In The Simpsons episode 1F04 "Treehouse of Horror IV", Devil Flanders summons the "Jury of the Damned" to sit in judgment of Homer. The jury consists of "Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, Richard Nixon... John Wilkes Booth, Blackbeard the Pirate, John Dillinger, and the starting line of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers."

Most of the named jury members are famous people who are known either for committing violent crimes or engaging in malfeasance in office, but I cannot figure out what is supposed to be up with the 1976 Flyers. I do know that ice hockey is often a dangerous and violent sport, but I cannot find any mention of the Philadelphia Flyers being involved in either a particularly violent incident or notable scandal in 1976.

Is the addition of the starting line to the jury supposed to be an absurd joke (juxtaposing these violent criminals, traitors, and disgraced politicians with a bunch of ordinary athletes) or are we supposed to recognize the 1976 Flyers starting line as ominous in some way?


1 Answer 1


The Philadelphia Flyers were considered the high point (or low point, depending on your perspective) of the "goon hockey" or intimidation style popular in the 1970's.

They fought - a lot. Players like Bobby Clarke and Dave Schultz had a reputation for severe violence. They played an exhibition game against the Soviet Union's Red Army team that was so violent (by the standards of international play) that the Soviet team nearly refused to complete the game and had to be browbeaten into returning to the ice.

The Simpsons' fourth season was still close enough to 1976 that the writing staff would have considered this an easy reference to catch.

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