Newsflash: If you have a job talking about sports and you're not actively attempting to shoehorn pop culture references into your broadcasts, you're doing it wrong.
That's not necessarily true, actually. Trying to squeeze offbeat material into sports broadcasts can be an awkward and ugly affair—but there is potential for beauty.
The following is a rundown of times when sports personalities tried their hand at working references into their work. Some were more sly than others, and a few didn't even attempt subtlety.
You'll laugh, cry and by the end, you'll probably be watching The Big Lebowski.
The Reference: "Does anybody know how to post videos to Facebook??"
Chicago Bulls color commentator Stacey King is becoming a legend in the catchphrase game, and his call back to an AT&T commercial on this Taj Gibson alley-oop somehow managed to turn a weak advertisement into an awesome turn of phrase.
The Original: Here's the original line on a 15-minute loop. Enjoy that.
The Reference: "This is The Dude, Donny and Walter's favorite team: Bowling Green."
I'll never think of Bowling Green the same again after ESPN's Neil Everett called it the preferred team of The Big Lebowski's main characters. Never.
Also, it's heartening to know that the Neil abides.
The Original: Warning: Video contains NSFW language.
The References: "I'm sure you've heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates—morons compared to these guys," and many other references.
These are grown men spouting off line after line of Princess Bride material on a football show, and they have nothing but my utmost respect.
This is the stuff of legends.
The Reference: "And then the smoke got me!..."
Sneaky? Not exactly.
Stuart Scott didn't exactly ghost this reference in there, but anytime you get to scream Sweet Brown lines over Peyton Manning highlights—you take that chance.
The Original: OH, LORD JESUS, IT'S A FIRE.
The Reference: Too many to count.
A man after my own heart, WHS 11 sportscaster Adam Lefkoe continues to crank out pop culture-themed sports reports that simply boggle the mind.
Lefkoe's reports to date have included old-school wrestling references, a Seinfeld-themed report and, my personal favorite, a five-minute sports update featuring 46 old-school rap innuendoes.
Picking a favorite out of these is like choosing which of your children you like best, but if I had to select one I'd go with, "Apparently cash doesn't rule everything around Stevie."
You have to respect it when a broadcast professional steps to the Wu.
The Original: "C.R.E.A.M." by The Wu-Tang Clan
The Reference: "[Jeremy Lin] was cooking with some hot peanut oil!"
ESPN's Jorge Andres was attempting to make a Duck Dynasty reference, but a remark he made during this Jeremy Lin highlight reel came off as racist to certain SportsCenter viewers.
Andres apologized for the "peanut oil" reference and tweeted that he had been trying to allude to an episode of Duck Dynasty.
The Original: Phil Robertson coined the phrase "Now we're cooking with peanut oil" on an episode of Duck Dynasty.
The Reference: Pretty much every Ron Burgundy line you've ever heard.
Paul Gerke, a sportscaster for the KIVI news team in Boise, Idaho, dressed up as Ron Burgundy and managed to make it through an entire sportscast and weather report.
He wasn't sneaking these references in there, mind you. He was slamming them home, one after the other. While obvious and a bit tiresome at the start, Gerke picked up momentum as the segment went on and dropped some priceless lines after commandeering the station's weather forecast.
It should also be noted that Gerke didn't break character once, and for that he deserves the finest of scotches.
The Original: The glassiest case of emotion
The Reference: "Timmayyy!"
John Anderson and Stuart Scott have been known to refer to Tim Duncan as Timmy from South Park from time to time.
Are they a bit too old for this behavior? Hardly. Once you're into it, you can never grow out of the humor of Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
The Original: Vintage Timmy
The Reference: "That's bush league."
The day John Buccigross doesn't sneak a reference into his ESPN segment is the day I don't want to be on this earth any longer.
If you're tragically unaware of his tendencies, Bucci is a constant wheeler and dealer of social memes and references, perhaps only surpassed by coworker Neil Everett in terms of their total number of lines dropped per broadcast.
This particular Buccigross gem is another Ron Burgundy quote from Anchorman, which continues to be a staple touchstone for broadcasters of all ages.
The Original: "AUDREY!"
The References: "Go Phish..." "The Big Ball Jam!" "You enjoy myself..." "It's his version of the Rotation Jam!" "There's Joy in San Diego!"
A devoted Phish phan, ESPN anchor Neil Everett decided to step through the door and unload a number of Phish-related references during his recap of a game between the Rockies and Padres.
Phish frontman Trey Anastasio had thrown out the first pitch, thus clearing the way for Everett's less than subtle remarks. The Lizards approve, Neil.
The Original: Too many to explain here, but the "Rotation Jam" involved Trey and the gang playing "Musical Chairs" with each other's instruments.
The Reference: "She's sending the message: 'Tread lightly.'"
Tennis announcer Kevin Skinner had a mission: Demolish the standing record for Breaking Bad references dropped over the course of a single sporting event.
Assuming the previous record probably hovered around, I don't know, zero, I think it's safe to say Skinner accomplished his mission. The man dropped 13 Breaking Bad references in one match and thoroughly confused the three unfortunate people left who haven't seen the show.
The Reference: "Beat him like a rented mule!"
PTI's Michael Wilbon borrowed a line from Pittsburgh Penguins radio legend Mike Lange while explaining Sidney Crosby's dominance over Alexander Ovechkin.
There's no shame in borrowing from the "king of the catchphrase."
The Reference: "MEOW."
Thomas DeCoud isn't a sportscaster, but it doesn't matter. The Atlanta Falcons safety managed to pull off one of the most monumentally sneaky pop culture references in sports broadcast history.
The video of the incident is now canonized in ESPN lore, but if you haven't heard about it, DeCoud got away with playing the "Meow Game" from Super Troopers during a live, on-air interview.
As stated, he isn't a member of the sports media, but the sheer level of sneakiness he maintained throughout the course of this interview (until the final, declarative "MEOW!") is enough to warrant his placement on this list.
The Reference: "Santiago had no code."
All of his life, Hector Santiago has probably had to deal with drunken weirdos making reference to his code—or lack thereof.
I'm sorry, Hector. As long as your last name remains "Santiago" and people continue to enjoy topical comments about military dramas from the early '90s, these things will continue to happen.
The Original: "Private Santiago is dead, and that is a tragedy. But he is dead because he had no code. He is dead because he had no honor."
The Reference: "Guacamole."
The ESPN personality anchoring this edition of SportsCenter decided to end his Angels-Mariners recap with the word "guacamole"—an entirely random George Takei reference.
Takei is a man who can say anything and make the phrase ooze coolness, and I will support any occasion when an ESPN anchor throws in an impression of Sulu.
The Original: Takei saying "guacamole" on the The Howard Stern Show.
Warning: Video contains NSFW language.
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