martinez (BOS) – 2.07
Strikeouts: Randy Johnson (AZ) – 364
Complete Games: Randy Johnson (AZ) – 12
Shutouts: Scott Erickson (BAL) & Andy Ashby (SD) – 3
Saves: Mariano Rivera (NYY) – 45
AL – Ivan Rodriguez (TEX)
NL – Chipper Jones (ATL)
AL – Pedro Martinez (BOS)
NL – Randy Johnson (AZ)
Rookie of the Year
AL – Carlos Beltran (KC)
NL – Scott Williamson (CIN)
New York Yankees sweep Atlanta Braves (4-0)
(1) Duke, (1) Michigan State, (4) Ohio State and (1) UConn
(1) UConn over (1) Duke 77-74
Points Per Game: Allen Iverson (PHI) – 26.8
Rebounds Per Game: Chris Webber (SAC) – 13.0
Assists Per Game: Jason Kidd (PHX) – 10.8
Tim Duncan (SA)
Allen Iverson (PHI)
Jason Kidd (PHX)
Karl Malone (UTAH)
Alonzo Mourning (MIA)
MVP – Karl Malone (UTAH)
Rookie of the Year – Vince Carter (TOR)
San Antonio Spurs over New York Knicks (4-1)
Ron Dayne (Wisconsin)
(1) Florida State over (2) Virginia Tech 46-29 in the Sugar Bowl
Watergate whistleblower “Deep Throat” was revealed to be former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.
Pope John Paul II passed away, Pope Benedict XVI succeeded him.
YouTube is launched. First video is uploaded April 23rd at 8:27 PM ET.
“Live 8”, 10 simultaneous concerts around the world, took place featuring more than 1,000 artists broadcasted on 182 TV networks and 2,000 radio stations.
Actor John Spencer passed away at the age of 58.
And here’s what we saw from the world’s of Movies, Music, and Sports
The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Hitch, The Longest Yard, The Pacifier, Bewitched, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fun with Dick and Jane, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Fever Pitch, Waiting, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Just Like Heaven, Guess Who, The Duke’s of Hazzard, The Man, The Ringer, Kicking and Screaming, Rumor Has It, A Lot Like Love, Be Cool, and…
Thank You For Smoking
(starring Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s doppleganger)
Batman Begins, Lord of War, Harsh Times, Saw II, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Island, Hostage, V for Vendetta, Flightplan, The Interpreter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chaos, Doom, Red Eye, The Descent, Into the Blue, Assault on Precinct 13, War of the Worlds, Hostel, The Cave, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Four Brothers, Transporter 2, Serenity, Elektra, Stay, Hide and Seek, Hard Candy, The Skeleton Key, The Devil’s Rejects, Domino, House of Wax, Revolver, and…
(wish the sequel was better)
Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, North Country, Kingdom of Heaven, Pride and Prejudice, The New World, Capote, The Constant Gardner, A History of Violence, The Family Stone, Coach Carter, Proof, Derailed, Cinderella Man, Elvis, Munich, The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio, Green Street Hooligans, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Squid and the Whale, The Jacket, An Unfinished Life, The Proposition, Syriana, Archangel, Lords of Dogtown, Jarhead, and…
Good Night and Good Luck
And the Oscar goes to…
The 78th Academy Awards
Terrance Howard, Hustle and Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote – Winner
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt, A History of Violence
George Clooney, Syriana- Winner
(Clooney was also nominated twice more that night for Directing and Writing Good Night and Good Luck)
Judie Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Keira Knightly, Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron, North Country
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line – Winner
Best Supporting Actress
Frances McDormand, North Country
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener – Winner
Good Night and Good Luck
Crash – Winner
(Also won Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing)
Hip Hop Albums
Billboard Year-End Top 25
01. “We Belong Together” – Mariah Carey
02. “Hollaback Girl” – Gwen Stefani
03. “Let Me Love You” – Mario
04. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
05. “1, 2 Step” – Ciara and Missy Elliott
06. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
07. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Green Day
08. “Candy Shop” – 50 Cent
09. “Don’t Cha” – The Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes
Following their 3rd Stanley Cup victory in six years, the Chicago Blackhawks are basking in the glow that is Chicago in HawksMania. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and the rest of the 2014-15 roster are even bigger than Oprah (yeah I said it) through the eyes of their fans, and I don’t blame them. The Cup itself has such celebrity status, that bars are filled to mass capacity, simply based on speculation that it will be making its way through each establishment.
