THE SEASON AFTER: Are Sports Dynasties Dead? by Peter King

THE SEASON AFTER: Are Sports Dynasties Dead?

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No, not quite dead, but ""the dynasty is comatose, it is on a respirator,"" writes Newsday sports-reporter King, who here offers an obituary-in-waiting for sports' dominant teams. Not long ago, teams like baseball's Yankees or basketball's Celtics would lord it over their sport for years, even decades. Now, a championship team rarely if ever repeats its year of glory. Why? Examining the recent winning seasons and subsequent falls of football's New York Giants, hockey's Edmonton Oilers, basketball's L.A. Lakers, and baseball's New York Mets--and comparing them to the destinies of past dynasties--King finds ten contributory causes for the imminent demise of the sports dynasty. Not surprisingly, at the top of the list is that alleged root of all evil: ""Money,"" writes King, ""like a drug, can poison athletic hunger. . ."" King's biggest case in point: once-famed Chicago Bears defensive tackle William ""The Refrigerator"" Perry, who ""cashed in"" after the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl season; no longer needing to play for money, his ""fat-slob lack of discipline"" allowed him to eat himself up to 420 pounds and into oblivion. Other major diseases afflicting sports dynasties are ""the expansion factor""--which has diluted teams' strength, often balancing a championship on the precarious health of one prime player: and ""the draft factor""--which, by allowing the worst teams to have first pick of each crop of new players, ""has fostered a sporting socialism."" Drugs, the media blitz, and the advent of free agency also figure into King's morbid equation. But is the decline of the dynasty bad for sports'? Not entirely, argues King, who) points out that, despite the malefactoring of his ten root causes, ""dynasties have to be dormant because other teams must have hope."" An intriguing thesis, solidly defended, that will interest primarily hard-core sports fans--with judicious trimming, however; this could have been expressed in a long magazine article.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Warner