25 Shortest Tempers in Sports

Amber Lee@@BlamberrSports Lists Lead WriterJune 28, 2012

25 Shortest Tempers in Sports

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    The intense competition of professional sports can bring out the best and worst in an individual. The behavior and demeanor of athletes tends to fluctuate depending on the level of success, or lack thereof, on the field of play. 

    Emotions are always running high, but some athletes and coaches control theirs better than others. It's easy to keep your cool when things are going well, but someone's ugly side can be quick to appear when things take a turn for the worst. 

    Let's take a look at the 25 shortest tempers in sports.

25. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers's temper only manifests itself on the field. His dustups with former division foe Jay Cutler were legendary, but you can see that Rivers's temperature is always set to boil for game time. 

    It's such a change from his ridiculously mild-mannered self off the field. 

24. Kyle Busch & Tony Stewart, NASCAR

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    For years, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart were two of NASCAR's most explosive and volatile drivers. Perhaps they're getting older or wiser, or perhaps they've just physically exhausted themselves after wreaking all that havoc.

    They have been noticeably more civil in the last two years, but given their collective past, an incident is always just one bad break in a race away. 

23. Warren Sapp, NFL Network

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    During his time in the NFL, Warren Sapp was one of the scariest dudes in a league stacked with scary dudes. Sapp was known for his big mouth and hot temper. 

    Apparently that temper wasn't just limited to on the field of play; Sapp has been making headlines recently for wanting to fight free-agent tight-end Jeremy Shockey. 

22. Mike Milbury, NBC Sports

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    While playing for the Bruins back in 1979, Mike Milbury showed his Beantown-brawn by engaging in a brawl with fans in the stands where he famously took a fan's own shoe and beat him with it. 

    Apparently Milbury hasn't grown out of his old self altogether because he was accused of assaulting a child at his son's hockey game in December, 2011. Chargers were eventually dropped, but there's no question an altercation of some sort took place, and Milbury's temper was likely a contributing factor. 

21. Stephen Jackson, San Antonio Spurts

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    The infamous Pistons/Pacers brawl is often attributed solely to Ron Artest. It may have been Artest that got the ball rolling, but teammate Stephen Jackson didn't hesitate to jump right in once the fists started flying. 

    Jackson, like Artest, has been on a number of teams over the years and has incurred suspensions for various offenses. Jackson is a hostile malcontent who has never been signed as a free agent by the same team twice.

20. Andy Roddick, Tennis

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    The fact that this video is titled "The First Andy Roddick Meltdown!" should tell you something about Roddick's penchant for losing his marbles. Maybe it's the stress of winning his first and only Grand Slam of his career so early?

    Over the years, Roddick has been a racket-smashing lunatic who always has something to complain about. In September 2011, it was the wetness of the court that drew his ire. 

19. Tiger Woods, PGA

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    When things are going well for Tiger Woods, he lets you know it. He really can't help it—a big (sometimes smug) smile, the unmistakeable swagger and the trademark Tiger uppercut after making a big shot—all dead giveaways. 

    Conversely, when things are going not so well, Woods is even easier to read. The look of abject misery on his face, swearing audibly from the greens and occasionally chucking or kicking his club in disgust are all angry Tiger staples.

18. John Tortorella, New York Rangers

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    Hockey is a pretty violent game where physicality and even fighting aren't frowned upon or discouraged—they're both preferred. So it's hard to classify many in the NHL as having a "bad temper," because it's just a function of the game.

    Rangers coach John Tortorella is one of the few high profile figures in the game whose short fuse and cranky disposition are routinely on display. Tortorella's temper behind the bench is one thing, but his absolute disdain and hostility towards the media during the 2012 NHL playoffs absolutely crossed a line. 

17. Carlos Zambrano, Miami Marlins

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    For awhile (then) Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was one of the most high profile hotheads in any sport. Zambrano's antics and epic ejections were the stuff of legends.

    Perhaps he's cooled off in Miami, or perhaps the Marlins just get less attention than the Cubs, but Zambrano hasn't been in trouble for awhile.

    The suspense is terrible; I hope it'll last.  

16. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

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    Watching Celtics superstar point guard Rajon Rondo in the 2012 NBA playoffs, I couldn't help but shake my head after most games. This is the guy the Celtics were reportedly considering shipping off because they were sick of his attitude or moodiness?