Speaking of Chicago Celebrities, as I watched the Comcast SportsNet Chicago livestream of the Blackhawks parade and rally yesterday, I saw host Pat Boyle discussing the team with MMA fighter/Former WWE wrestler CM Punk. Punk gets onto the topic of bandwagon fans and recalls a time when the Blackhawks were the worst organization in professional sports. He then follows his thought up by calling the Blackhawks the best organization in sports right now, and there is no rebuttal from the panel. So I wondered…Are they?
Punk wasn’t wrong about how low the Blackhawks organization had been. In 2004, ESPN had the Blackhawks ranked as the worst organization in North American Sports. Former owner Bill Wirtz had blacked out home games, stating that it was “unfair to season ticket-holders to give away the home games on TV for free”, according to Chicago Bulls & White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. During the 2003-04 season, the average attendance at the United Center 13,253…This year, the Blackhawks led the NHL in attendance for the 7th consecutive time with a 21,769 average.
Current owner Rocky Wirtz changed the direction and business model immediately. Team president and CEO John McDonough turned the team into a marketing goldmine. The “ONE GOAL” campaign that was introduced before the 2009-10 season has been imitated not only by teams in the NHL, but in other league’s as well, like the Brooklyn Nets. The organization invited back its legends as ambassadors like Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, whom were shunned by the previous ownership. While many of the team’s core was brought in by Dale Tallon, they went outside the franchise for a winning pedigree by appointing Stan Bowman as general manager and making his father, (and legendary coach) Scotty, Senior Advisor.
The last piece of the puzzle came following a slow 1-2-1 start in the 2008 season with Blackhawks Hall of Famer Denis Savard at the helm coaching. The team had higher expectations out of the gate, so they dismissed Savard and promoted newly hired scout Joel Quenneville to head coach. Quenneville had a 438-283 record coaching the Avalalanche and Blues before joining the Blackhawks, making the transition to the bench seamless. What I’ve found to be most impressive about that situation is the relationship between the Blackhawks and Savard immediately after. The organization named Savard an ambassador and he had no problem with it. It’s unbelievably cool to see him graciously pass the baton and still be a part of what has grown into a dynasty. How often do you see a former head coach have that with the team that removed him?
Three championships in six years with a salary cap is more than qualifying for a dynasty. While he isn’t credited with bringing Kane, Toews, Sharp, Keith, or Seabrook to the organization, Bowman has done a masterful job (yes, masterful) at handling the turnover of the roster following each championship. When forced to choose between matching an offer sheet from the San Jose Sharks for Niklas Hjalmarrson or parting ways and re-signing goalie Antti Niemi. The decision to go with Hjalmarrson has worked out given his exceptional defensive play, 2 more championships, and none won by Niemi’s Sharks. More recently, the additions of center Brad Richards before the season, as well as Antoine Vermette and Andrew Desjardins at the trade deadline, proved even more so that Bowman is capable of arming his squad for a playoff run. All three were key in winning the Cup.
The Blackhawks will be faced with more turnover this summer, given the lowering of the league’s salary cap, but now Chicago has become a destination for veterans who want to win. Players who have made plenty over the course of their careers are more inclined to take pay cuts if the odds of having their names engraved on the Cup are in their favor. Great organizations have that benefit. So who else is in the conversation?
The most comparable organization, based on championships during the same timeline, are the San Francisco Giants. They too have won three titles in the last six years, with World Series wins in 2010, 2012, and 2014. In contrast to the other major sports leagues, MLB has no salary cap. While teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees boast payrolls over $200 million, the Giants operate with salaries totaling in just above $170 million. Not necessarily a huge difference, as they ranked 7th in highest payroll the last time they won a championship, but still $100 million less than their division rival’s $272 million in LA. Their star talent is mostly homegrown with Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum being their Toews, Kane, Sharp and Lincecum.
Like Quenneville, Giants manager Bruce Bochy took over with prior success, having won a pennant with the San Diego Padres. He also followed a former player in the organization, Felipe Alou. The Giants have also ranked in MLB’s top 4 for attendance for each of the last 5 years.
