#TBT Year in Review: 1990

In the year Jennifer Lawrence was born…

85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

  • 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. 

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And here’s what happened in Movies, Music and Sports…

Movies

Comedy

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…

House Party

Action/Thriller

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…

Tremors

Drama

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…

Goodfellas

The 63rd Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • 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)

Best Actress

  • 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)

Best Picture

  • Awakenings
  • Ghost
  • The Godfather Part III
  • Goodfellas
  • Dances with Wolves – Winner

(Dances with Wolves won 7 of the 12 Oscars it was nominated for)

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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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

Sports

Baseball 

League Leaders

Offensive

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

Pitching

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

MVP

AL – Rickey Henderson (OAK)

NL – Barry Bonds (PIT)

CY Young

AL – Bob Welch (OAK)

NL – Doug Drabek (PIT)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Sandy Alomar (CLE)

NL – David Justice (ATL)

World Series

Cincinnati Reds sweep Oakland Athletics (4-0)

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four

(1) UNLV, (4) Arkansas, (3) Duke and (4) Georgia Tech

National Championship

(1) UNLV over (3) Duke 103-73

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 33.6

Rebounds Per Game: Hakeem Olajuwon (HOU) – 14.0

Assists Per Game: John Stockton (UTAH) – 14.5

All-NBA Team

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)

NBA Finals

Detroit Pistons over Portland Trailblazers (4-1)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy – Ty Detmer, BYU

National Championship

(2) Georgia Tech was awarded the National Championship after defeating Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl 45-21

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Warren Moon (HOU) – 4,689

Passing Touchdowns: Warren Moon (HOU) – 33

Passer Rating: Jim Kelly (BUF) – 101.2

Rushing Yards: Barry Sanders (DET) – 1,304

Rushing Touchdowns: Derrick Fenner (SEA) & Cleveland Gary (LA) – 14

Receiving Yards: Jerry Rice (SF) – 1,502

Receiving Touchdowns: Jerry Rice (SF) – 13

Receptions: Jerry Rice (SF) – 100

AP MVP – Joe Montana (SF)

Super Bowl XXV

New York Giants over Buffalo Bills 20-19

Hockey

League Leaders

Goals: Brett Hull (STL) – 72

Assists: Wayne Gretzky (LA) – 102

Points: Wayne Gretzky (LA) – 142

Hart Memorial Trophy – Mark Messier (EDM)

Stanley Cup

HOCKEY

Edmonton Oilers over Boston Bruins 4-1

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03 or on Facebook.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2011

2010

2007

2006

2005

1999

1998

1992

1989

1988

1987

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#TBT Year in Review: 2010

“Half a decade ago” sounds like a while ago, right? 

  • The tallest man-made structure to date, the Burj Khalifa, opened in Dubai.
  • The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada.
  • WikiLeaks leaked over 90,000 internal United States documents to the public.
  • Dennis Hopper passed away at the age of 74. 

Hopper was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actor (Hoosiers) and Best Writing (Easy Rider)

And here’s what happened in Movies, Music and Sports…

Movies

Comedy

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Easy A, Date Night, Grown Ups, Due Date, Hot Tub Time Machine, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Get Him to the Greek, Life as We Know It, Dinner for Schmucks, Flipped, Valentine’s Day, She’s Out of My League, Morning Glory, The Backup Plan, Killers, The Bounty Hunter, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Greenberg, Love & Other Drugs, Death at a Funeral, Leap Year, The Switch, Going the Distance, Super, MacGruber, AND…

The Other Guys

Action/Thriller

Shutter Island, The A-Team, The Expendables, Salt, Red, Predators, Takers, The Tourist, Machete, Green Zone, Devil, Unstoppable, The Next Three Days, Iron Man 2, Insidious, Edge of Darkness, The Losers, The American, Saw VII, 13, The Ghost Writer, Unthinkable, Buried, Piranha 3D, Repo Men, The Crazies, Monsters, The Book of Eli, Paranormal Activity 2, Knight and Day, From Paris With Love, Dylan Dog, AND…

Inception

Animated

How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Tangled, Shrek Forever After, MegaMind, Legend of the Guardians, The Illusionist, Arrietty, Alpha and Omega, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Yogi Bear, AND…