    There's no question that Rondo has a temper; he did get physical with a referee during the playoffs and incurred a one game suspension for it, but he's worth the occasional headache. Just keep him away from the media after a particularly tough loss. 

15. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

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    Thanks to the arrival of Cam Newton in Carolina, Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith experienced an unexpected resurgence in a career many believed was finished. Perhaps Newton may even help Smith rewrite his legacy in the NFL too. 

    Smith has stayed out of trouble in recent years, but early in his career, he earned a reputation as the NFL littlest big man—mostly because he wasn't afraid to cheap shot someone twice his size. Smith's temper has gotten him into trouble on numerous occasions, but the worst of it was his film-room fight with a teammate in 2002, which resulted in criminal charges against him.  

14. Nyjer Morgan, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Nyjer Morgan's stint with the Brewers has been a relatively peaceful one...for Nyjer Morgan. Maybe he's even found his forever home! Aside from a recent incident with a Reds fan where he shoved his glove in the face of a fan trying to disrupt the play, Morgan has kept it together in Milwaukee. 

    Morgan's time in Pittsburgh and Washington wasn't quite as peaceful. Even for basement dwellers like the Pirates and (then) Nationals, Morgan's penchant for inciting bench clearing brawls, appalling way with the local media and the willingness to engage fans (in bad ways) was too much. 

13. Serena Williams, Tennis

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    Tennis legend Serena Williams may say she doesn't love the game and never thought of herself as an athlete, but over the years, she has sure played like a woman with passion. 

    Williams has been in trouble on a number of occasions for her actions on the court, but her most famous incident came in 2009. Williams channeled her inner John McEnroe while disputing a call at the U.S. Open and reportedly threatened to kill the line judge, earning her an immediate disqualification. 

12. Todd Haley, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    I actually didn't realize that the somewhat diminutive looking Todd Haley had such an explosive temper until he was hired by my Steelers. Which is odd because I watch a lot football each week, but I guess Cardinals and Chiefs games aren't broadcast much in my area. 

    Turns out though, Haley is kind of a lunatic. Personally, I don't really have any problem with his style, but I don't think it's suited for a head coaching position in the NFL. He's best as a coordinator or maybe a head coach in college, where that whole Nick "The Nicktator" Saban approach plays better. 

11. Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

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    For about a minute during the 2012 NBA playoffs, the Knicks' abysmal performance against the Heat wasn't the top story. Instead, the top story was Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire's ill-fated postgame run-in with a fire extinguisher! Not exactly the best way to deflect the heat. 

    Stoudemire wasn't really known as a player with a particularly short fuse, but his recent incident with a fan on Twitter proved he's got just that. Stoudemire responded to a fan's criticism with a homophobic slur, which cost him a public apology to the idiot-fan and a $50,000 fine. 

    The situation for Stoudemire in New York is tenuous at best; let's hope he finds a better way to deal with his building frustration. 

10. Mario Balotelli, Manchester City

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    Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is widely regarding as one of the most volatile and unpredictable athletes in the world. Balotelli is definitely known to have a temper, but he is just as likely to be found doing something inexplicably strange or exceptionally generous. 

    Balotelli has been in trouble before for altercations with teammates and opposition. Most recently Balotelli was "gagged" by one of his Italian teammates after scoring a goal against Ireland at Euro 2012

    Leonardo Bonucci explained that he only took the action because he couldn't understand what was being said in English and didn't want to risk Balotelli's mouth getting him in trouble. Probably a good idea.  

9. Ron Hextall, Retired NHL

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    As a Pittsburgh native and a proud Penguins fan, it's a rare day when I admit my love for anything associated with Philadelphia. The one exception to that has to be my undying love for retired Flyers goalie Ron Hextall—one of the greatest characters in the history of sports. 

    Goalies aren't known to mix it up much, but Hextall lived for it, and his on-ice antics are the stuff of legends. For Hextall, inciting an on-ice brawl, chasing down a player who scored on him and even scoring a goal himself, were just another day at the office. 

    If you don't know much about Hextall, I suggest you hit the Googles. 

8. Milton Bradley, MLB Free Agent

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    Doesn't this picture of Milton Bradley say all there is to say about this guy? Bradley's career in baseball was just over 10 years, and he played for eight different teams during that period. He was suspended regularly for things like inciting brawls, making physical contact with umpires and throwing things at fans. 

