Syracuse Football in the Late 80's and 90's | Syracusefan.com

Syracuse Football in the Late 80's and 90's

CsonkaStash

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My son is 9 and has a friend over who plays for the clay panthers. My son plays high level travel hockey but not football. I played football in college at Albany myself and was talking to his friend about what drove me into loving football. It was Syracuse football and subsequently the New York Giants that drove me into football. Joe Morris went to the Giants in the early 80's and I was only 6 then in but Syracuse football was just beginning to turn the corner at that point.

Dick MacPherson had just taken over and struggled the first couple of years but then Don McPherson showed up and we started to see signs of life. Even in 1985 and 1986 we were close in all games outside of that dreadful Penn State thrashing. Then in 1987 as we all know it all came together for that amazing season (Still mad at that tie, what a jerk that Auburn coach was). Running the freeze option and the wishbone is what drove me hard into football. In highschool at Liverpool we mirrored Syracuse with almost everything we did. Right down to the reverse option (split end comes around to cut in front of RB) and the trips out and out and up. I was playing Running Back at the time and loved every second of it.

My son's friend play running back for Clay Panthers and I see myself in him and it makes me wish he could have a taste of that Cuse success. My point is that these kids today don't get to experience any of that. The dome was deafening...I almost got into a fight with a Miami fan when I was 14 and I loved it. My Dad had to break it up. It was electric and the atmosphere of Syracuse sports with Basketball, Football and Lacrosse was insane. I know the atmosphere has changed and I know that I am rambling and reminiscing about my sports childhood but I feel bad for the kids especially those who love football.

I still bring my kids to the dome but it's not the same and will they ever feel what we all felt in the late 80s and 90s. I feel if it was the same my son maybe would have played football, who knows maybe not because he really loves hockey. I want to see the dome back to the loudhouse. We need meaningful football this year. The winning brings the fans and fans bring more winning. As a community, for the kids in the area to understand that magic.
 

cuse309

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My timeline for my love affair with SU football is very similar. Almost identical. Probably similar in age. I'm 44. My dad got me watching giants football in 86. Joe Morris was my man too. Didn't really pay close attention to SU football until 87. What a year to start watching. I was a fan, but it wasn't until Kirby Dar Dar took the reverse to the house against the Gators that I became obsessed. The electricity in the dome got me that day. For over a decade I just assumed it was Syracuse's rightful spot to be in the top 25, play in meaningful, nationally televised games, and go bowling every year. I think if I had the foresight of what was to come the next 2 decades, I would have appreciated it more.
I have no kids, but did take my nephew to the Louisville game on our 10-3 season. The dome had a decent crowd, and we put on a show, and he fell in love. Unfortunately they couldn't hold his attention as they rattled of 3 straight seasons of hot, salty, garbage after that.
If we're ever going to get ahold of the youth we need to win at least 6 and go bowling consistently. Having a good year every 6 or 7 seasons will only bring fairweather fans in those seasons. Consistency will build a new generation of fans.
 

RF2044

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Makes me sad to think that there's an entire generation of kids that grew up in CNY not being excited about SU football, because the quality of the product was so consistently poor.

When I was a kid during the 80s / 90s, football season was AMAZING, because we were good and fun to watch. I'm sure that being bad for so long limits the favorable perception. When I was growing up, SU football was an important passion -- I never missed a game, followed recruiting, attended games in a packed Dome, etc.

Wouldn't be surprised for most kids to not feel that same connection. Although my nephew was hooked during the Dungey senior campaign.
 

Dick_in_MI

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There are ups and downs. I was a kid during Ben's magical years. Then, I was an SU student and then grad student during Ben's "declining years" What fun that was...sitting in a sparsely attended Archbold Stadium on cold, wet steps while the rain poured down on my forlorn head. Let's go Orange! Cough, cough.

Then came the relative mediocrity of the Maloney years although, to be fair, he had 3 winning seasons in seven years with facilities that were decrepit, to put it charitably.

Then came The Dome and Mac. The Dome was great but Mac wasn't a success right out of the box. He was over .500 for three of his first six years but The Sack Mac Pack was a real thing. I can recall standing at a gate at Hancock field waiting to fly somewhere and Mac was at the next gate over. He was looking around with a slight smile and NOBODY went up to him to say hi. He was considered a dead man walking. As beloved as he is now, he was not a big hit until 1987. Then everything changed, and he finished his SU career with four winning seasons and 36 wins.

Then came the continuation with the 1990's being some real SU glory years. Coach P, in his first eleven years, never had a losing season. In fact, he had an 8-win season, three 9-win seasons, and three 10-win seasons. We went to eight bowls, winning six of them. These days, we would have qualified for a bowl in the other three years as well.

