Like a lot of people, I went to IC After Dark’s annual Forever Young event Friday night and I’ve got to say it really was pretty cool. There was Twister, ring toss, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and all the other food staples when I was really little, 90’s music and slide shows of all the movies and TV shows from the 1990’s. As a kid, I watched the Big Five of 90’s kids’ TV, Nickelodeon, PBS, Fox/ABC Family, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel, way more than I watched ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, WB or UPN so as an event, Forever Young really was up my alley.
But remembering all the TV shows I watched during the 90’s and early 2000’s also really got me thinking about the sports I watched at that time and all the players, teams and sports TV personalities that made me enjoy them. Here are some of the sports figures and phenomenons from the turn of the millennium that I enjoyed watching or at least complaining about.
- Hall of Fame-caliber QBs in the Super Bowl-it’s not that today’s Super Bowl quarterbacks are all that shabby either, not with Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers all having appeared in the Big Game in the past two years. But just look at some of the ones that played in the Super Bowl between 1990 and 2000: Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe, Brett Favre, John Elway. Sure there were the occasional duds like Stab Humphries and Chris Chandler. But at least we didn’t have to watch them win like we did Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson.
- The New York Giants losing in the Wild Card playoffs-suffice to say I was not a fan of the 1997 Minnesota Vikings or the 2002 San Francisco 49ers.
- The anticipation of finding out who the Giants would name as their starting quarterback at the end of training camp.
- The anticipation of finding out who the Giants would name as their starting quarterback at the end of their bye week-at least watching the likes of Dave Brown, Danny Kanell and Kent Graham prepared me for Bills fandom. Though I still can’t understand why any fan who sat through the aforementioned Unholy Trinity can complain about Eli Manning being inconsistent. At least that term implies that he’s completing some of his passes.
- Fox NFL pregame shows-at least back when Chris Collinsworth and James Brown were involved.
- The New York Yankees winning the World Series every year-somewhere on my hutch back home in Buffalo, there’s still a sculpture of a jack-o-lantern wearing a 1998 Yankees cap. My semi-irrational fondness for Paul O’Neill aside, I honestly don’t know why it’s still there.
- Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr-anyone remember that commercial where Hank Aaaron shows up to watch Ken Griffey Jr hit home runs in an empty stadium and tries to dissuade him from chasing his career home run record? Kind of depressing to remember it, isn’t it?
- Yankees-Red Sox-remember when the Red Sox were underdogs?
- Mets-Braves-remember when both these teams made the playoffs every year?
- Michael Jordan-I was barely old enough to watch any of the 1998 NBA Finals but even so, that was an awesome series.
- The Patrick Ewing/Allen Houston New York Knicks-remember when they didn’t need to trade for a superstar just to make it back to the playoffs?
- Space Jam-sure, it was just one two hour long commercial for Michael Jordan, Nike and Warner Brothers but it was our generation’s glorified commercial, damn it. By the way a bunch of brainiacs at Harvard recently calculated the box score for the final game in the movie. I’m not kidding.
- Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux-it was undoubtedly not as cool to watch these two players in the late 90’s and early 2000’s as it must have been during their prime in the 1980’s and early 1990’s but they were still clearly two of the greatest hockey players ever, even at the end of their careers.
- Martin Biron, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur-maybe the three greatest goalies ever.
- Albany River Rats AHL games-how about this for a mascot?
What are YOUR favorite 90’s/early 2000’s sports memories? Let us know in the comments below.