Pizza Hut Street Ball

Pizza Hut has had some of the best premium items in the history of fast food, and maybe one of their coolest offerings was their Street Balls they rolled out during March Madness for a few years in the early ’90s. Kinda like I’m doing with this post…trying to capitalize on the season. The street balls were non-standard-looking basketballs with custom prints that reflected what Pizza Hut thought the culture on the streets was like.

I had the one featured in the video above and used it all the time in my driveway shooting hoops by myself or playing a game of Around the World with my neighbor. I somehow felt like it made me a better player, but it probably just made me look like an even bigger doofus than I already did as a skinny, pasty-white white boy in the rural Appalachians trying to dribble between my legs on the way for a layup.

While I actually did play basketball in school and was a really good shot from downtown, I just didn’t look like a real ball player. What made matters worse was the fact that every one of us lanky kids who got one of these balls would bring them to practice trying to look cool. That doesn’t work when everybody brings one.

But I’ll say again, these street balls were a great piece of promotion by Pizza Hut, and anyone who was around back then surely remembers them.

The Buffalo Bills in the Playoffs Takes Me Back to the ’90s

Scott Norwood

They made their fans sweat it out, but the Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs again this year with the Jacksonville Jaguars loss this weekend. Their season hasn’t been pretty, but they’re in pretty good form right now and can make a run at the Super Bowl with a little luck.

Whether they achieve that goal or not, just seeing the Bills back in contention for a Superbowl berth takes me straight back to the ’90s. Back then, the Bills being in the playoffs and having exciting moments went together like peanut butter and jelly. Like back in 1993 when they were a wildcard team and had to face the offensive powerhouse Houston Oilers.  And they had to do it without their starting quarterback Jim Kelly, their starting tailback Thurman Thomas, and one of their best linebackers, Cornelius Bennett.  At least they were getting to play in their home stadium if nothing else. 

My old man and I decided to watch the game that afternoon.  My Dad was just a casual football fan and rarely watched a game unless it was the Superbowl, and even then I think it was just because it was a national event, and not because he personally enjoyed it so much.  As for me, I was really getting into football at that point, and watched full games every week, and was excited about all the playoff matchups.  What we thought was going to be just an enjoyable playoff game, turned out to be one of the most exciting NFL games ever played, and featured the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history. 

At halftime, with the score being 35 – 3 in favor of the Houston Oilers, my Dad decided he had seen enough, and changed the channel to some western movie most likely.  Even though the game was a blowout, I decided I wanted to keep watching it and headed off to my bedroom to see the rest of it. 

As the Bills started their comeback and continued to rack up points, I tried to keep my Dad informed by yelling from the bedroom to the living room, “THE BILLS JUST GOT A TOUCHDOWN!  IT’S 35 – 10!”.  “THE BILLS GOT AN ONSIDE KICK!”.  “THE BILLS JUST GOT ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN!!!  IT’S 35- 17!!!”.  It wasn’t until they had come all the way back and took the lead that he became interested once again and changed the channel back to the game.  I rejoined him and we watched the closing moments of regulation where the Oilers tied the game with a field goal with just a few seconds left. 

But that was just a formality, as destiny was clearly on the side of the Buffalo Bills.  The defense picked off a Warren Moon pass that set up the winning field goal from Scott Christie to set the Bills on a course to the Superbowl and left the Houston Oilers on the wrong side of history.

Watch the highlights on YouTube

Now if you’re relatively new to the world of football, you may read that and think that maybe destiny will shine on the Bills again this year, but as Lee Corso would say, “NOT SO FAST”.  Because the Bills have also been on the wrong side of history in the playoffs before, and matter of fact, it was such a moment in NFL history that it earned a nickname..the Music City Miracle. 

Back in 1999, on a cold and snowy Saturday here in the Appalachian mountains, I took a ride with my brother to look for some carpeting for his house instead of just laying on the couch watching football all afternoon.  At the carpet outlet, they had a television set up and were watching the wildcard match-up between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans.  The game was a low scoring affair, but I had a seat and focused on the game while my brother was doing his browsing and haggling with the salesman.  When he was ready to leave, the game was half-way through the 3rd quarter. 

We got back home, and I turned on the game, and he decided to sit and watch the end of it with me since it was a close game.  After just a few minutes, we watched the same Steve Christie kick what was thought to be the game-winner with just 18 seconds left to play, but this time, the Bills WERE NOT the Cinderella team.  The Tennessee Titans were as you’ll see in the clip below. 

So as the Bills enter the playoffs once again, I have to wonder if Lady Luck will shine on them this time, or will she be riding shotgun with their opponents?  One thing is for sure, with their history of dramatic playoff games, I’ll be tuning in, and I’m sure all those nostalgic memories of their games from the past will come flooding back again, and take me back to the ’90s once more. I’ll try to forget the one where Scott Norwood went wide right though. That was a heartbreaker right there.

Maybe I should call up my Dad and brother and see if they are up for watching one more Bills playoff game together.

Rollergames in HD

I’ve talked about my fandom of Rollergames in the past. I talked about it when I covered the Rollergames Nintendo game comic book ad, and again not that long ago when I posted the Rollergames Yearbooks as a Time Capsule. But for those of you who don’t know, Rollergames was a syndicated “sports” show that debuted in September of 1989. It was a version of roller derby played on a figure-8 track. In addition to the game itself, episodes also featured “live” rock music performances. This version of roller derby also featured a pit that housed alligators that would be used during “sudden death” overtime periods in tied games. This version of roller derby was obviously heavily influenced by the theatrics of the World Wrestling Federation.

Recently, the original episodes of Rollergames have been remasted in HD and released on YouTube. If you never saw the show in its heyday, check out the good-looking video of the very first episode, and see why I was such a big fan of it. Maybe you’ll become a fan too.

The 1993 MTV Rock & Jock BBall Jam

MTV’s Rock & Jock series of sporting events are a big part of my ’90s nostalgia. The softball games, basketball games, and later on the football games, were some of the highlights of MTV’s offerings for me. The basketball games were always my favorite, and the game usually aired on NBA All-Star weekend.

The teams were always made up of a combination of NBA players, actors, musicians, MTV regulars, and other pop culture personalities. This eccentric mix of talent always made for a memorable game, and in this post, we’re looking back at one of the more entertaining games from the series in 1993.

Rollergames Yearbook From 1990

Rollergames was a U.S. television series that presented a theatrical version of roller derby. It was broadcast for one season from 1989 to 1990. The show took place in the Super Roller Dome, and all shows were produced there. Instead of a banked oval track, it featured a figure eight track, where one side was heavily banked, and was known as the “wall of death”. In an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the show, a yearbook magazine was released highlighting the game, the skaters, and the storylines. I present that yearbook in its entirety for your enjoyment.

The flipbook below is easy to use, and I suggest enlarging it to full size for maximum enjoyment.