Living in, or cheering for, Chicago sports teams hasn’t been all that bad in many of our lifetimes per say. We have the current Blackhawks of the 10’s, the White Sox of the 00’s, the Bulls of the 90’s and of course the Bears “Shufflin’ Crew” of the 80’s.
There was that decade right before the 80’s which was not exactly a golden era for Chicago sports.
You should consider yourself lucky if you were not around for Chicago sports in the 1970’s. It’s easily the darkest and most depressing era.
Were there any championships in any sport for Chicago in the 70’s? No.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some good seasons in the 70’s, but there were far more that just flat out sucked. There was disappointment, let-downs and losing — lots of losing.
We are probably going to piss off a bunch of older Chicago fans with this one, especially those who grew up in the 70’s, but the truth hurts. Everyone remembers their childhood and teenage years as the ideal time period and the peak of culture whether it is sports, movies, television or music.
Let us look back at the 70’s with a non-biased point of view.
The 70’s gave us wonderful things like Star Wars, Jaws, Queen, Aerosmith, All in the Family, Taxi Driver, The Godfather, M.A.S.H, The Ramones, Van Halen and Superman the Movie. Things in Chicago sports were less than wonderful though.
Which Chicago team and fan base the hardest time in the 70’s?
First Up: The 70’s Blackhawks
Number of Stanley Cup Wins (Hockey Reference): Zero
Number of Stanley Cup Finals Appearances: Two
Number of Playoff Appearances: Ten (every season during the decade)
Number of Losing Seasons: Two
Players of Note: Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Tony Esposito, Dennis Hull, Keith Magnuson, Pat Stapleton, Pit Martin, Doug Wilson
The Blackhawks were by the far the most successful Chicago team of the 70’s. They made two Stanley Cup Finals appearances (1970-71, 1972-73), but lost both times to the Montreal Canadiens. The Hawks also made the playoffs every season in addition to having a winning record eight years out of ten in the 70’s.
Great players like Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito and Keith Magnuson were a huge part of the Blackhawks in the 70’s and were fun to watch.
Bobby Hull left in 1972 for a bigger payday as the Blackhawks were not paying him much in true Bill Wirtz fashion. Other key players walked in the years following the two Stanley Cup Finals Appearances. The Blackhawks won a few more division championships, but were always knocked out of the playoffs early.
Tony Esposito was a rock in the net, but his brother Phil was one of the best players in the league. Blackhawks fans had to deal with the fact that he was dealt away from Chicago in a stupid trade and was winning Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins.
Bruins star Bobby Orr came over to the Blackhawks in 1976 at the age of 28. There were super high hopes that did not pan out as Orr was injured and only played in 26 games for Chicago.
Stan Mikita and Keith Magnuson both retired after the 1979-80 season.
The Blackhawks had a good decade, but it was filled with disappointment and crushed hopes. They were the most successful Chicago team of the 70’s though.
It gets much worse…..
Up Next: The 70’s Bulls
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