The 50 Worst Overreactions in Sports
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There was a time when rough wake-ups were made less painful by several clicks of the remote. An eager switch to SportsCenter would offer juicy rumors, magical highlights and intelligent debate. Nowadays, our screens are flooded with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless over-analyzing the Tebow-Sanchez friendship and scrutinizing LeBron for smiling the wrong way. And there's the occasional Eli vs. Peyton chatter thrown in for good measure.
But media coverage as a whole isn't the only overreaction in sports. Plenty of passionate athletes, angry coaches and boisterous commentators continue to add unnecessary (although sometimes preferable) flavor to situations that don't call for it.
Excessive celebrations, historic rants, beer-tossing brawls. We've seen it all. Let's recap the 50 juiciest overreactions in sports.
Slowly-drying paint has never been so exciting.
50. Boston Fumes over Wes Welker's Butterfingers
Image via baltimoresportsreport.com
Sticky-fingered Wes Welker dropped perhaps the most crucial Patriots pass of Super Bowl XLVI, and many New York fans were eager to applaud him.
But Pawngo returned the favor, dropping 1,000 butterfingers in Boston to thank the sure-handed receiver. Hilariously potent.
Should've been one million of them to detail the chances of such an occurrence.
So you're saying there's a chance...
49. Jim Schwartz Is Shaked by Jim Harbaugh's Hand
Two young teams collide in the heat of the moment, tension-filled electricity still permeating throughout Ford Field. Then comes beastly Jim Harbaugh with the handshake of the century, and an accidental post-shake shove.
In mere seconds, Lions coach Jim Schwartz clings to respect like Jeff Van Gundy hung on to Alonzo Mourning's leg in 1998, barely.
48. Gus Johnson's Historic Spasm
Most of us remember the image of Adam Morrison crying after his Gonzaga team squandered a 17-point lead to UCLA during the 2006 NCAA tournament. What we may have forgotten was the barbaric call from the legendary Gus Johnson.
The man's vocals are as rhythmic as Miles Davis' jazzy tune and as climactic as Morgan Freeman's narration, and he always manages to propel any type of moment into the record books. Breathtaking.
47. Tiger Woods' Provocative Side
Golf is meant to be a peaceful game, one of grace and patience. Tiger Woods gives the microphones a different angle.
The question remains, whose side did his third-person perspective take during arguments with Elin Nordegren?
46. Serena Williams' Racket Rage
The dominant Serena Williams couldn't contain herself in the heated 2011 Finals, but she did speak with elegance. I truly despise you. It almost provokes a smile.
Williams would later (in the video) tell reporters she didn't remember what was said. Believable, but frightening.
45. Dennis Green Motivational Eruption
Then 1-5, the Dennis Green-led Cards would eventually succumb to failure and finish 5-11. And their head coach would be fired following the season, with one year left on his contract.
But the former Iowa halfback would leave his carving on the Arizona franchise. Squandering a 23-3 lead in the fourth quarter to the Bears would give any coach chills. For Green, it was more like adrenaline.
44. Rivaldo Dabbles in Acting
We get the art of flopping, but if the ball hits you in the knee perhaps you should grab your knee and not your face. Just a thought.
Brazil's Rivaldo was once a great footballer, then came that ball to the knee.
43. Jim Mora Questions the Postseason
(Introducing life as a Mets fan, it's a painful experience.)
After his Colts fell to 4-6 in 2001, a furious Jim Mora gave arguably the greatest gridiron rant of all time. Overreacting to a reporter's curiosity is like blaming water for being wet. Useless.
42. Jim Everett Gets Revenge
Losing all his confidence in a sack-filled 30-3 defeat to the 49ers in the 1989 NFC Championship Game was tough enough for quarterback Jim Everett. But having media blowhard Jim Rome refer to him as Chris (like female tennis player Chris Evert) made things far more frustrating for Everett.
When his agents were called regarding an ESPN interview, Everett jumped on the opportunity. It would get ugly when he realized Rome was the featured host.
Table-tossing was a creative route.
41. John McEnroe Gets Too Serious
Such a boyish tantrum locked in the annals of history forever. Perhaps the rant that cemented John McEnroe's colorful legacy.
