From 1986 to 1996 the Costacos Brothers ruled the bedroom walls of sports fans everywhere.
Hi-Top HQ has spent countless man hours pouring over the Costacos library to be able to present to Hi-Topper Nation the Top 39 Costacos Brothers posters.
Now these posters are too wonderful, too amazing, too life-altering to simply rank 1-39. So instead we broken down the Top 39 into sub-categories and ranked each poster within its category*.
*some posters fall into multiple categories and are rated separately in each category
So strap on your fighter pilot helmet, grab an oversized gun and let’s get at it:
Top 12 Movie/TV Parody Posters
12. Joe Carter & Roberto Alomar
Technically yes, the words “Jays” and “Days” do rhyme but other than that fact nothing about this makes sense. Days of Thunder was a car race movie. Blue Jays are birds. The “thunder” is being represented on the poster by bolts of lightning. I’m just very confused.
11. Brett Hull
Tapping into the enormous popularity of Top Gun was a no brainer I’m sure but certainly there was another athlete in 1988 that fit better than Brett Hull. This a swing-and-miss for me here but does far better in another category later on. Stay tuned.
10. James Worthy
James Worthy does look like a lawyer so…no this is just bad. This had to be the first and only idea they could come up with. Worthy is one bland dude so I guess the Brothers didn’t have much to work with but they could have at least put him in a court room yelling at a “defendant” dressed in a Suns uniform or something.
9. Luc Robitaille
Costacos dropped the puck here. Cool Hand Luke the movie is a prison movie and a pivotal scene revolves around a poker game. The motorcycle/leather jacket motif here is lame even for the early 90s. Sorry Brothers but you should have went with a poker game backdrop.
8. Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly has his fair share of posters and some will pop up elsewhere on this list but this Hogan’s Heroes parody is pretty average fair. A nice touch including a variety Bills along with Kelly but why aren’t they all lineman or all receivers. Seems like that would have made a bit more sense.
7. Kevin Mitchel
From the eyes of 2017 this poster appears to be quite random. Why Kevin Mitchel, right? Any baseball player could have been dubbed Batman. Well Batman the 1989 movie was HUGE. Superhero movies were not a dime a dozen as they are now. But Kevin Mitchel may have been just as popular as Batman during the summer of 1989. Mitchel was hitting homers and making bare handed catches in the outfield. He was every 12 year olds new favorite player. He was the only choice to be Baseball Bat Man in 89.
6. Curt Warner
A job well done here by Costacos. From the Blade Runner font to the art direction and costume touches, every aspect in this poster is top notch.
5. Jim McMahon
McMahon made A LOT of posters in the 80s so the pickings are definitely not slim. The “Grid Warrior” line here is a bit awkward. I would have stuck to just Mad Mac so a few demerits there but otherwise this is a success. Captures McMahon’s outlaw cool personality without resorting to over the top histrionics.
4. Jim McMahon & Walter Payton
More McMahon. This time with Sweetness. This poster makes absolutely no sense but it’s still pretty awesome. They literally just changed “Miami” to “Chicago” in name only and did nothing else to make it about the two Bears players. It really should have just been a Marino/Clayton poster. Oh well I still love it.
3. Dexter Manley
Anytime you can shoehorn in the word “gridiron” you’re doing ok. The sword and lighting are well done homages to He-Man. Overall this one just works.
2. Jose Canseco & Mark McGuire
This poster hits a couple of the Costacos sweet spots. The movie title parody is well done but it’s the oversized prop baseball bats that really vault this poster to next level status.
1. Brian Bosworth
The Boz was a mid-80s phenom that can’t really be understood in these Internet times. He was more legendary outlaw than football player and that time in-between college and the start of his pro playing career held the promise of a game-changing type guy. The use of his “44” college number, the Bozkin, the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man as destroyed QBs. Seattle as the Emerald City. The stars were really aligned on this one. The Land of Boz is arguably the overall #1 Costacos Brothers creation, certainly one of the most fondly remembered.
Next Up – The Nickname Categories.
Sometimes players had established nicknames already. Sometimes the Costacos Brothers invented nicknames.
Top 9 Literal Nickname Interpretations
9. Andre Dawson
Andre Dawson is called the Hawk. Let’s put a hawk on a bat. Genius!