Toy Story 3

Dramas

Black Swan, The Social Network, The Fighter, Dear John, Remember Me, The Town, 127 Hours, Robin Hood, Submarine, Blue Valentine, The Kids Are All Right, All Good Things, Let Me In, True Grit, Cyrus, In A Better World, Winter’s Bone, Trust, Charlie St. Cloud, The Way Back, Animal Kingdom, Last Night, The Tempest, AND…

The King’s Speech

The 83rd Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech – Winner

Colin Firth was nominated the year before for “A Single Man”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Christian Bale, The Fighter – Winner

Christian Bale was nominated again in 2014 for “American Hustle”. 

Best Actress

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan – Winner

Natalie Portman was nominated once previously for “Closer” in 2004.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter – Winner

Melissa Leo was nominated once more in 2009 for “Frozen River”. 

Best Picture

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone
  • The King’s Speech – Winner

“The King’s Speech” won 4 of the 12 Awards it was nominated for, including Best Directing and Writing.

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Songs

01. “Tik Tok” – Ke$ha

02. “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum

03. “Hey, Soul Sister” – Train

04. “California Gurls” – Katy Perry

05. “OMG” – Usher

06. “Airplanes” – B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams

07. “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem featuring Rihanna

08. “Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga

09. “Dynamite” – Taio Cruz

10. “Break Your Heart” – Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris

11. “Nothin’ On You” – B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars

12. “I Like It” – Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull

13. “Bedrock” – Young Money featuring Lloyd

14. “In My Head” – Jason Derulo

15. “Rude Boy” – Rihanna

16. “Telephone” Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce

17. “Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry

18. “Just The Way You Are” – Bruno Mars

19. “Cooler Than me” – Mike Posner

20. “Imma Be” – Black Eyed Peas

21. “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z + Alicia Keys

22. “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” – Usher featuring Pitbull

23. “Billionaire” – Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars

24. “Not Afraid” – Eminem

25. “Replay” – Iyaz

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders

Offensive

Average: Josh Hamilton (TEX) – .359

Hits: Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) – 214

Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 54

RBI: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 126

OPS: Josh Hamilton (TEX) – 1.044

Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre (CHW) – 68

Pitching

Wins: CC Sabathia (NYY) & Roy Halladay (PHI) – 21

ERA: Felix Hernandez (SEA) – 2.27

Strikeouts: Jered Weaver (LAA) – 233

Complete Games: Roy Halladay (PHI) – 9

Shutouts: Roy Halladay (PHI) – 4

Saves: Brian Wilson (SF) – 48

MVP

AL – Josh Hamilton (TEX)

NL – Joey Votto (CIN)

CY Young

AL – Felix Hernandez (SEA)

NL – Roy Halladay (PHI)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Neftali Feliz (TEX)

NL – Buster Posey (SF)

World Series

San Francisco Giants over Texas Rangers (4-1)

Basketball

NCAA

(1)Duke, (5)Michigan State, (2)West Virginia, (5)Butler

National Championship

(1) Duke over (5) Butler 61-59

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Kevin Durants (OKC) – 30.1

Rebounds Per Game: Dwight Howard (ORL) – 13.2

Assists Per Game: Steve Nash (PHX) – 11.0

All-NBA Team

Kobe Bryant (LAL)

Kevin Durant (OKC)

Dwight Howard (ORL)

LeBron James (CLE)

Dwyane Wade (MIA)

MVP – LeBron James (CLE)

Rookie of the Year – Tyreke Evans (SAC)

NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics (4-3)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy – Cam Newton, Auburn

National Championship

(1)Auburn over (2)Oregon 22-19 in BCS Championship

NFL 

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Phillip Rivers (SD) – 4,710

Passing Touchdowns: Tom Brady (NE) – 36

Passer Rating: Tom Brady (NE) – 111.0

Rushing Yards: Arian Foster (HOU) – 1,616

Rushing Touchdowns: Arian Foster (HOU) – 16

Receiving Yards: Brandon Lloyd (DEN) – 1,448

Receiving Touchdowns: Dwayne Bowe (KC) – 15

Receptions: Roddy White (ATL) – 115

AP MVP: Tom Brady (NE)

Super Bowl XLV

Green Bay Packers over Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25

Hockey

League Leaders

Goals: Sidney Crosby (PIT) & Steven Stamkos (TB) – 51

Assists: Henrik Sedin (VAN) – 83

Points: Henrik Sedin (VAN – 112

Hart Memorial Trophy: Henrik Sedin (VAN)

Stanley Cup

Chicago Blackhawks over Philadelphia Flyers 4-2

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2011

2007

2006

2005

1999

1998

1992

1989

1988

1987

Are the Blackhawks the Best Organization in Sports Right Now?