In his last three years, P leveled off. Even then, only one of the three was a losing season. Kind of puts the past 17 years in perspective, doesn't it?

Since then, things have been varying degrees of mediocre to crappy. The Robinson years were bad beyond belief but even after that we have only had four winning seasons total in the past 13 years under three different coaches. Thank God for 2018, but it has been a real outlier.

Will we have good years again? Of course. It is almost inevitable. The tide comes in and it goes out. "This too shall pass" and all that stuff. We have been good in the past, we have been bad in the past, and we have been in the middle in the past. Right now, we are in the midst of a prolonged spell that is varying degrees of...well, I'll let you fill in the adjective that best applies to your view on the matter. It will turn around at some point. When and for how long is not for us to know.
 

baggerbob

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Makes me sad to think that there's an entire generation of kids that grew up in CNY not being excited about SU football, because the quality of the product was so consistently poor.

When I was a kid during the 80s / 90s, football season was AMAZING, because we were good and fun to watch. I'm sure that being bad for so long limits the favorable perception. When I was growing up, SU football was an important passion -- I never missed a game, followed recruiting, attended games in a packed Dome, etc.

Wouldn't be surprised for most kids to not feel that same connection. Although my nephew was hooked during the Dungey senior campaign.
Fortunately I was a teen in the late 50's, so I lived through both great times for SU football.
It's time in my and Steve's twilight years for one more great run.
 

OrangeDW

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Makes me sad to think that there's an entire generation of kids that grew up in CNY not being excited about SU football, because the quality of the product was so consistently poor.

When I was a kid during the 80s / 90s, football season was AMAZING, because we were good and fun to watch. I'm sure that being bad for so long limits the favorable perception. When I was growing up, SU football was an important passion -- I never missed a game, followed recruiting, attended games in a packed Dome, etc.

Wouldn't be surprised for most kids to not feel that same connection. Although my nephew was hooked during the Dungey senior campaign.
I truly hate to say this…..but we’re kinda there in hoops too.

2009-14…or even if you stretch it to ‘16….that’s absolutely ancient if you’re a kid.

We need to get back to winning soon, or else there will be an entire generation who knows Cuse as mediocre and doesn’t care.

And let’s face it….most kids are absolute bandwagoners when they pick their favorite teams.
 

StCuse315

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Somewhere between the 96 Gator Bowl and McNabb to Brominski for me. I know for sure that I was hooked for life after that 98 VT game. For better or worse. Even turned my dad into a Cuse fan, and he is a lifelong PSU fan. And needless to say, I haven't returned the favor to him
 

storange

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There are ups and downs. I was a kid during Ben's magical years. Then, I was an SU student and then grad student during Ben's "declining years" What fun that was...sitting in a sparsely attended Archbold Stadium on cold, wet steps while the rain poured down on my forlorn head. Let's go Orange! Cough, cough.

Then came the relative mediocrity of the Maloney years although, to be fair, he had 3 winning seasons in seven years with facilities that were decrepit, to put it charitably.

Then came The Dome and Mac. The Dome was great but Mac wasn't a success right out of the box. He was over .500 for three of his first six years but The Sack Mac Pack was a real thing. I can recall standing at a gate at Hancock field waiting to fly somewhere and Mac was at the next gate over. He was looking around with a slight smile and NOBODY went up to him to say hi. He was considered a dead man walking. As beloved as he is now, he was not a big hit until 1987. Then everything changed, and he finished his SU career with four winning seasons and 36 wins.

Then came the continuation with the 1990's being some real SU glory years. Coach P, in his first eleven years, never had a losing season. In fact, he had an 8-win season, three 9-win seasons, and three 10-win seasons. We went to eight bowls, winning six of them. These days, we would have qualified for a bowl in the other three years as well.

In his last three years, P leveled off. Even then, only one of the three was a losing season. Kind of puts the past 17 years in perspective, doesn't it?

Since then, things have been varying degrees of mediocre to crappy. The Robinson years were bad beyond belief but even after that we have only had four winning seasons total in the past 13 years under three different coaches. Thank God for 2018, but it has been a real outlier.

Will we have good years again? Of course. It is almost inevitable. The tide comes in and it goes out. "This too shall pass" and all that stuff. We have been good in the past, we have been bad in the past, and we have been in the middle in the past. Right now, we are in the midst of a prolonged spell that is varying degrees of...well, I'll let you fill in the adjective that best applies to your view on the matter. It will turn around at some point. When and for how long is not for us to know.
Great Post
 

TexanMark

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Makes me sad to think that there's an entire generation of kids that grew up in CNY not being excited about SU football, because the quality of the product was so consistently poor.