The other team that you can consider to be similar would be the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve won 3 championships in the last 10 years, 5 in the last 15 with Gregg Popovich as head coach. The Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots have certainly found a recipe for success having won 11 of the last 12 AFC East titles and 4 Super Bowls. However, it would be difficult to say the Patriots are very popular or well respected at the moment...but that’s just, like, your opinion, man.
At this moment, the Blackhawks seem to have found the formula. More than 2 million fans reportedly showed up for the parade and rally yesterday, wearing hockey sweaters in humid temperatures. They turned Soldier Field into the Red Sea to celebrate their third title, while introducing many of the same names and faces from the first title in 2010. Are they the best organization in sports right now? You tell me.
Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to survive and force a Game 7, in hopes of winning their first Cup since 2004. The Blackhawks have an opportunity to win their 3rd championship in six years and their 6th in franchise history. It could also be the first time since 1938 that they clinch on their home ice.
Since Joel Quenneville took over in 2008, the Blackhawks are 9-0 in Game 6 with a chance to clinch a playoff series. The city of Chicago is bracing itself for the potential celebratory eruption and the brink of a hockey dynasty. It’s a party and a pretty damn fun one at that! Now the invite should be open to all who are interested as well.
For years, a segment of Blackhawks have worn the badge of honor for being longtime fans. They were the ones who vividly remember the soul crushing sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1992 Final series and remained fans since. There were kids like me who actually got made fun of in grade school for being fans of an organization that was a consistent loser for a decade (only one season with a record over .500 from 1996-2007). There are those of us who hopped on the Metra after class to pickup “student discount” tickets at the gate, when the United Center never sold out. Sitting in the lower bowl was maybe a third of the face value price it is now, and you could easily find Patrick Kane’s family members…because they’d let you know who they are.
The first Blackhawks Stanley Cup in the Quenneville/Jonathan Toews & Kane era felt almost exclusively for those fans. They had to root for teams that were led by Doug Gilmour (Captain in 1999-2000), Tony Amonte (2000-02), Alex Zhamnov (2002-04), Adrian Aucoin and Martin LaPointe (2005-07) with a combined 210-265 record and a lockout from 2004-2005. They had to bare witness to an all-timer in Chris Chelios joining the bitter rival in Detroit, winning Stanley Cups as a Red Wing. Those fans were graced with epic rants from Hall of Fame broadcaster Pat Foley, including a famous one about Alexander Karpovtsev. They also couldn’t watch home games on television for an unfortunate period of time, as instituted by former owner Bill Wirtz. It wasn’t easy being a fan during that stretch.
I remember a game that ESPN 1000 WMVP’s “Waddle & Silvy” Show used to play where an intern would go to the old Blackhawks Store and you had to guess how many customers were present. The number was rarely in the double-digits. Then the changing of the guard happened with Bill’s son Rocky Wirtz taking over ownership and former Chicago Cubs executive John McDonaugh being named team President and CEO. McDonaugh knew how to market a team in Chicago and Rocky knew how to let him do his thing. The season ticketholder base increased from 3,400 to over 14,000 and the organization led the NHL in attendance for seven consecutive seasons. Those results can be attributed to winning as well as a business department doing its job very well.
Ever since that first Stanley Cup, the city and surrounding suburbs have been draped in Blackhawks red and white. You’ll find people wearing their heavy hockey sweater jerseys in 90 degree weather. I’ll never forget attending the Blackhawks convention in the summer of 2011 with my friend and longtime fan Brad Wenzel, and any Q&A featuring Toews, Kane, Patrick Sharp or Duncan Keith felt like a Backstreet Boys concert with screaming fans. Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune also has a cool, well-researched piece on the demographic growth of Blackhawks fans and how African-American fans have the highest rate among NHL fans at 1.4 times the overall rate.
Growth of any kind for any team and any sport is a good thing. Now that the Blackhawks are looking at the prospects of a 3rd Cup and a possible 3rd parade ending at Grant Park, the door should be wide open to all walks of life new to the party. The team benefits from the revenue, the league benefits from the ratings, and the hardcore fan benefits from a better product thanks to the former two.
Chicago is no stranger to the bandwagon/front-runner element. It was a Bulls town while Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were reeling off two 3-peats of Championships in the 90’s, and that quickly changed when now-Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was a member of the roster. The Northside of town was electric as the Cubs were this close to going to the World Series in 2003. Actor John Cusack famously flipped allegiances as the White Sox won the 2005 World Series. Now the Blackhawks are the hot item and deservedly so.
