It was the year that sports forgot to take its medication and went completely nuts. We all know the rap sheet from 1994: Nancy was attacked, O.J. was apprehended, a fat 45-year-old preacher won a share of the heavyweight title, and the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup.
Michael Jordan played baseball while baseball players played hooky. Jimmy Johnson, the coach who won two straight Super Bowls, got dumped. A judge lowered Barry Bonds's child-support payments and then asked for an autograph.
Say one thing for 1995 as we take a look ahead—it has a tough act to follow.
January. The Dallas Cowboys upset the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game and advance to their third straight Super Bowl. In an odd break from their routine, the Cowboys forsake practice before the big game and lounge on the beaches of South Florida. Many of Dallas's key players sit out the game rather than risk an injury that might force them to miss the upcoming Pro Bowl. As a result, the Cowboys lose 6-3 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. "The Steelers? What happened to the Bills?" says one Cowboy. "I thought we played Buffalo in this game every year."
January 9, 1995
Jerry Jones fires Barry Switzer and hires Jackie Sherrill.
February. As promised, the baseball owners bring in replacement players and open spring training on schedule. Funnyman Bill Murray calls a press conference to announce that he has signed a contract to play centerfield for the Chicago White Sox. The NBA sues, claiming baseball stole its idea.
March. An NCAA tournament basketball game between UMass and UCLA is interrupted when a crazed fan leaps out of the stands and clubs Minuteman coach John Calipari on the knee. The NCAA vows to increase security, but a spokesman for Temple University says that won't be necessary—next year Owl coach John Chaney will not attend the tournament.
April. On Opening Day in San Francisco, Barry Bonds of the Giants crosses the picket line and sets a record with five home runs in five at bats. Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Rosie O'Donnell wonders if Bonds was stealing signs.
On his federal income-tax form, Darryl Strawberry claims three lawyers, two shrinks and a rottweiler as dependents. He also says he is over 65, legally blind and earning $12,000 a year. An IRS spokesman says additional charges may be filed against the embattled slugger.
May. Mike Tyson walks out of prison and insists he will never fight again. The former champ says he will backpack across Europe, learn Latin and take a pottery class. The next day Don King announces a five-bout, $100 million deal that calls for Tyson to fight the Spinks brothers, Roberto Duran and two guys named Ned.
June. In Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic beats the San Antonio Spurs at the buzzer to win the title. The Spurs squander a chance to win when Dennis Rodman takes nine steps without dribbling the ball on a last-second breakaway and is called for traveling. "Hey, no one can make me play by the rules, man," says Rodman. "I'm a rebel." For the finale Rodman wears his hair up in a French twist, with a lovely bordeaux tint.
July. Three-year-old Ashley Brats-worth defeats Steffi Graf in straight sets to become the youngest female to win Wimbledon. Ashley's dad insists he wanted his daughter to have a normal childhood, but the girl had her heart set on playing pro tennis. "What could I do?" says Dad. "It's her decision." He says Ashley should be even better next year, once she is potty trained.
August. In their search for a new commissioner, the baseball owners are turned down by George Mitchell, Mario Cuomo, Dan Rostenkowski, Oliver North and Joycelyn Elders. They finally turn to the only person who will accept the position, and in his first official act, commissioner Pete Rose reinstates himself.
Tyson runs his post-prison record to 12-0 with a third-round TKO of Calvert DeForest.
September. The NFL, in an agreement with Fox, postpones the start of the season for one week to focus more attention on commentator Jimmy Johnson, who says he will make a decision on his future very soon. "I won't coach again unless an owner agrees to give me his team," says Johnson. "He has to hand over 100 percent ownership, then go home and leave me alone. I won't take a penny less. I enjoy TV too much." In Phoenix, Cardinal owner Bill Bidwill is reportedly mulling over Johnson's demand.
October. On the last day of the baseball season, Bonds hits his 178th home run of the year, but Wade Boggs falls short in his bid to hit .800, finishing at .798. "If only the Woodman had picked up the slack behind me," says Boggs, referring to Yankee cleanup hitter Woody Allen, "things might have been different."
The Cleveland Indians win the World Series. Charlie Sheen saves all four games.
November. Tyson knocks out Danny Bonaduce and accepts an offer to fight George Foreman on Jan. 22, 1998, the champ's 50th birthday. Foreman says the layoff will give him time to not get in shape.
December. Cowboy coach Jackie Sherrill tries to castrate a lion to get his team motivated for a playoff game in Detroit. The lion cats him. Jones hires Johnson as his new coach. "To be honest," says Johnson, "Jerry and I never stopped loving each other."