If you’re a sports fan in the Tri-State area, then you know Chris Russo, the Mad Dog, from his radio show Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN. He has a new book out, The Mad Dog 100: The Greatest Sports Arguments of all Time, that poses 100 sports questions followed by his answer and the grounds for that answer. I have fairly parochial attitudes about sports, so I was quite surprised to find that I only take issue with 3 of his answers.
First, the ground rules. I didn’t expect to agree with him about the order of the top 5 anything. I did expect to see all my contenders in his list (top 5 plus also rans). And some questions I just didn’t care about (boxing and golf). So with that said, here are my problem questions.
Hoops Hierarchy: Which is the greatest NBA team of all time? His answer: 71-72 Lakers, 66-67 Sixers, 62-63 Celtics, 82-83 Sixers, 85-86 Celtics, 90-91 Bulls. My beef: Where are the 76-77 TrailBlazers? This was one of the most beautifully constructed teams of the modern era. If Bill Walton had sturdier feet, then they would have won a couple more titles. This is a one season question, and they’ve got to be in the mix.
Making Book: What are the all-time best sports books ever written? His answer: A Season on the Brink, Bums, When Pride Still Mattered, Hogan, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy, The Jordan Rules, Summer of ‘49, and Joe DiMaggio: A Hero’s Life. My beef: What about The Breaks of the Game? This is one of the great examinations of the inner workings of a pro sports franchise and remains my favorite sports book of all time. And yes, I’m aware that this is closely related to my beef with the Mad Dog’s greatest NBA teams.
The Hatfields and the McCoys: What are the ingredients for a great sports rivalry? His NFL choice: Raiders-Chiefs. My beef: it’s the Raiders-Broncos. The Raiders-Chiefs rivalry has lost some fire since it’s heyday in the AFL. But Raiders fans still complain about the Lytle non-fumble in the 77-78 AFC Championship game. Raiders owner Al Davis fired Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan sued Davis for the remaining money on his contract. This is a rivalry from the top to the bottom.
Three complaints out of one hundred – not too bad. It’s definitely worth taking a look if you’re a sports fan.