Mad Men, one of the most acclaimed television dramas of this or any other era, came to an end on Sunday night. And with the exception of Betty Draper, every primary character on the show has a fairly open slate as they dive headlong into the 1970s.
Unless creator Matthew Weiner is hard-up for cash in 10 years – or dead and his son (who portrays Glen on the show) has accomplished nothing else and is hard-up for cash in 10 years – and decides to go the Entourage route and make a movie, the characters’ futures exist solely within our imaginations.
So we are putting our imaginations to work. And since this is a sports site, that involves putting some of our favorite (and least-favorite) characters into some sports-related futures.
It’s not untrue to the show, we’ll have you know. While sports has never been a prevailing theme in the series, its impact on the characters at times can’t be ignored.
Jai alai tries to use Sterling Cooper as an agency that will introduce the sport to American culture in an attempt to become the next big thing in the early ’60s. (It will have to wait for the Miami Vice opening credits.)
The rematch between Sonny Liston and the newly renamed (christened wouldn’t be the right word here) Muhammad Ali on May 25, 1965 is a central plot device of the Season 4 episode “The Suitcase.” That same episode has Don dismissing the idea of Joe Namath as an endorser for Samsonite because “He’s a rookie. He hasn’t even played a game yet.”
There are plenty more examples — in a later season, Harry Crane gets around to pitching Namath as the star of a “Broadway Meets Broadway Joe” variety show to be sponsored by Dow Chemical.
There is the ever-present Mets pennant on Lane Pryce’s wall, which Don discovers underneath a radiator or desk (I can’t recall exactly, but you get the picture) when he moves into the office in early 1969. He initially tosses it in the garbage, but then it is proudly displayed on his wall for the rest of the season. I’ve suspected Weiner was paying to the homage to the Mets themselves with that symbolism, as they spent eight years under the desk/radiator of the National League before their “miracle” World Series win that year.
There are more examples, but we don’t have all day, dammit. We’re just trying to justify the premise of this post before moving forward. And since Don always says you need to move forward…