Saturday, July 23, 2011

8 Great Reasons to Love the 80's

Taking Some Time to Think About the 80's
Miss Caster has left me to fend for myself tonight as she has shuffled off to Buffalo's biggest 80's bash. I am enjoying the calm time at home and catching up on a few episodes of Breaking Bad. I spent most of the day sucked into the NFL Network's never ending coverage of the lockout that will never end. I am sure we will cover most of that on the podcast this Tuesday. Anyway, with Tammy at the 80's bash and after spending the last few nights working on a SummerSlamm88 blog, I got to thinking about what it is that makes the 1980's so special to us. 

In the summer of 2009, the death of Michael Jackson thrust my beloved decade back into the limelight. It seemed that no matter where you turned, people were discussing the music, movies, and sporting events that made the eighties so damn fantastic. Usually, I would have been thrilled to death with all of the special treatment that my beloved decade was receiving, but this time it had been ruined by all of the revisionist history and propaganda about a mutilated, boy-touching freak. Since then, I have been dying to come up with a list of the top reasons that I love the 80's so much. I might try to get Jimmy Traina from SI.COM's Hot Clicks to write one as well so that we can debate our lists on a future episode of The Sports-Casters. ESPN's Page 2 did a decent job highlighting some of the eighties best moments, here. Check it out if you want, but after you read my blog you wont need anymore proof that the eighties kicked ass.

8. Appetite for Destruction  


Sure, when it comes to music the 80's is kind of weak. But, the 80's did have Appetite. AFD was released in 1987, topped the Billboard 200 chart, became the fastest-selling debut record in history, and to this day has sold over twenty-eight million copies worldwide.


7. The Ronald Reagan Era

The "Reagan Revolution" has to be the sweetest nickname for any presidency (Do others have nicknames?). Reagan took over for one of the worst presidents in history (Carter) and while giving his inauguration speech (that he wrote himself) declared that, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."

During his term as president, 52 U.S. hostages were released from Iran (after being held for 444 days, thanks for nothing Carter), the frigging Cold War ended, the Country's fight against drug abuse began, and Mr. Reagan became the only president in history to survive a gunshot wound. After being shot, Reagan was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery. While on the operating table, the wounded president joked with the responding doctors, "I hope all of you are republicans."

Mr. Reagan is generally ranked in the top 10 anytime a non-partisan scholar or historian ranks the forty-four U.S. Presidents.

6. The Birth of Adrian Peterson

On March 25, 1985 Adrian Peterson was born in Palestine, Texas. Since he is currently the greatest living human his birth had to crack the list. Adrian combines all of the qualities you could want in a sports star. Adrian is a role model and an ambassador for humanity.

I could go on and on listing all of the great things that Adrian has accomplished on the football field. I could recap the eight straight 100-yard games to start his career at Oklahoma. I could go on and on about that day a couple of months into his rookie season when Adrian had the single greatest day a running back has ever had in the history of the NFL. But, I won't. Instead, I want to give everyone a little insight into what a great person that Adrian Peterson is. Before you read any further, I ask that you read this article by ESPN's Rick Reilly. I have always said that Adrian is the anti-LeMarkitts Holland (If you skipped the article you are sure to have no idea who that is).

In Adrian's own words:

When I was about 8, we lived in Dallas. One day, my brother Brian - he was 9 and my best friend - was riding his bike with a buddy by a little field where I was playing football. This dude, a drunken driver, just hit him. I have a hard time talking about it. [A long pause; Adrian's voice grows soft] He kind of flew up in the air a little bit. I saw the whole thing happen, about five feet from where we were. It was crazy, man. Crazy.

I ran to him, got on my knees and kind of picked up his head and put it on my thigh. I said his name, but he didn't respond at all. He was brain-dead. Later, I had a chance to say good-bye. I was there when they took him off life support.

Losing him - actually seeing him get killed right there in front of me - made me a stronger person. My mom cried every night. Every night. Honest to God, she cried for a year. My mom and dad had split up by then, so I had to sit there, comfort her, be strong and not show my tears, even though I was hurting as much as she was.

I later heard Adrian say that when Brian died he realized he was living for two people. It could have been him that day, but it wasn't. Adrian decided that day that he needed to live his life to the fullest every day and accomplish all of the great things that Brian couldn't.

I love Adrian Peterson with all of my heart. I have no doubt in my mind that he will retire the greatest running back of all time. I am so glad I get to sit back every Sunday and enjoy the ride.

5. The 1987 New Orleans Saints

On September 13, 1987, the New Orleans Saints scored a 28-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The win was the start of what would be the first winning season in franchise history. The Saints were on their way to a 12-3 record and would go on to host their first playoff game. I had no idea any of it was happening.

I was only seven years old. I watched football every week, but it was usually just the Bills, and nothing they were doing was drawing me to them. I didn't care if they won. I didn't care if they lost. I barley blinked when Jerry Butler snapped his leg against the Dolphins.

Finally, on January 3, 1988 the 87' Saints took the field in the glorious Louisiana Superdome for the first time as a playoff team. I was couch side with my dad who told me all about their futile history filled with twenty straight losing seasons, zero hall of famers, and the fans with the bags (gag). He went on to tell me about their nine straight victories to close out the '87 regular season, how their brilliant GM Jim Finks had built the scariest group of line backers he had ever seen, and how a 27-year old kid from Baton Rogue, Louisiana had emerged from no where to be one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League.