Opponent Tom Gullikson could only watch in awe at '81 Wimbledon.
40. Ryan Leaf Rejects Friendship
Calm down bro, it's not their fault you're a failure under center. The poor media always gets the backlash.
A couple more hugs could've helped former second-overall bust Ryan Leaf.
39. John Calipari Goes Top-10 on SportsCenter
Let's take a breather, sit the next few plays out perhaps.
John Calipari took the John Cheney route and enthusiastically spit his true feelings at John Buccigross. Not the biggest fan of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it seems, but thanks for the laugh. Oh, and don't turn down the Donnie Iris.
38. Mike Singletary Prefers 10
For all the losses, Mike Singletary still built a potent unit in San Francisco. His talented pack could never find a winning formula until Jim Harbaugh arrived, but Singletary planted the seed for prosperity.
Vernon Davis had to be inspired. Yet Singletary's claim for 10 players may have been outrageous, albeit hard-nosed. Chill time for the Hall of Fame backer.
37. A Heated Disrespect
Potent stuff, huge legs...nicely said, Skip.
Cool, calm and collected Dirk Nowitzki never deserves this type of mockery, this type of "vintage 16-year-old stuff." We believed in his runny nose.
But this is where ESPN First Take steps in and takes unimportant issues and makes them headline-worthy news. Let's take it down a notch or three.
36. Jack Nicholson's Broadcasting Prowess
Before he nearly had an aneurysm, Jack Nicholson showed off his white-boy hops. Brilliant raw footage.
The Lakers' No. 1 fan hasn't shined this bright since The Shining. Zing.
35. Gus Johnson Strike's Again
Gus Johnson once again ignites our eardrums with his eloquent announcing, yet this time we're left wondering.
If Titans tailback Chris Johnson is one of the few with "get away from the cops" speed, those must be some fast policemen. On the other hand, Gus can make the growing of grass sound exciting.
34. Rob Gronkowski Takes to Twitter
Image via tucsoncitizen.com
Rob Gronkowski's Kodak moment with porn star Bibi Jones conquered the web faster than fast-actin' tinactin, but that's not what has us intrigued.
The pic became fodder for media members worldwide, though nothing actually "happened" between the two smiley celebrities. “I wish something happened but nothing did," said Jones.
Gronk's biggest drop yet.
33. Living the Dream
Step aside streaking, interrupted goals are the new fad.
Fans yearning for the spotlight as usual.
32. Joe Buck Is Disgusted with Randy Moss
It didn't seem like such a heinously-disgusting act when it first appeared on screen (considering he didn't actually moon the crowd), but after further review...yeah, Joe Buck is still epically unnecessary.
This is just the wide receiver style, nothing personal Buck.
31. Clemson Fandom at Its Finest
Looks like our Friday nights as Knicks fans.
A heartbreaking loss to Georgia Tech in '09 gave this Clemson fan the coverage of his life. The commentators enjoyed a lengthy this-is-epic-and-he's-tweeting-filled ramble.
30. A Nassau Nightmare
For linesmen gracing the Nassau Coliseum ice on February 11, 2011, Penguins vs. Islanders became dinner and a show.
After Pittsburgh's Maxime Talbot leveled New York's Blake Comeau in concussion-resulting fashion nine days earlier, the Islanders were set for vengeance. 17 fights to be precise.
Sucker punches, flooded corner scraps and angry goalies. 346 penalty minutes doesn't properly detail the bloody mayhem.
29. Derek Anderson Gets Chippy
That's fine. That's fine. Lois. Lois. Mum. Mum.
According to quarterback Derek Anderson, cameras were off in their translation of the exchange. He wasn't smiling, merely taking [stuff] seriously.
28. Hank Williams Jr. Makes the Biggest Political Mistake Ever
This interview slowly becomes a rake on a chalkboard. Painful and numbing.
Hank Williams Jr.'s lack of eloquence goes far beyond words. Either get him a muzzle or an education.
27. Rex Ryan Fires Up Snack Time
For most of us, eating is this exciting. But without specifying the snack, Rex Ryan's ferocious request can only inspire so much.
Less snacks, more cowbell.
26. Ray Hudson's Legacy
You had us at Bonkers.
