If misery loves company — and it surely does — then the Winnipeg Blue Bombers may be about to get a lot lonelier.
The Bombers and Los Angeles Kings have long held a dubious connection as the owners of the longest active championship droughts in their respective leagues.
The Bombers, of course, have now gone 21 seasons — the longest current drought in the CFL — since Tom Burgess, Greg Battle and Warren Hudson led Winnipeg to its last Grey Cup title in a 50-11 win over the Edmonton Eskimos on Nov. 25, 1990.
The Kings, on the other hand, are tied with the St. Louis Blues — who joined the NHL along with Los Angeles as part of the 1968 expansion — and the Toronto Maple Leafs — who won their last Stanley Cup the year before in 1967 — as the teams with the longest current championship drought in the NHL at 43 seasons.
But with the Kings leading the New Jersey Devils 3-1 in the 2012 Stanley Cup final and Game 5 set for tonight, there's a good chance the Bombers could soon have one less hapless franchise with which to commiserate.
And it's interesting all this would happen in a season in which the Bombers will set a franchise record for futility if they do not win the 2012 Grey Cup in Toronto this November.
Twice in franchise history, the Bombers have gone 21 seasons without a Grey Cup: the period between Grey Cups from 1962-84; and the current period.
One more year in 2012 without a Grey Cup to celebrate at Portage and Main and the gap will be 22 seasons — a new franchise record.
So with the Kings on the verge of snapping their championship drought and the Bombers on the cusp of perhaps reaching an all-time new low in theirs, we thought now might be a good time to take a look back at what the world was like the last time Winnipeg won the Grey Cup:
1990 and now:
THEN: 99 per cent of American households reported having at least one radio in the house
NOW: 69 per cent of Americans report having the Internet at home
THEN: The population of the world was 5.2 billion
NOW: The population of the world is 7.1 billion
THEN: One per cent of Americans use a cellphone
TODAY: 91 percent of Americans use a cellphone
Other things that happened in the world on Nov. 25, 1990, the day the Bombers won their last Grey Cup:
Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, pictured at right, wins the first ballot of Poland's first free presidential election
American race car driver Bill Vukovich III dies in a crash at the Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif.
The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers both win to improve to 10-0
The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge, connecting Seattle to its eastern suburbs, sinks to the bottom of Lake Washington in a storm
Other things that
happened in the world in 1990:
Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize and the Communist Party relinquishes sole power of the Soviet Union
South Africa releases Nelson Mandela after 27 years in prison
Iraq invades Kuwait, touching off the Persian Gulf War
East and West Germany reunite
Margaret Thatcher resigns as British prime minister
Other things that happened
in the world of sport in 1990:
San Francisco defeats Denver 55-10 in the Super Bowl
Unbridled and his trainer, Carl Nafzger, author one of the great moments in Kentucky Derby History: As Nafzger calls the stretch run for the horse's elderly blind owner Frances Genter, concluding with, "He's going to win! He's going to win! Oh Mrs. Genter, I love you!" A prolific sire, Unbridled's progeny go on to win the Derby (Grindstone, 1996), the Preakness (Red Bullet, 2000) and the Belmont (Empire Maker, 2003).
Martina Navratilova and Stefan Edberg win Wimbledon
West Germany defeats Argentina 1-0 in the final of the World Cup
Other things that happened
in Manitoba in 1990:
Premier Gary Filmon, at right, leader of a minority PC government, calls an election and picks up the six extra seats he needs to form what will be the first of two consecutive majority governments.
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dave Ellett scores the double-overtime winner to give the Jets a 3-1 lead in their Smythe Division semifinal against the Edmonton Oilers. But just as Winnipeggers think they may have finally vanquished the hated Oilers, the Jets promptly lose the next three games in a row and are eliminated. The Oilers go on to win the Stanley Cup.
Winnipeg city council votes to ban the possession of pit bulls in the city.
Pop culture in 1990
Seinfeld and The Simpsons debut
Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture
Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings wins Grammy for best record
Teams that have won the Grey Cup since Winnipeg won in 1990:
Every other team in the league — plus one more that isn't even in the league anymore — has won the Grey Cup since the last time Bombers fans partied at Portage and Main:
B.C. Lions (4)
Calgary Stampeders (4)
Toronto Argonauts (4)
Montreal Alouettes (3)
Edmonton Eskimos (3)
Saskatchewan Roughriders (1)
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1)
Baltimore Stallions (1)
Other droughts in sports
While Winnipeg has the longest current drought between Grey Cups, we've got decades to go before we equal some of sport's other great current droughts. Here's a sampling:
104 YEARS — The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was in 1908, the longest championship drought in major American sports
44 YEARS — The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup was in 1967. The Leafs are tied with the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings — both of whom joined the NHL in 1967 — for the longest current Stanley Cup drought (43 seasons).
48 YEARS — The last time a major team in Cleveland won a championship was in 1964 when the Browns won the NFL title, the longest current streak among major American cities with at least three major teams (Browns, Indians, Cavaliers)
Sports droughts that have been broken since the last time the Bombers won the Grey Cup:
Fans of the Boston Red Sox had to wait 86 years before their club finally broke the Curse of the Bambino with a World Series title in 2004
Fans in Philadelphia, who went 25 years without a major sports championship from any of their four pro sports teams, finally got something to celebrate for the first time since the 76ers won the NBA title in 1983 when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.
78th Grey Cup
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs Edmonton Eskimos
Nov. 25, 1990
Wpg - FG Kennerd 14 yards
WPG - TD Hull 11 yard pass from Burgess (Kennerd convert)
Edm - Single Macoritti 56 yard punt
Edm - FG Macoritti 37 yards
Wpg - TD Battle 34 yard interception return
Wpg - TD Tuttle 5 yard pass from Burgess (Kennerd convert)
Wpg - TD Hudson 18 yard pass from Burgess (Kennerd convert)
Wpg - TD Hudson 2 yard run (Kennerd convert)
Edm - TD Willis 20 yard pass from Ham (Macoritti convert)
Wpg - Safety West tackle on Ham
Wpg - FG Kennerd 14 yards
Wpg - TD House 56 yard pass from McManus
MVP Offence — Tom Burgess (18-31, 286 yds, 3 TDs)
MVP Defence — Greg Battle (2 INT, TD)
MVP Canadian — Warren Hudson (2 TD)
Halftime Show — Aretha Franklin
Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.