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?

Denis Savard

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.

Jonathan Toews

You can let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03

Welcome to the Party, Blackhawks Bandwagon

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.

Blackhawks Celebrity Fans vs. Hulk Hogan

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).

And now Emilio’s watch (and relevance) has ended.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 2.26.52 PM

“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.

1. CM Punk

CM Punk Blackhawks

The “Straight Edge Superstar”, former World Heavyweight/WWE Champion, and UFC Fighter is a longtime committed Blackhawks fan and favorite among “shoot the puck” contestants. In the wake of Tampa’s “No Blackhawks jerseys in certain sections” announcement, Punk took to Twitter to let the Lightning know he’s coming.

Since Hogan will be there, can we get an Intermission “Hardcore Rules” Match please?

2. Mr. T.

(Love the little shot at Belushi from Susannah Collins)

Coincidentally, both Mr. T and Hogan starred in Rocky III together as Clubber Lang and Thunderlips. They also tag teamed on Saturday Night Live and WrestleMania II

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 4.11.57 PM

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

Michael Jordan Bhawks

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.

You may remember Hollywood Hogan tag-teaming with Dennis Rodman for a WCW pay per view against Karl Malone and Diamond Dallas Page, but how about that MTV Celebrity Deathmatch when MJ took on Rodman (where Claymation Jordan said he was thinking about joining the NHL)?…You’re next, Claymation Hogan.

4. Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn bhawks

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 Detective will 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

Cubs Blackhawks

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.

If their schedules permit it, I’d love to see players from both clubs (as well as the Bears and Bulls) along the glass when the Blackhawks play at home. If Paul Pierce can do it, anybody can.

Honorable mention…

Charles Barkley Hawks

…Because he’s Charles Barkley.

Who are some other Chicago celebrities that you’d like to see wearing Blackhawks jerseys during the Stanley Cup Final? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

#TBT Year In Review: 1987

A new tradition on MichaelPiff.com…

We’ll be reviewing a different year each week #TBT…or Throwback Thursday…and we’ll do so by looking over what happened in the worlds of Movies, Music, and Sports!

For fun, we’ll start with 1987…my birth year.

Take a look and feel free to add on in case something was overlooked.

Movies

Action

RoboCop, The Untouchables, Lethal Weapon. Running Man, Beverly Hills Cop II, Over The Top, Adventures in Babysitting, The Living Daylights (James Bond) and…

Predator

Comedy  

Good Morning, Vietnam, Spaceballs, Plains, Trains and Automobiles, Dragnet, Overboard, Three Men and A Baby, Roxanne, Summer School, The Secret of My Success, and…

The Princess Bride

Horror 

Hellraiser, The Lost Boys, The Witches of Eastwick, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Jaws: The Revenge, and…

Evil Dead II

Also…

Wall Street, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Dirty Dancing, Full Metal Jacket, Fatal Attraction, La Bamba, The Last Emperor

The 60th Oscars Nominees/Winners

 Best Picture

            Broadcast News

            Fatal Attraction

            Hope and Glory

            Moonstruck

            The Last Emperor – Winner

             

Best Actor

            William Hurt, Broadcast News

            Jack Nicholson, Ironweed

            Marcello Mastroianni, Dark Eyes

            Robin Williams, Good Morning, Vietnam

            Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction – Winner

  Best Actress

            Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction

            Holly Hunter, Broadcast News

            Sally Kirkland, Anna

            Meryl Streep, Ironweed

            Cher, Moonstruck – Winner

 

          

 

Best Supporting Actor

            Albert Brooks, Broadcast News

            Vincent Gardenia, Moonstruck

            Morgan Freeman, Street Smart

            Denzel Washington, Cry Freedom

Sean Connery, The Untouchables – Winner

 

