15 Insane Sports Posters Every Boy Had In The 80s
Recently, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson posed for a poster which featured him dressed in camo and surrounded by weapons crates filled with footballs, as the words "Armed and Dangerous" captioned the whole thing. It's corny, which befits of one of the cornier players in the NFL.
The poster was a tongue-in-cheek homage to sports posters of the 1980s, which all had the same style, but without the reassurance that they were made as a goof. At the time, posters like the one above were considered the epitome of badass, of manliness, of awesome. And now they're jokes, relics of a time when the transformative powers of cocaine turned every turd of an idea into a product on a store shelf.
Players were assigned shitty nicknames (randomly so, most times), matched to shitty costumes and prop-heavy gimmicks. The results were beautiful, and have absolutely not withstood the test of time. So here are a bunch of them.
Between 1979 and 1988, Mark Gastineau was a defensive end for the New York Jets. Since he was pretty good, and New York teams naturally get an inordinate amount of press coverage, Gastineau was a star, and there wasn't a photo shoot he didn't turn down. Sure, he looks silly dressed as a dollar store Conan the Barbarian, but that's how he always looked. It doesn't matter if he was making love to you with his eyes through a mirror ...
... or posing for the cover of his workout book in what are probably a child's pajama pants ...
... or demonstrating that mustache, mullet, and skintight disco genes were a potent combination ...
Mark Gastineau always looked like Mark Gastineau, and Mark Gastineau always looked like William Murderface from Metalocalypse.
This poster of Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson has so much going on that I had to annotate it.
1) I had to look this up. I normally wouldn't, since the phrase "May the horse be with you" is a something we all say all the time, every day, taken from that famous movie Star Warhorse. But I needed to know if there was a reason it was there. At the time of this poster, Dickerson was playing for the Indianapolis Colts, and he played college football as a member of the Southern Methodist University Mustangs, but as far as the records show, no one ever called him a horse -- at least, not to his face. I guess I'll never know why the phrase "May the horse be with you" was on that wall. I suppose it was just a motivational slogan which spiritually uplifted the scientists when science got them down. When science gets rough, it's good to know there's an invisible horse by your side.
2) It is vitally important to the poster's visual narrative that we understand this is taking place at 2 o'clock. This, for some reason, will be a recurring theme.
4) That woman is not doing science; she's caressing his shin. Her science license should be revoked immediately.
5) Guarantee you that was the working title for Robocop 2.
Given Lawrence Taylor's long, wacky history of drug use in the '80s, there's a good chance he actually thought he was blasting lasers from his fingers during this shoot.
Also of note, this scene took place at the end of an hour. Sadly, we may never know the exact time.
Using a breech-loaded baseball bat topped with a sniper scope, Detroit Tigers legend Kirk Gibson patrols the savanna, capturing Major League pitchers by firing small baseballs at them so he can display them in his human zoo.
Who wins in an old-west-style gun duel? Kirk Gibson with a breech-loaded baseball bat sniper rifle that shoots tiny baseballs, or Eric Davis firing full-size baseballs out of a .44 magnum the size of a Mini Cooper?
Okay, a The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly-style three-way duel. Kirk Gibson with a breech-loaded baseball bat sniper rifle that shoots tiny baseballs, Eric Davis firing full-sized baseballs out of .44 Magnum the size of a Mini Cooper, and Chuck Pearson with an old Winchester rifle and assless chaps. Who wins?
Note: I am well aware that chaps are already assless. But you will not ruin the phrase "assless chaps" for me.
Jim McMahon And Walter Payton
This is probably the laziest poster I've ever seen. They didn't even attempt to make a clever play on words. They just changed "Miami" to "Chicago," and that was it. The whole pitch for this idea would take seconds. "You guys like Miami Vice? Me too. Here's your cheap suits and a squirt gun."
In the world of this poster ...
1) Football players of different teams regularly sleep with one another, head to foot, in the same bed, but in full padding to drastically but futilely decrease the chances of potential homoerotic contact.
2) Freddy Kruger has a bigger vendetta against footballs than people.
3) Freddy Kruger is a 6'1" Nigerian who gets bashful around cameras.
Oh boy, what a treat. This is a rare photo capturing the beauty of nature. Keith Millard molted his previous skin to complete his transformation from a mere football player posing as a viking to an actual viking. One day, we may be honored to see Peyton Manning turn into a horse and Tom Brady emerge from a cocoon as Thomas Jefferson.
I have stared at this poster for about half an hour, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Specifically, trying to figure out what the hell is about to happen. I still have no idea. Is Dale Ellis going to use that basketball to kill that man holding a newspaper with Ellis' own name on it? I've even tried closing my eyes to imagine myself in Ellis' position to figure out what I would do if I were a super tall guy in a trench coat and sweats with fingerless gloves requesting silence as I plot nefarious deeds against a man whose testicles are about to drop out of his shorts. I Quantum Leapt myself into the universe of this poster, and all I did was yell, "Hey asshole!" and then attempt to hit the guy with the ball, but forgot to open the window, so the ball smashed through the glass and landed about eight feet away from ball shorts, and I ran away in shame.
I still don't know what the hell is happening in this poster.
There really isn't anything wrong with this one. It's a little goofy, sure, but it's tame compared to the rest. But there is one thing: At quick glance, it looks like Spielman is politely gesturing toward his crotch, as if to say, "Pardon me, but would you like a hot hunk of hog?"
A short time after discovering the land of Oz, Dorothy returned home, where she met and fell in love with former Seattle Seahawk Brian Bosworth. After giving birth to their first son, Bozkin, Dorothy Bosworth felt it best to move her family away from the uncultured wheat fields of Kansas to the more metropolitan Oz. Brian beat the shit out of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion for "making moves on my woman" as they attempted to hug her upon her return. He then declared himself the Supreme Wizard of Boz.
This is another poster that wants people to know the exact time the scene is taking place to complete the visual narrative, because knowing Bob Golic and the photographer stayed up 'til 10 o'clock at night to get this photo shoot done is going to give me a greater appreciation of the greasy-armed, mullet-headed football player pretending he's a dog. Arnold Schwarzenegger fought this same bad guy archetype in seven different movies throughout the '80s, and he killed them all with their own chain link clothing accessories.
Is his dog house a portal to Hell?
"Brett! Please, come in. Take a seat. I want to talk to you. I have to say, you've been consistently turning in great stuff. Top-notch work. Mark Gastineau as a caveman who does god knows what with those quarterbacks in that cave was a stroke of sheer brilliance. Exemplary! That said, some concerns have been raised about your Curt Warner poster."
*Brett, eyes unblinking, forehead glistening with flop sweat*: "Really?"
"Yeah. See, Brett, I hate to ask this but ... are you sure you've seen the movie Blade Runner?"
*Brett, pit stains increasing in diameter by the second*: "Yes."
Luis is having an inordinate amount of fun saying the name Mark Gastineau. Mark Gastineau. Mark Gastineau. Mark Gastineau. He encourages you to personally seek out images of Mark Gastineau. In the meantime, you can find him (Luis, not Mark Gastineau) on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
See just how nuts the 80's were in The 4 Craziest Holiday Episodes of '80s Cartoons and find out why only in the 80's can rock stars dress in drag, but still deliver the most misogynistic lines ever in 5 Baffling 80s Trends (Explained by Rare Mental Disorders).
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