When I was a kid during the 80s / 90s, football season was AMAZING, because we were good and fun to watch. I'm sure that being bad for so long limits the favorable perception. When I was growing up, SU football was an important passion -- I never missed a game, followed recruiting, attended games in a packed Dome, etc.

Wouldn't be surprised for most kids to not feel that same connection. Although my nephew was hooked during the Dungey senior campaign.
And you had a Dad who was an expert on the state of SU. All those practice reports (FB and Hoops) helped me as a remote fan.
 

CsonkaStash

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My timeline for my love affair with SU football is very similar. Almost identical. Probably similar in age. I'm 44. My dad got me watching giants football in 86. Joe Morris was my man too. Didn't really pay close attention to SU football until 87. What a year to start watching. I was a fan, but it wasn't until Kirby Dar Dar took the reverse to the house against the Gators that I became obsessed. The electricity in the dome got me that day. For over a decade I just assumed it was Syracuse's rightful spot to be in the top 25, play in meaningful, nationally televised games, and go bowling every year. I think if I had the foresight of what was to come the next 2 decades, I would have appreciated it more.
I have no kids, but did take my nephew to the Louisville game on our 10-3 season. The dome had a decent crowd, and we put on a show, and he fell in love. Unfortunately they couldn't hold his attention as they rattled of 3 straight seasons of hot, salty, garbage after that.
If we're ever going to get ahold of the youth we need to win at least 6 and go bowling consistently. Having a good year every 6 or 7 seasons will only bring fairweather fans in those seasons. Consistency will build a new generation of fans.
Right on. We will be back I am sure of it. 8 wins this year
 

RF2044

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And you had a Dad who was an expert on the state of SU. All those practice reports (FB and Hoops) helped me as a remote fan.

Those were the days!

We used to have a lot of fun going to football and basketball practice, before things got locked down. It was awesome, and a great way for us to get our fix before either season started.
 

TexanMark

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Those were the days!

We used to have a lot of fun going to football and basketball practice, before things got locked down. It was awesome, and a great way for us to get our fix before either season started.
The one downside of the coaches learning about the Internet in late 1998. The old AOL board was fun back then
 

RF2044

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The one downside of the coaches learning about the Internet in late 1998. The old AOL board was fun back then

Word! How've you been? Hope you're having a great summer!
 

DaveT

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I was there 1978 to 1982, when the Dome was built. I know we had some ranked teams. Art Monk, Bill Hurley, Joe Morris. I worked the sideline Syracuse/Pitt when Morris ran into an unpadded wall in the Dome and was hurt. The walls were padded after that. Sadly I was on the Pitt side. I was pulling cable for ABC (I think). Made $70 and got lunch in the press room. Some decent ranked teams.
 

SoBristol

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I have a long history with SU football (back to the Jim Brown junior year)- a few good runs among the decades when we were relevant in November and exciting. And spells when it was too apparent we lacked the talent to compete.

This season has the potential to be among the good ones. Low recognition in the pre-season voting (apart from Tucker), but Shrader, Elmore, Bergeron, Davis are solid pieces; the 3 LBs make up one of the better units in a long time; and the secondary is strong with a couple of stars and better depth. Apart from the DL, it looks promising with these veterans plus some underclassmen ready to help.

We need this season with Tucker and Jones to give us a bowl run. One season to remember.
 

Eric15

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The 1992 season was my coming-of-age season for SU football when I was 10 -- the Texas game specifically. I lost my mind when we ran that trick play with Graves catching a two-point conversion (and then the stands fell down)
 

elimunelson

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The 1992 season was my coming-of-age season for SU football when I was 10 -- the Texas game specifically. I lost my mind when we ran that trick play with Graves catching a two-point conversion (and then the stands fell down)
The stands falling down was all over sports center. Syracuse football was very cool in that 91-93 range. That loss Vs bc in 93 sent them in a tailspin for the 93 season which should have been a bowl year
 

TexanMark

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The 1992 season was my coming-of-age season for SU football when I was 10 -- the Texas game specifically. I lost my mind when we ran that trick play with Graves catching a two-point conversion (and then the stands fell down)
I was watching the game at a sports bar in Fair Oaks, CA. Almost got in a fight with a mouthy, arrogant UT fan. Guy was acting just like a UConn fan at MSG.
 

OttoMets

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The 1992 season was my coming-of-age season for SU football when I was 10 -- the Texas game specifically. I lost my mind when we ran that trick play with Graves catching a two-point conversion (and then the stands fell down)

Same, caught most of our televised games that year and my first in-person football game was Miami. That was all it took to get hooked.
 

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