Rather than play the part of someone who says “I liked this band before everyone else did”, old-time hockey fans should be excited that their team is bringing people together across the state. They aren’t solving serious problems in Chicago, but the Blackhawks are an excellent distraction to share. It’s easy to get annoyed when a new fan sounds like they don’t know what they’re talking about, so politely educate them on your sport instead.
There is a flip-side to the coin though. If you are a new fan when the team is winning, don’t go hiding when things go the other way. Given the salary cap issues going into next season, there will be a number of changes to this Blackhawks roster, similar to those made after the 2009-10 Stanley Cup. However, if general manager Stan Bowman has proven anything, he can get a team back to the Stanley Cup Final…with Toews and Kane on the ice.
So HAVE FUN Blackhawks fans, old and new! Cheer on your team together and please don’t flip my car if they win tonight.
After both teams shook hands and the lights went dim at the Honda Center following the Western Conference Finals Game 7, Anaheim Ducks Super Fan/Crazy Person Emilio Estevez went eerily quiet on Twitter. All week, Estevez took to social media to channel a drunk version of his 1992 character, Coach Gordon Bombay, from ‘The Mighty Ducks’ to troll Chicago Blackhawks and act super sensitive when the tables were turned on him (he blocked me). The day after, Estevez did what all celebrities do after acting a fool on Twitter…claimed he was hacked (sarcastically).
This week, the coach from The Mighty Ducks movies broke into my home and took over my Twitter acct. I had him arrested. #orderrestored
Picking up the flag for Blackhawks antagonists, and ripping his tank top off in the process, is 12-time Champion of the World and apparent Tampa Bay Lightning die hard, Hulk Hogan.
“Chicago’s in a whole bunch of trouble,” said Hogan at an ESPN Special Olympics event yesterday. He also noted that the Lightning are undefeated when his daughter, Brooke, sings the National Anthem…
As I type that last bit, I start to wonder if this is really just plea to the Lightning to have his daughter sing in the Stanley Cup Final, but Hulkamania is “Running Wild” in Tampa regardless. While I would be more than okay with Hogan planting a running leg drop on Chicago’s worst celebrity ever, Jim Belushi, I have a few high profile fans in mind that I’d love to throw in the ring with him…rocking the Indian Head sweater.
Coincidentally, both Mr. T and Hogan starred in Rocky III together as Clubber Lang and Thunderlips. They also tag teamed on Saturday Night Liveand WrestleMania II…
but don’t be surprised to see the Lake Forest, IL resident lace’em up when the series makes it’s way back to the United Center. Anytime you’re asked to make a prediction on this series (or anything ever) the answer should be “PAIN!”
3. Michael Jordan
Is there a bigger name synonymous with Chicago? That question was rhetorical…His uniform and the Bulls championship banners he earned hang in the same arena that the Blackhawks skate in, but even Michael Jordan is a fan of a team on the verge of “dynasty” status. A photo of Jordan wearing his Blackhawks jersey was making the rounds before Game 7 against the Ducks the other night, and articles sillier than this one did as well. You can bet #23 will be doing it again during the Stanley Cup Final.
I was a little reluctant to post this, given Vince Vaughn’s recent comments that turned him into a polarizing political figure…but the guy has been at the games and was doing so when nobody was. Way more than Jim Belushi. And you get the feeling that his role in the upcoming season ofTrue Detectivewill make him appear to be someone you want on your side. He seemed to still be in character while lurking from his suite earlier in the Ducks series.
“Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion”, Vince.
5. Chicago Baseball
One of my favorite things to see are teams in the same city supporting each other. Despite manager Joe Maddon claiming he’s Switzerland in this series (since he managed in Tampa Bay for so long), the Chicago Cubs are in full Blackhawks mode…I couldn’t let the White Sox go unrecognized though as players like Adam Eaton have been showing their love all season long.
The early reviews are in on ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and it sounds like every synonym that applies to “epic”. The post-apocalyptic franchise returns after the last film hit theaters 30 years ago with a new leading man (the VERY MAD Tom Hardy) and a setting that gives zero F-words to the original timeline. However, it’s directed by George Miller, who created this mad world, so any worry of integrity and fears of Hollywood reboots can be set aside.
