Monday, September 7, 2009

ESPN: What's Happened in 30 Years

Here’s some things to think about that have happened since the first Sports Center broadcast on ESPN

In 1979…
Jimmy Carter was President.

No Space Shuttle had been launched into outer space.

Iran held hostages at the US embassy in Tehran.

19” was a big television. 25” for a console.

The personal computer was little more than a dream.

There was no Internet as we know it.

In 1979, the Rolling Stones were considered old – their latest album from 1978: “Some Girls.”

In 2009, the Rolling Stones are still considered old – they do plan future albums and tours.

In 1979, we listened to our music on records and cassettes. There were no compact discs yet. Disco was very popular music with punk rock and new wave bubbling under the surface.


In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, and Houston Texans did not exist. The Colts played in Baltimore. The Rams played in Los Angeles. The Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans played in Houston. The Raiders hadn’t moved to Los Angeles then back to Oakland. The Cleveland Browns hadn’t moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens and be born anew. The Cardinals played in St. Louis. All the teams in today’s AFC South either did not exist or played elsewhere.

The following cities have new football stadiums: Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New England, Miami, Indianapolis (two), Tennessee (Nashville), Houston, Jacksonville, Denver, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, Carolina (Charlotte), Tampa Bay, Atlanta, St. Louis, Arizona (Phoenix), Seattle.

Los Angeles has not an NFL team since 1994. 1979 was the era of the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty with Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, and the Steel Curtain defense.

In Major League Baseball, the Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays, and Arizona Diamondbacks did not exist. The Expos still played in Montreal before moving to Washington, DC to become the Nationals.

There only six baseball stadiums still in use from 1979. They are Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Kaufman Stadium, Oakland Alameda Coliseum (considerable renovation for NFL), Anaheim Stadium significantly renovated for football then redesigned as baseball only park after Rams left to St. Louis, and Dodgers Stadium. It’s hard to believe that Orioles Park at Camden Yards is technically among the older parks in the game!

Among the top players in the game: Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, and Steve Carlton

NASCAR was just becoming a household word outside of the southeast and select gear head territories. In 1979, Dale Earnhardt was rookie of the year. Richard Petty won his 7th championship. Cars had not been downsized and truly looked like and shared metal with their showroom equivalents. General Motors fielded Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Oldsmobile Cutlass’s while Ford raced Thunderbirds and Mercury Cougars.

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