8. Chuck Person
Bonus points for actually making up different targets for different NBA cities. Not sure why Atlanta gets top billing though. Seems like it should have been Chicago or Boston.
7. Mike Greenwell
Even in Boston nobody wanted a Gator Greenwell poster so not quite sure how this one made it onto the production schedule.
6. Dan Majerle
You literally can’t get more literal than telling a guy named Thunder to jump and then writing Thunder’s in the Air.
5. Christian Okoye
This one straddles the movie parody line by throwing the Freddy fingers on Okoye but I think it rightly belongs here. At least they put rival Denver front and center. You gotta get the details right.
4. Xavier McDaniel
Costacos Bros #1 – “He’s the X-Man.”
Costacos Bros #2 – ” Yes but how do we represent that?”
Costacos Bros #1 – “With a laser beam X of course.”
3. Dan Majkowski
This one is a real, “You had to be there” situation. NFL stars burned bright in the late 80s but they also burned out just as quick. Oh Dan we hardly knew ya.
2. Tim Raines
Stonehenge is a bunch of rocks so…
1. Karl Malone
They could have written “The Mailman” at the bottom but they didn’t. It’s touches like that that separate the good from the great. The only head scratcher here is “The Boston’s” on the mailbox but when you think about it there are no other options. What other team name could double as a person’s last name? That’s what you call the Costacos Touch.
Top 10 Costacos Branded Nicknames
10. Jim Everett
Maybe I’m missing something here. Is there a famous General Blade that they’re referencing? This one just leaves me confused so very very confused.
9. Hershel Walker
Hershel Walker’s Pro career was underwhelming on many levels so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that nobody could give the guy a decent nickname either.
8. John Elway
I was a pretty big Elway guy, still am really. I’ll go to my death defending him as a Top 2 QB all-time. I mean if he had half the weapons Montana had….I digress…As far as this poster goes I am unaware of anyone ever calling Elway The Rifleman. Plus you already made a Chuck Person Rifleman poster. Too many Riflemen.
7. Bob Golic
Honestly how many copies did this poster sell? Couldn’t have been more than ten.
6. Kirby Puckett
I can see why they went with Wrecking Ball. Puckett was small and compact and definitely round.
5. Kenny Eisley
Both words begin with E so I guess it works. The Easley St. sign in the back is a nice touch. I’m sure there were more than few high fives when that detail was added.
4. Jim Kelly
The return of Jim Kelly on the count down. This one is obvious, obviously, but I just don’t recall anyone ever calling him Machine Gun Kelly like as a nickname. The lack of oversized props here is quite shocking. Seems like there perfect place for a gigantic Tommy Gun.
3. Chris Spielman
Get it? He plays for the Lions.
2. Mike Singletary
I’m pretty sure this poster invented this nickname but I’m not 100% positive. I know he was referred to as Samuri Mike so I’ll just assume the power of the Costacos poster was that great and it was a result of this poster’s existence.
1. Mark Gastineau
Somebody must have trademarked the NY Sack Exchange cuz that just screams Costacos poster. Instead we got…this.
Top 4 Fighter Pilot Themed Posters
4. Bernie Kosar
If there were any two words in the English language that absolutely DID NOT describe the Cleveland Browns offense it was Air Raid.
3. Louis Oliver & Jarvis Williams
And the winner of the Least Likely Guys to see on a poster goes to…
2. Brett Hull
I’m still confused.
1. Steve Largent
Somebody at Costacos just really liked setting up photo shoots with military planes. That’s the only explanation.
Top 4 ?????? Category
4. Patrick Ewing
Another victim of their own bland personality. Ewing was just too good to not get publicity but this is just a big ol’ air ball.
3. Kirk Gibson
Is Gibson hunting pitchers or games? Or the pitchers are “the game”? Ohhhh that’s a thinker. Well done Costacos. Well done.
2. Eric Davis
The oversized prop really is my absolute favorite Costacos Brothers trope. This gun is just sooooo big. And baseballs for bullets. Genius.
1. Dominque Wilkins
One of many many many Nique posters. The 21 Dunk St. sign is the pis de resistance. So good.
Honestly this is just a small sampling of the greatness that was the Costacos Brothers posters so let’s just call this Part One and to be continued…
(H/T to the Big Dogg for the suggestion)