In the REAL WORLD, our professional sports universe is filled with all walks of life. Good guys, bad guys, heroes, cheaters…gentlemen & ladies, scumbags and…I don’t even know.
Here, we are going to focus on the CRAZIES in pro sports. Not necessarily the guys you would qualify as “bad guys”, but more of the unhinged, whacky, screw-loose variety…And Monty Williams.
Just one home run away from the 400 club, a 4-time All-Star, an MVP runner-up in 2004, stats comparable to Dave Parker, Al Kaline, and Eddie Murray (according to Baseball Reference)…Adrian Beltre is all of these, but he’s also a ticking time bomb. It’s been thoroughly documented on that Beltre hates when people touch his head, yet his teammates and opponents continue to do it. If you ask me, he is one Elvis Andrus prank away form yelling “BELTRE SMASH!”
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper is a hot item these days and likely will be for quite a while. He made it into our Mad Men of MLB list a month ago, but the home run “hair flip” keeps the momentum going. Not only is he hitting out of his mind (12 HRs, 31 RBIs, 1.119 OPS in 35 games), he’s challenging umpires to Thunderdome too…Okay not exactly, but bat flips and hair flips will get it done.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell. Is. Crazy.…And he’s crazy good. Had his team made the playoffs, Westbrook could and probably should have been the NBA’s MVP this season. He earned the NBA’s scoring title by averaging 28.1 points per game, recorded 11 triple-doubles, yet none of it mattered to him…
On top of the accolades and establishing himself as not the Robin to Kevin Durant’s “Batman” (he’s more Superman, or a second Batman), he has no regard for his own safety…and it’s entertaining as hell.
“Cousins’ lack of maturity and mental focus is evident in his negative body language and lack of composure … He tends to lose his head, looking disinterested or frustrated if things don’t go his way. Also does not appear receptive to coaching, tuning out his coaches when they attempt to give him advice on the bench …”
Since then, the 5th overall pick has averaged a double-double with 18.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, was named an NBA All-Star this past season, and was a member of last summer’s FIBA Champion Team USA squad….and he’ll also be the “Blaster” to any of his teammates’ “Master”.
…and you don’t want to get in Boogie Blaster’s way.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
When you get a FOX Sports camera basically dedicated to your every movement on the sidelines, you probably deserve a mention in this post…As the Dallas Cowboys continue the all-time worst PR roster this year, Dez Bryant remains a figure of intrigue while he accepts the team’s franchise tag. Bryant was the center of rumors that seemed to gain steam in the winter regarding a video that was said to have made Ray Rice look like a choir boy. It remained just a rumor though…Bryant hasn’t signed his tender yet but once he does, the Cowboys sidelines will remain much anticipated theater.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Martellus Bennett is a different kind of cat, to say the least…He’s not demonstrative like Bryant, but he certainly is out there. It’s very cool how in-touch he is with his creative side. He’s into animation, writing children’s stories and challenges his Twitter following to open their imaginations…That odd side doesn’t necessarily translate to the field, but more so off the field in front of the local media. When he was first introduced to Chicago after signing his current contract, he asked to be referred to as “The Black Unicorn”, the “Orange Dinosaur”, and “Martysaurus Rex”…But don’t mistake his fun and soft side as weakness, Rookies…
Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks
Really you could apply this post to EVERYONE in the NHL. Guys pull their teeth out during games just to get comfortable. Fighting is legal. Reporters on the ice get hit with pucks, bleed, and shake it off to keep doing their jobs…
In anticipation of the Western Conference Finals coming up, we’ll go with the scrappiest (and craziest) guy you’ll see on the ice, Andrew Shaw. The 5’11, 23 year-old forward isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone, anywhere…even from the bench. The fact that he sold his bloody stitches from the last Stanley Cup Finals he won for charity should be enough to qualify him as Fury Road material.
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
If the Mad Max franchise has provided anything, it’s a litany of freaks and things of the unimaginable. Fury Road sounds no different, so why not include the NHL’s most impressive circus attraction…Zdeno Chara. Chara is 6’9 without skates and carries a very heavy stick, but apparently the Slovak skater also grew up in a castle that housed history’s most infamous female serial killer. So there’s THAT the next time Chara comes barreling into you on skates.
Who else belongs in Mad Max: Fury Road? Going to see the movie this weekend? Lets talk about it on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.