    And that's just on the field stuff; as if it weren't bad enough on its own, Bradley has also been arrested on more than one occasion for very ugly incidents with his wife.  

7. Bobby Knight, Retired Coach

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    Legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight is known as much for his many national titles as he is for his viscous and uncontrollable temper. And that's a very generous assessment of his legacy. Knight spent three decades boiling with rage on the Indiana sidelines before being fired in 2000 after a player claimed he was choked by the coach. 

    Throughout his career, Knight had been known to get physical with players, fans and anyone else that had the misfortune of landing in his eye-line, so the claim seemed more than plausible. At the time, school officials were probably relieved that Knight didn't hit the kid over the head with a chair. 

    The claim turned out to be a set-up, but Indiana had grown tried of Knight's antics over the years and stood by the decision to get rid of their long-time coach. He briefly returned to coaching, but retired for good in 2008. 

6. Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers

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    Many thought that Metta World Peace was just a kinder, gentler reincarnation of Ron Artest. For quite awhile it seemed that MWP had cleaned up his act once and for all, but Ron Artest made and ill-timed appearance for the Lakers right before the start of the 2012 NBA playoffs.

    Late in the season, MWP was slapped with a seven game suspension for a flagrant foul (see: viscous elbow to the dome) of the Thunder's James Harden. The incident reminded everyone of Ron Artest's role in the infamous Pacers/Pistons brawl years back and his various other transgressions over the years. 

5. John McEnroe, Retired Tennis

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    When it comes to temper tantrums, nobody does it better than tennis legend John McEnroe. In the late 70's and 80's, McEnroe was one of the greatest players in the game, but his achievements in the sport were, and still are, often overshadowed by his belligerent behavior on the court. 

    McEnroe racked up countless fines, suspensions and ejections for smashing rackets, his menacing demeanor and heated exchanges with umpires. Despite this all being commonplace, McEnroe always seemed genuinely surprised when he got in trouble for something, "You cannot be serious!!!!!!!"

4. Lou Piniella, Retired MLB Manger

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    This list could have been nothing but baseball managers, but their behavior is so outlandish sometimes that it seems more like a contrived spectacle than born out of true rage. But the recently retired Lou Piniella is definitely the exception.

    Either he was truly an unhinged maniac who could blow his top at any moment, or he's one of the greatest actors ever. Piniella retired with around 70 ejections as a manager, which is only half of former Braves manager Bobby Cox, but that makes the actual rage all the more believable. 

3. Joey Barton, Queens Park Rangers

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    Queens Park Rangers' midfielder Joey Barton's short fuse and violent temper have gotten him in trouble on so many occasions, it's a wonder he's not in prison. Well, it's a wonder he's not in prison currently; in the past Barton had served 77 days of a six month sentence for assault. 

    Barton's conduct off the field has been dubious, but he hasn't exactly checked his bad behavior at the door professionally. In June 2012, Barton was fined six weeks wages and stripped of his QPR captaincy for his part in an altercation with an opponent during the final day of the Premiere League season.

    Barton's latest incident comes just weeks after being arrested in Liverpool for fighting during a night out with his girlfriend. 

2. Kurt Busch, NASCAR

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    NASCAR's Kurt Busch has finds himself in hot water fairly often and his suspensions for bad behavior date back as far as 2005. Busch has been prone to belligerent outbursts over the years, and just recently he incurred a one-race suspension for making threatening comments to a reporter. 

    That wasn't the first ugly run-in with a reporter; in 2011, Busch was fined $50,000 for a profanity-laced rant directed at an ESPN reporter. After that incident, Busch said he was seeking help with his anger management issues. 

    He should ask for his money back. 

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr., Boxing

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    Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be undefeated in the ring, but his temper has cost him outside the ring. Mayweather has been known to fly off the handle, particularly in matters regarding Manny Pacquiao. He's taken to the internet to vent his rage about his nemesis on more than one occasion. 

    It's in his personal life that Mayweather's temper has the tendency to land him in jail. In recent years, he's been arrested for theft, assault, battery and other various charges stemming from a number of incidents. Currently, Mayweather is serving a three month sentence for domestic violence.