I’m officially 30 years old. Boy, does that sound weird….When I was a kid, it felt like it took an eternity to get to my birthday, Christmas Day, or summer vacation. Yet, in the blink of an eye I’m now three decades old. So, in honor turning the BIG 3-0 I thought I might look back on some of the greatest moments in sports history I’ve been around for.
- The Buffalo Bills lose 4 straight Super Bowls (1990 – 1993)
Entering the 90s as a toddler, I didn’t have the cognitive function to understand just how difficult it is to make it the Super Bowl, let alone make four in a row. Somehow, the Buffalo Bills accomplished this incredible feat, but never brought home the Lombardi Trophy. With a roster stacked with Pro Bowl talent at every position, it’s still bewildering to realize this team never won a ring.
Behind the undaunted leadership of quarterback Jim Kelly, a freak athlete running back in Thurman Thomas, deep threat wide receiver Andre Reed, and a defense led by sack machine Bruce Smith, it still blows my mind the Bills never won the Super Bowl in four consecutive trips. But that’s why they play the game….
Michael Jordan leads the Bulls to 6 titles (91-93, 96-98)
Ask anyone who’s 30 or older – who’s the best basketball player of all-time?? The overwhelming answer is Michael Jordan. His “Airness” transcended the modern game and took the NBA to new heights. Every kid growing up in the 90s wanted to be “like Mike.” He had a flare and style that no one had ever seen before and made basketball must watch tv. Jordan guided the Bulls to six championships in his time with Chicago, and won every finals in 6 games. He and the Bulls kept so many future Hall of Famers from winning a ring and cementing their legacy. Jordan and the Bulls were simply to good. I will never forget watching Jordan sink his final shot from the free throw line to bury the Jazz in game 6 of the NBA for the second straight year. If you’re too young to have seen it live, you missed one hell of a performance.
The New York Yankees win 4 World Series in 5 years (1996-2000)
As a lifelong Yankees fan, growing up in the late 90s was sublime. After years of toiling in misery and mediocrity, the Yankees had a young core of talented players who gelled perfectly with veteran leadership. This squad became the most dominant team in baseball since the Philadelphia Athletics of the early 1970s. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera came of age under the bright lights of October, as David Cone, David Wells, and Roger Clemens led them to the promised land. This was the Golden Age of Baseball for this Yankees fan, and I’m so glad I got to watch it.
RED SOX FINALLY BREAK THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO (2004)
As a Yankees fan, this feels like a knife through my pinstripe heart. With the Yankees leading the Boston Red Sox three games to none in the American League Championship Series in 2004, NO ONE gave Boston a shot to comeback. It had never been done before in MLB, let alone the NBA, NFL, or the NHL. Yet, somehow, someway, the Red Sox stormed back to sweep the final four games to win the American League Pennant. Their poor, unsuspecting opponent – the St. Louis Cardinals – didn’t have a prayer in hell to beat Boston. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918, and forever banish the curse of the Bambino. Since then the Red Sox have won 3 more Fall Classics. Maybe there is something about exercising our demons…
TIGER WOODS MAKES GOLF COOL
When Tiger Woods made his final putt on the 18th hole to win The Masters in 1997, it was the coronation of professional golf’s newest savior. Before Tiger Woods came along, golf was mainly perceived as a sport old, white men played. It was great background noise to fall asleep to on a Sunday afternoon on your couch. But after winning his first green jacket, no one was falling asleep on Sunday afternoon anymore. Audiences across the world were glued to their tv to watch Tiger Woods stride down the fairway in his red shirt and black pants to win another tournament. Woods won 14 Majors in a 12 year span…no one had ever done such a thing. Watching Tiger in his prime was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in golf. I just hope a new “Tiger” will come along soon…
TOM BRADY AND THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS DYNASTY
In February of 2002, no one in Vegas or around the NFL gave the New England Patriots a prayer in Hell to beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. The Rams were the defending champions and had established themselves as the “Greatest Show on Turf” for their prolific offense. When Adam Vinatieri’s kick sailed through the uprights to pull off the upset of the new millenium, it ushered in a new era of dominance – one that we may TRULY never see again. Since that fateful kick, the Patriots have brought home 4 more Lombardi Trophies. Behind the undisputed moxie and leadership of quarterback Tom Brady, and mastermind head coach Bill Belichik, the Patriots have DOMINATED the NFL competition. They’ve won the AFC East Division 20 times, set the record for most consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins, and won 5 of 7 Super Bowls. The New England Patriots are the Gold Standard of NFL franchises.
STEPH CURRY AND BASKETBALL’S 3-POINT REVOLUTION
Everybody knows that 3 is worth more than 2, but Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry has DRAMATICALLY inflated that value. With jaw dropping range and machine gun like quickness, Curry buries 3-pointer after 3-pointer, and it’s not even fair how easy he makes it look. Night in and Night out he confounds opposing defenses with his ridiculous dribbling ability and nail in the coffin 3-point shot. In fact, he makes so many 3-pointers he’s already 4th on the all-time list for most made shots behind the arch – and he’s been playing for less than a decade. Steph Curry is single-handedly responsible for the contemporary style of basketball played at all levels. His amazing ability and talents have inspired an entire generation of ballers to seemingly forego traditional jumpshots and other “old school” 2-point tactics, and instead, elect to shoot 3-pointers like they’re going out of style. It’s not just guards or smaller players who shoot 3s at will either, it’s players of all shapes and sizes who hoist up the triple. I’m not a fan of this new style of play because it has caused players to lose a fundamental ability to score inside the arc, but I’m an old school kinda guy, and since I’m officially 30 I guess I can start shouting, “GET OFF MY LAWN!!” Hope you’ve enjoyed my 30 years of sports memories recap.