I was pumped. I was instantly a Saints fan. I had never felt like this watching football before. I cared about the outcome. I felt the same way I imagined my father did during a Bills game. There was no doubt in my mind that the Saints were going to kill the Vikings that day and go on to win the Super Bowl. A few minutes into the game Bobby Hebert (that kid from Baton Rogue) hit Eric Martin for a 10-yard touchdown and the dome went nuts. I went nuts. It was on. Then a crazy thing happened. The Vikings went on a 31-3 run to end the first half. I was devastated. It felt like I had woke up to coal on Christmas.

The outcome of the game didn't matter. I knew that from that point forward I was a fan of the New Orleans Saints. I knew I had a team to call my own. I had a reason to watch the games. After an over 20-year long investment filled with heartache, frustration, and anger the Saints finally made me a winner. The run that the Saints took me on from September of 2009 through Super Bowl XLIV was the most fun I will ever have as a sports fan. The moment that Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning and I knew the Saints would win the Super Bowl I jumped into the arms of my brother and screamed at the top of my lungs. Sports had never felt so good.

4. The A-Team

For three straight years in the 80's, The A-Team was one of the most popular television shows in America. I feel like I could end this blog right now and have won the argument that the eighties were the greatest decade of all time. I will carry on though because my proof only gets better.

On January 30, 1983, shortly after the Redskins had defeated the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, the A-Team premiered to over a fourth of the television watching audience. The show combined the toughness of Mr. T, the zaniness of Dwight Schultz, and the wit of George Peppard with the charm of Dirk Benedict.

Every week was basically the same, but that was largely the brilliance of the show. Every Tuesday night, America cheered as The A-Team got over on criminals, terrorists, scumbags, and the government. Sure they were fugitives, but they didn't do anything wrong. Instead of running away to another country to hide from the authorities, The A-Team stayed in Southern California driving around in an unmistakable van, standing up for the common man, and defending freedom.

3. The Karate Kid

If you can think of a better movie for a twelve-year-old boy to watch two or three...hundred times, than let me know. TKK combines, trouble at home, trouble at school, and trouble with girls (the big three for any adolescent) with such ease and excitement that I still can't believe the screenwriter wasn't Christ himself (Kudos to you, Robert Mark Karmen).

The great Bill Simmons wrote an amazing article a few years ago detailing the greatness of The Karate Kid. I couldn't have said it better myself, but I do have a few personal comments to make about this masterpiece.

  • Ali with an I gave me my first hard on. I didn't know what was going on or why, but I knew I liked it and her. Ali was dreamy, ohh, laa, and laa.
  • If you want proof that this movie still holds up then play it for a group of pre-teen students. You will witness twenty boys drooling over Ali, cheering on Danielson, imitating Miyagi, and sneering at the Cobra Kai.
  • I have one beef with Mr. Miyagi. Could he find a day or two of his time to fix up that pool? What does this guy do at work all day? He lives in a house that looks like it would be on the cover of a book about landscaping. His yard is filled with majestic fountains and perfectly trimmed bonsai trees, yet the pool he is paid to maintain has yellow water, growing algae, and rust from top to bottom. Shameful Miyagi, shameful.
  • One of the guys in Cobra Kai is named, Bobby Brown. He is the scumbag that is called on to take out Danielson but after doing so immediately regrets the move and runs to Daniel in apology. Seconds after the apology, he is seen next to his sensei imploring Johnny to, "put him in a body bag." "Body bag," is a funny line for sure, but it is overrated when compared to his "What is this, take a worm for a walk week?" blast that he directed at Ali earlier in the film. Burn.

2. Wrestlemania III

On March 27, 1987, 93,173 people crammed into the Pontiac Sliverdome to witness the greatest wrestling extravaganza of all time. No other indoor sporting event in North America has ever recorded a higher attendance. One million others watched the event at 160 closed circuit locations in North America and several million others watched on pay-per-view.

The event was spectacular outside of just the attendance. The main event featured the great Hulk Hogan successfully defending the WWF Heavyweight Championship of the World against Andre the Giant. The undercard featured the greatest wrestling match of all time as Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship. Also, the fans were treated to a fabulous six-man tag match that featured two of wrestling's all-time greatest technicians (Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart). Roddy Piper wrestled his first of many farewell matches; Nikolai Volkoff butchered the Russian national anthem (has anyone ever checked to see if he was actually singing the Russian anthem and not just chanting gibberish?), The Honky Tonk man exploded a guitar on the ring post, and a midget got squished in the middle of the ring by King Kong Bundy.

The event featured the WWF's always subtle but pleasing racism as the JYD was forced to bow at the feet of a white guy from Missouri (Harley Race), the only African American to score a victory was a guy with bleached hair called, "The Natural" (of course, he pinned a fellow African carrying a bird), and the black manager playing the role of pimp had his clothes stripped off by a Mexican that the announcers regularly ripped on for selling tacos and called, "Chico." What a night!

Celebrities such as Mary Hart, Bob Uecker, Aretha Franklin, and Alice Cooper were on hand to show what a great impact professional wrestling was having on pop culture. I know when I think of 80's celebrities if Mary hart doesn't come to mind first then Bob Uecker surely does.

How is this not number one?????

1. Miracle on Ice


Take that you commie bastards!


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