Best Supporting Actress

            Norma Aleandro, Gaby: A True Story

            Anne Archer, Fatal Attraction

            Anne Ramsey, Throw Momma From The Train

            Ann Southern, The Whales of August

Olympia Dukakis, Moonstruck – Winner

Music

Rock Albums         

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 20 

  1. “Walk Like An Egyptian” – The Bengals
  2. “Alone” – Heart
  3. “Shake You Down” – Gregory Abbot
  4. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston
  5. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” – Starship
  6. “C’est La Vie” – Robbie Nevil
  7. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake
  8. “The Way It Is” – Bruce Hornsby and the Range
  9. “Shake Down” – Bob Seger
  10. “Livin’ on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi
  11. “La Bamba” – Los Lobos
  12. “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” – Wang Chung
  13. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House
  14. “Always” – Atlantic Starr
  15. “With or Without You” – U2
  16. “Looking for a New Love” – Jody Watley
  17. “Head To Toe” – Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
  18. “I Think We’re Alone Now” – Tiffany
  19. “Mony Mony” – Billy Idol
  20. “At This Moment” – Billy Vera And the Beaters

Sports

Baseball

Offensive Leaders:

Average: Tony Gwynn (SD)  –  .370

Hits: Tony Gwynn (SD) – 218

Home Runs: Mark McGwire (OAK) & Andre Dawson (CHC) – 49

RBIs: Andre Dawson (CHC) – 137

On-base Plus Slugging Percentage: Jack Clark (STL) – 1.055

Stolen Bases: Vince Coleman (STL) – 109

Pitching:

Wins: Roger Clemons (BOS) & Dave Stewart (OAK) – 20

ERA: Jimmy Key (TOR) – 2.76

Strikeouts: Nolan Ryan (HOU) – 270

Complete Games: Roger Clemens (BOS) – 18

Shutouts: Roger Clemens (BOS) – 7

MVP:

AL: George Bell (TOR)

NL: Andre Dawson (CHC)

CY Young:

AL: Roger Clemens (BOS)

NL: Steve Bedrosian (PHI)

Rookie of the Year:

AL: Mark McGwire (OAK)

NL: Benito Santiago (SD)

World Series: Minnesota Twins over St. Louis Cardinals (4-3)

Basketball

NCAA:

Final Four:

(1) Indiana, (2) Syracuse, (1) UNLV, and (6)Providence

National Championship:

(1) Indiana over (2) Syracuse 74-73

NBA

League Leaders:

Points Per Game: Michael Jordan – 37.1

Rebounds Per Game: Charles Barkley – 14.6 

Assists Per Game: Magic Johnson – 12.2

All-NBA Team:

Larry Bird (BOS)

Magic Johnson (LAL)

Michael Jordan (CHI)

Kevin McHale (BOS)

Hakeem Olajuwon (HOU)

MVP: Magic Johnson (LAL)

Rookie of the Year: Chuck Person (IND)

NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics (4-2)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy Winner:

Tim Brown, Notre Dame 

National Championship:

University of Miami over Oklahoma – 20-14 in the Orange Bowl 

Jimmy The U

NFL

League Leaders:

Passing Yards: Neil Lomax (STL) – 3,387

Passing Touchdowns: Joe Montana (SF) – 31

Passer Rating: Joe Montana (SF) – 102.1

Rushing Yards: Charles White (LA) – 1,374

Rushing TDs: Johnny Hector (NYJ) & Charles White (LA) – 11

Receptions: J.T. Smith (STL) – 91

Receiving Yards: J.T. Smith (STL) – 1,117

TD Receptions: Jerry Rice (SF) – 22

MVP – John Elway (DEN)

Super Bowl XXII – Washington over Denver 42-10

Super Bowl MVP – QB Doug Williams

Hockey

NHL League Leaders:

Goals: Wayne Gretzky (62)

Assists: Wayne Gretzky (121)

Points: Wayne Gretzky (183)

Hart Memorial Trophy: Wayne Gretzky

Stanley Cup:

Wayne Gretzky aka Edmonton over Philadelphia (4-3)

Gretzky Cup

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.