Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics

Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

One of the great things about sports is the comfort that they provide. While the world is always changing, sometimes at a pace that’s hard to process, sports are largely static. If you watch a football game from 50 years ago, there certainly are differences in strategy and the size and speed of the players, but it’s still a football game. Basketball shorts are longer now, and the three-point line came into the game in 1979, but it’s still the same basic concept: get the ball in the hoop.

Some things, though, are clear relics, things that we won’t be seeing again. As we hop into the Deadspin Wayback Machine, we can take a look back at some of the antiquities that sports have left in the past, never to be seen again.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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AstroTurf

AstroTurf

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

Atlanta infielder Keith Lockhart experienced the agony of laying out on the old-style artificial grass back in 2000 at Veterans Stadium. Before synthetic blends made from recycled tires and other polymers were introduced, the way to do fake grass was to take a huge, bright green carpet, and lay it out over the concrete floor of a stadium. It didn’t just cause a lot of pain, it led to situations like Soldier Field in Chicago being hotter than Death Valley. Good riddance to green rubbish.

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Football on Dirt

Football on Dirt

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

Why would Edgar Bennet of the Packers be running through a dusty mire in a 1994 game against the Dolphins? Green Bay doesn’t have a baseball team, after all. Well, the Packers used to shift the occasional home game down to Milwaukee, and the Brewers’ old home, County Stadium, where, yes, they had a dirt infield that was incorporated into the gridiron. Better that than the AstroTurf fields where seams would pop up in the field where the grass replaced dirt, but still not the optimal surface for football. When the Raiders moved out of Oakland to Las Vegas, it marked the end of the era of multipurpose stadia where a running back might slide into third base on second down.

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Helmetless hockey players

Helmetless hockey players

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

Craig MacTavish, a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Oilers and Rangers, wound down his career playing for the Blues in 1996 and 1997, by which time he’d already been the last man for a while to play in the NHL without a helmet. That’s because when helmets became mandatory in 1979, anyone who already had a pro contract was grandfathered out of the rule and could continue letting their hair down. MacTavish was the only player in the NHL with no helmet for his last four years in the league.

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Cigarette sponsors

Cigarette sponsors

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

Loris Capirossi won nine races in his MotoGP career, though not this 2005 contest in Australia seen above, which he missed due to internal bruising suffered in a practice crash. Capirossi raced for Ducati, which was long sponsored by Marlboro, as cigarette brands got around TV advertising bans around the world by slapping their logos on racing motorcycles, and more familiarly to Americans, cars. The NASCAR championship was known as the Winston Cup from 1971-2003, while this carsh by Capirossi came in Ducati’s last year sporting Marlboro livery.

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Dapper NFL coaches

Dapper NFL coaches

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

Once upon a time, in this case 1988, coaches on NFL sidelines weren’t festooned in the latest gear available from the league’s online shop, or, in Bill Belichick’s case, a trash bag with a Patriots logo stapled to it. Tom Landry, the Cowboys’ Hall of Fame coach, was the standard bearer, and in his spot in the team’s ring of honor, his fedora appears where a player’s retired number might be. Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan tried to revive the idea of dressing for business on the sideline with a logo-adorned blazer in the style of Hank Stram, but it didn’t last. There’s more money to be made for the league in selling the polo shirts and hoodies that all coaches now sport.

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NCAA Tournament courts

NCAA Tournament courts

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

Georgia State upset Wisconsin in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, and you can tell just from the picture that the game was at Boise State University, whose signature tri-color paint scheme for the hardwood also made Tyus Edney’s drive against Missouri in 1995 all the more memorable, as well as Hampton over Iowa State, the same year as Georgia State-Wisconsin. Nowadays, when March Madness starts, every court gets the same treatment, a pre-approved scheme from the NCAA. It has some advantages, like not having to put slippery stickers over other logos on the floor, but it’s also kind of a downer to turn on a game and not be able to revel in the uniqueness of each arena’s setup.

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CCCP

CCCP

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Wayback Machine: A look back at some of sports’ great relics
Image: Getty Images

The Soviet Union is no more, and kids today no longer have the confusion of wondering why “USSR” would become “CCCP” in Russian, as seen on Vladmir Krutov’s jersey at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Of course, those are letters in the Cyrilic alphabet that just happen to look like letters from the English alphabet, but for years, this was a source of confusion and a strange kind of enjoyment that “CCCP” stood for “Союз Советских Социалистических Республик.” Today’s Russian jerseys feature the Russian word for Russia, which is “Россия,” or, as of the last Games, “OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA,” written out in English.

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Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.