Former midfielder Ray Hudson shows us that enthusiasm can cloud any lack of understanding. In other words, we have little idea as to what he's saying half the time, but his tone forces us to nod in agreement.
He is the best the pitch has to offer.
25. Oakland Jumps on Carson Palmer
Marc Serota/Getty Images
At 4-2, the future looked bright for the fiery Raiders...until solid, yet unspectacular quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone suffered in Week 6 against the Browns.
With a playoff berth somewhat in sight, Oakland decided to mortgage the near future on couch-potato Carson Palmer, who seemed ready to embrace retirement as a real option (after the Bengals refused to trade him).
But a 2012 first round pick and a conditional 2013 first round pick was steep for a 31-year-old tree who hadn't touched the gridiron in weeks. First sign of things to come, an 8-8 record in 2011.
24. Mike Tyson Gets Lyrical
After knocking out Peter "Hurricane" McNeely in a mere 89 seconds, blossoming heavyweight Mike Tyson took to the mic for some ferocious vocals.
Lennox Lewis would soon learn that Iron Mike's style was actually impetuous and his defense somewhat impregnable, but that he didn't actually eat children.
A rivalry sparked.
23. Brian Cushing's Helmet Chuck
A little toying and poking from Browns lineman Shawn Lauvao forced linebacker Brian Cushing into breast mode.
Rip the helmet off, step up to the plate and slam heads. Oh wait.
22. Bobby Knight Gets Tired of Sitting
Purdue vs. Indiana, February 23, 1985, five minutes remaining, tensions fuming.
Foul call on Indiana's Daryl Thomas following a loose-ball chase forces legendary Bobby Knight into one of his masterful tantrums. Chair tossing, classy.
21. Introducing Comedian Stevie Johnson
Let's be real, if Stevie Johnson is getting fined for mocking Plaxico Burress, then every player who Tebows should also be subject to a $10,000 ticket. Just a thought.
Our favorite celebration was when Johnson pretended to drop a game-winning touchdown against the Steelers. Wait.
20. Izzy Alcantara Ruins Martial Arts
What starts out with a solid-form karate kick becomes a disgrace full of flailing and missing.
Former outfielder Izzy Alcantara left his carving on the game of baseball when he ended catcher Jeremy Salazar's day early. An underwhelming six-game suspension followed.
19. The Man, the 40-Year-Old, Mike Gundy
Now that we've cleared up the official age of manhood, we can dissect Mike Gundy's colorful lecture. Defending his quarterback from an Oklahoman article was admirable, but the humorous approach was historic.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Gundy has toned down since.
18. Owen Schmitt's His Own Worst Enemy
Now that he's in Oakland, Owen Schmitt's insanity can finally be appreciated. The Black Hole will instantly love him.
True grit from the heady fullback.
17. George Brett Gets Pinned for Pine Tar
With the Royals trailing the Yanks 4–3 in the top of the ninth inning of their historic 1983 bout, Kansas City great George Brett hit a two-run home run to put his squad ahead. But manager Billy Martin had other ideas.
His request to have Brett's bat examined more closely for pine tar paid off, as he was called out. Yankees win.
Of course the Royals also took the protest route. American League president Lee MacPhail eventually "ruled that the pine tar did not impact the home run" (h/t SanDiego.com). On August 18, the last four outs of the ninth inning were replayed, with Kansas City securing a 5-4 victory. A mind-boggling finish.
16. Bill Gramatica's Notorious Celebration
Karma strikes again.
After hitting a 43-yard field goal against the Giants with less than eight minutes remaining in the first quarter of a regular-season game, a jubilant Bill Gramatica couldn't contain his excitement. He would lead the 5-7 Cards to greatness!...
Out for the season. Arizona finishes 7-9.
15. Woody Hayes K.O.
One of the greatest coaching careers in history came to a screeching halt in 1978, when frustrated Ohio State legend Woody Hayes knocked himself out of college football.
With the Buckeyes losing by two points in the waning moments of the '78 Gator Bowl and in field goal range, freshman quarterback Art Schlichter was picked off by noseguard Charlie Bauman in heartbreaking fashion.
