5-STAR SUMMER AHEAD
Classic Seasons for Football, Hockey, Basketball
By Glenn Guzzo
Fans of Strat-O-Matic Pro Football, Hockey and Basketball will have a cool summer with the latest in the line of classic seasons.
Appreciate the powerhouses of the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Celtics, Among many others, experience the best of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuk, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.
Pro Football: 1994 NFL (Windows roster and six carded teams) and
1990 NFL: Six carded teams only
1994: In 1994, the Joe Montana era in San Francisco was over, but there was a new MVP in town, and Steve Young clinched his Hall of Fame credentials by leading the 49ers to their fifth Super Bowl in 14 years, and first since Montana last did so in 1989. Passing and running for 42 touchdowns, Young led the NFL in passer rating and found Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice 112 times for 13 TDs and an NFL-best 1,499 yards.
The Niners’ 505 points and +209 point-differential were far and away the best in the NFL. Dallas (12-4) was second with 414 points and +166, but San Francisco dispatched Dallas 38-28 in the NFC title game, then pulverized AFC champ San Diego, 49-26, as Young threw six scoring passes, three to Rice.
The survivor among rivals in the bitterly fought AFC Central was 12-4 Pittsburgh, which beat 11-5 Cleveland twice, then a third time in the playoffs. The Browns yielded only 204 points, best in the NFL and the Steelers were second at 234.
Other 1994-seaosn highlights:
- Detroit’s Barry Sanders led the NFL with 1,883 rushing yards.
- Dallas’ Emmitt Smith led with 22 TDs, 21 rushing, and was third with 1,484 yards rushing.
- Green Bay’s Sterling Sharpe led with 18 TD catches.
- New England’s Drew Bledsoe led with 4,555 passing yards, but also with 27 interceptions.
- Minnesota’s Warren Moon was third with 4,264 passing yards and teammate Cris Carter led the NFL with 122 catches
The carded teams: Super Bowl winner San Francisco (13-3) and AFC Champion San Diego (11-5), division winners Dallas (12-4), Pittsburgh (12-4) and Minnesota (10-6) and AFC Central runner-up Cleveland (11-5).
1990: The Super Bowl following the 1990 season featured the NFL’s best defense in the Giants, who yielded a mere 211 points in 16 regular-season games, then limited the Bears to three points and the mighty 49ers to 13. For the championship, the Giants had to confront 428-point Buffalo, the top-scoring team in the regular season that scored 95 points in two playoff games, including a 51-3 conquest of the previously sturdy Raiders for the AFC title.
With New York leading 20-19 in the final two minutes of the Super Bowl, Buffalo marched from its own 10 to the Giants’ 29 with 8 seconds left. Bills kicker Scott Norwood then missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt to seal New York’s second Super Bowl win in six seasons.
- Three-time Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana won his first season MVP award – without even being chosen the Offensive Player of the Year, or the league’s top passer – by leading San Francisco to the NFL’s best regular-season record, 14-2.
- 49ers WR Jerry Rice led the NFL with 100 receptions, 1,502 yards and 13 TD catches.
- Buffalo RB Thurman Thomas led the NFL with 1,829 yards from scrimmage and was second to Barry Sanders with 1,297 yards rushing.
- Miami’s Dan Marino ranked right behind Montana with 3,533 yards passing.
- Oakland RB Marcus Allen scored 13 TDs, 12 rushing.
- The Giants’ Dave Meggett had a kickoff return and a punt return for TDs.
The carded teams: Super Bowl champion New York Giants (13-3), AFC champion Buffalo (13-3), division winners San Francisco (14-2), Oakland (12-4) and Chicago (11-5), plus 12-4 Miami.
Hockey: 1990-91 and 1951-52 NHL (Windows rosters and carded “six-packs”)
1990-91: Five teams topped 100 points, but 88-point Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup. Super Mario Lemieux played only 26 games in the regular season, scoring 19 goals and 45 points, but returned to play 23 playoff games, where he won the Conn Smythe Trophy for his 19-goal, 45-point performance. He had serious help from 40-goal scorers Mark Recchi and Kevin Stevens.
After the Penguins eliminated 100-point Boston to reach the Cup finals, they met with upstart Minnesota, a sub-.500 team. Edmonton, with the league’s top scorer in Wayne Gretzky (163 points), had sent Calgary and Los Angeles, the top two teams in its Smythe Division, home and Minnesota had done the same to the top two in its Norris Division, Chicago and St. Louis – then routed Edmonton in five games.
This season had many individual stars, too, especially Hart Trophy winner Brett Hull, whose 86 goals for St. Louis were the second most for a season in NHL history. Theoren Fluery, Cam Neely and Steve Yzerman each scored 51 goals; 16 others scored at least 40. Ten men topped 100 points.
The carded teams: Stanley Cup winner Pittsburgh, Stanley Cup finalist Minnesota, division winners Chicago (106 points), Los Angeles (102 points) and Boston (100 points) and Norris Division runner-up St. Louis (105 points). A utility permits printing the other teams. As always, the Windows version of this season will include all teams.
1951-52: Few teams have dominated an NHL season the way the Detroit Red Wings did in 1951-52, on their way to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons during a dynasty that would give the Wings four Cups in a six-year run.
These Wings scored the most goals by far and surrendered the fewest by far, compiling a 44-14-12 record for 100 points (in a 70-game season) when runner-up Montreal had only 78. Then Detroit swept both third-place Toronto and Montreal in the playoffs.
The Wings had four of the six first-team all-stars, goalie Terry Sawchuck (1.90 GAA, 12 shutouts), defenseman Red Kelly (16 goals, 47 points in an era of low-scoring blueliners), left wing Ted Lindsay (tied for third in both goals, 30, and assists, 39) and league MVP Gordie Howe. Howe had 47 goals (runner-up Bill Mosienko of Chicago had 31) and 86 points (to runner-up Lindsay’s 69).
Montreal center Elmer Lach (league-best 50 assists) and defenseman Doug Harvey claimed the other first-team all-star spots. Montreal’s Bernie Geoffrion, a 30-goal scorer who led the NHL with 10 power-play goals, was the league’s top rookie.
Basketball: 1960-61 NBA (for the Windows game only)
With MVP Bill Russell and fellow future Hall of Famers Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones, Bill Shaman, K.C. Jones, Frank Ramsey and Tom Sanders, the Boston Celtics cruised to the NBA’s best record of the regular season (57-22), then needed only five games each in the playoffs to dispose of Syracuse (the league’s top-scoring team) and St. Louis (the 51-28 Western Division winners).
Wilt Chamberlain was the league’s most dominant star of stars, leading the league in scoring and rebounding (38.4 ppg, 27.2 rpg), but his Philadelphia Warriors finished 11 games behind Boston and was swept by 38-41 Syracuse in the first playoff round.
Cincinnati was last in the West, but Rookie of the Year Oscar Robertson averaged 30.5 ppg and led the NBA in assists. He was No. 1 in the modern measure of Offensive Win Shares (13.0)
Other superstars included LA’s Elgin Baylor (second to Chamberlain with 34.8 ppg, fourth with 19.8 rpg and No. 1 in the modern measure of Player Efficiency at 28.2) and St. Louis’s Bob Petit, who ranked fourth with 27.9 ppg and third with 20.2 rpg.