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Subject: Cultural eras for different leagues

Written By: karmew32 on 01/25/20 at 6:58 pm

I've noticed that things such as kid culture and teen culture have been classified into different eras (all those memes with things like "Early Gen X", "Core Millennial", etc.). I feel like sports eras could be classified similarly. The easiest leagues to classify, in my opinion, are NCAA Division I FBS College Football and the NBA, as those are the leagues where dynasties are most prevalent. This is assuming the primary audience are those in middle school and high school (6th-12th grade). I have classified both leagues into different generation eras, which can be seen below.


EARLY GEN X (1980-1985): Blue-bloods of the 70s settle down, programs like Georgia and Penn State get titles, Miami arrives on the scene, 1984 Oklahoma vs. NCAA television rights ruling
CORE GEN X (1986-1991): 1987 Fiesta Bowl changes the bowl system, peak of Miami's powers (The U), 2 straight split titles in 1990 and 1991 leave fans unsatisfied
LATE GEN X (1992-1997): Bowl Coalition/Alliance established, Nebraska dynasty, all 3 major Florida programs doing well

EARLY GEN Y (1998-2002): BCS established, 2001 Miami, no real dynasty team spanning entire era
CORE GEN Y (2003-2007): Carroll's USC, peak of the Big East, 2006 Rose Bowl, 2007 season of chaos
LATE GEN Y (2008-2013): Saban's Alabama, golden age of mid-majors (Boise State/TCU/Utah), Alabama-LSU rematch

EARLY GEN Z (2014-2018): CFP established, Clemson rises as a challenger to Alabama
CORE GEN Z (2019-202?): Joe Burrow, much more to come

-The 1986 season could be either Early or Core Gen X. The biggest attitude shift from the early 80s to the late 80s was the fact that the latter half of the decade was more focused on who was the national champion, in large part thanks to the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.


EARLY GEN X (1979-1987): 3-point line introduced, Magic vs. Bird rivalry
CORE GEN X (1987-1993): Bad Boys Pistons, first half of the Bulls dynasty, NBA moves from CBS to NBC
LATE GEN X (1993-1998): MJ's first retirement Rockets repeat, second half of the Bulls dynasty

EARLY GEN Y (1998-2004): MJ's second retirement, Shaq-Kobe Lakers, Twin Towers Spurs, NBA moves from NBC to ABC
CORE GEN Y (2004-2010): Shaq-Kobe feud leads to Shaq going to Miami, Boston Big 3, Lakers-Celtics renaissance
LATE GEN Y (2010-2014): Miami Big 3, Dirk gets his ring, Derrick Rose, peak of the Thunder, Spurs' last hoorah

EARLY GEN Z (2014-2019): Cavs-Warriors rivalry, KD joins the Warriors, Kawhi takes the Raptors to the top
CORE GEN Z (2019-202?): LeBron on the Lakers, Giannis Antetokounmpo, much more to come

-While 1998-2004 and 2010-2014 were clear-cut eras thanks to the presence of dynasties that presided over those periods (Shaqobe Lakers and Heatles, respectively), 2004-2010 was almost like two eras in one: 2004-2007 and 2007-2010. If I were diving the 1998-2014 period into two parts instead of three, then 2007 would absolutely be the dividing line.

As you can see, both leagues have had plenty of memorable moments across all eras. I personally can't wait to see what the future holds.

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