Hayes was not pleased, and, after Bauman was tackled on the Ohio State sideline, gave his young opponent several solid swipes before being restrained by his own players. He was fired the next day. He never coached again.
14. Gus Frerotte Uses His Head
This just in: concrete hurts.
Since his head-butting, Pro-Bowl 1997 season, Gus Frerotte has found himself battling for parts of the pine.
The eventual journeyman looks back on the excessive celebration that ruined him.
13. Pete Rose Banned from the Hall
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
We're not condoning his bets, but if steroid-associated players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are going to have a shot when they possibly cheated the game, Pete Rose deserves the first nod.
Substance abuse improves performance, gambling on one's own team does nothing to enhance or worsen play. His name was Charlie Hustle for a reason, now let the 4,256-hit man in.
12. Terry Tate Trucks Teammates
Terry Tate has been warming our hearts since first introducing himself during the 2003 Super Bowl.
Every office needs a fiery backer to keep slackers and rule-breakers in line. He's simply an enforcer, it's 100 percent heart, baby.
He even teaches marginalism in his spare time.
11. Kris Humphries Becomes a Kardashian
Image via getpeachy.com
Despite a prenup and a ridiculous 72 days of marriage already scripted, the Kardumphries divorce continues to drag on in embarrassing fashion.
Considering this relationship was probably never real, it's amazing it got more sports coverage than the 1980 Miracle on Ice. We're done keeping up with the two-headed monster dubbed Kardumphries.
10. Hal Mcrae Goes for Gold
While being questioned following a 5–3 loss to the Tigers in 1993, Royals coach Hal McRae bit the bait and engaged in the most memorable minute-and-a-half of his life.
It wasn't even complete until his 360-degree phone-toss 45 seconds in. 10s across the board.
9. Malice at the Palace
Things were hot from the start during this '04 game between the Pistons and Pacers. They began to spark when center Ben Wallace shoved the former Ron Artest. They ignited into flames when a fan tossed an unknown drink at Artest (an ice cube the final straw, perhaps?).
Pure mayhem, $10 million in forfeited paychecks and 146 games worth of suspensions would result.
8. John Cheney Doesn't Take Defeat Lightly
After his 13th-ranked UMass team upset No. 8 Temple by one point in February of 1994, John Calipari received the lashing of a lifetime from frustrated coach John Chaney during the routine press conference.
A quintessential Goosefraba moment.
7. Tim Tebow Turns Water into Coverage
Image via yardbarker.com
One small step for Tim Tebow, one giant leap for media-kind.
We hadn't seen the country so enamored since Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Tebow's rainy prance across the field detailed the status of today's sports coverage.
6. Kellen Winslow's Battle Cry
5. The Case of Chi-Town's Steve Bartman
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Nearly nine years later, it's time to accept the truth. Steve Bartman's foul-ball attempt did not ruin the Cubs during the '03 NLCS against the Marlins.
Perhaps the most scrutinized fan moment in baseball history deserves to be released. Then-Chicago ace Mark Prior said it best.
"...We had chances to get out of that situation. I hung an 0-2 curveball to [Ivan] Rodriguez that he hit for a single. Alex Gonzalez, who's a sure thing almost at shortstop, the ball came up on him. We still had some chances to get out of that inning, and unfortunately we didn't execute and things just snowballed from there."
4. Phillip Wellman Makes a Memory
Step aside Lou Piniella, we've got former Braves skipper Phillip Wellman in the house.
A three-game suspension seemed worth the visual masterpiece. It had all the makings of a Broadway hit.
3. Remembering Andres Escobar
In doing what any defender would do in that situation (prevent the ball from scampering across the middle of the box), Andres Escobar made rare history. His own goal would secure a 2-1 upset U.S. victory over the heavily-favored Colombians.
And it would cost Escobar his life. Passion got the best of his country.
Humberto Castro Munoz, a bodyguard for a heavy Colombian cartel, was charged with his murder. But mystery remains.
2. Suzyn Waldman Ignites the Rocket
1. David Bennett Rains Cats and Dogs
Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett tried to motivate, educate and story-tell all at the same time last year.
The reigning Big South Coach of the Year had us at "Twelve cats live across the road, our door's open, screen's broke."
Bennett would make a legendary Southern preacher.