Well, That Escalated Quickly

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2013

Well, That Escalated Quickly

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    Image via YouTube

    Thanks to the passion fans and athletes have with sports, there are some times where we all take our love just a bit too far.

    That can mean flipping the ol' bird to an opposing player in spite, booing a referee's bad call, cracking jokes at another fan's expense or even throwing crap onto the playing surface.

    It's that enthusiasm for sports that make people absolutely insane sometimes, thinking a little less rationally than in other things in their lives—and these are just a few examples of things escalating pretty quickly because of it.

Cleveland Cavaliers Record 26-Game Losing Streak, 2010-11

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    OK, so 26 games might not have been played in just a matter of days, but seeing how the Cleveland Cavaliers went from consecutive losses to a double-digit streak, and finally, all the way to a record-tying 26-game losing streak, the thing escalated faster than anyone probably could have imagined.

    To think that professional players could actually lose that many games in a row is still absolutely shocking to me. Then again, the team was playing uninspired ball in the first season without star LeBron James—and did wind up with the No. 1 overall pick—so maybe it was just indirect tanking?

    Doubt it.

    One thing's for sure though, with just one win in-between a 10-game losing streak leading up to the historic one, no fan thought it could ever get as bad as it ended up being during those nearly two months.

Fans Showing Frustration with Referees

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    There have been a number of times fans have shown their displeasure with a ref or umpire's call, but when did throwing stuff on the field become the way to do it?

    I've always just assumed that booing the guys in blue was the way to go.

    As we saw during the Atlanta Braves-St. Louis Cardinals playoff game in 2012 though, tossing garbage onto the field became the trendy way to show the umps they really messed things up.

    Instead of keeping those $10 souvenir cups, fans thought throwing them in protest would reverse the call—it didn't work.

Fans Turning on Players

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    As a Cleveland sports fan, I personally know the heartache of seeing a star player leave town on a number of occasions—come on, though, do guys really want to play in Northeast Ohio?

    None of the names have been bigger than LeBron James, of course.

    After announcing his intentions to play for the Miami Heat, fans became arsonists, burning every single memory they had of the guy—including his Cavs jersey.

    Other cities have taken notice, as New York Yankees fans have apparently done the same now that Robinson Cano split town, while others have just gotten creative when their favorite player lets them down.

    One day a guy is loved, and the next he's nothing but a jerk. So is the life of a professional athlete.

Mike Brown Fired, 2012

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    Five games.

    Can you believe that's all it took for the L.A. Lakers to decide Mike Brown wasn't the right guy to be the captain of their 2012 ship after a 1-4 start?

    Yes, Brown was given the entire 2011-12 season to prove himself—which ended in a second-round exit at the hands of the eventual Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder—but are 76 meaningful games enough to judge a guy?

    I wouldn't think so. But then again, I'm not the one calling the shots in Tinseltown.

Auburn Fans Rushing the Field, 2013

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    As a college kid celebrating a huge victory in sports—especially one against a bitter rival with a chance to play in the national title game at stake—it's every fans' right to rush the field.

    But seeing it happen as quickly and feverishly as it did in Jordan-Hare Stadium following the Auburn Tigers' defeat of then No. 1 Alabama was like a tidal wave crashing over the shore, with 50,000 navy and orange-clad fans acting as the rapids.

    Sure, the school picked up a pretty big tab—$5,000 to be exact—but that's a small price to pay for celebrating a potential once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Tim Duncan Ejection, 2007

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    Although he is known as one of the biggest complainers, the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan is generally regarded as one of the good guys in the league.

    So it was pretty odd to see him not only pick up a technical foul, but to do so after flashing a grin following a call he didn't necessarily agree with from referee Joey Crawford, who eventually tossed the future Hall of Fame forward.

    Who knew that smiling amongst teammates could result in not only an ejection from a badass of a ref, but carry a $25,000 fine with it?

George O'Leary Fired, 2001

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    Erik Perel/Getty Images

    Here's a bit of advice for anyone who plans on applying to a job—don't lie on your resume!

    And if you happen to be going for one of the most prestigious coaching positions in college athletics, I'd really consider making sure you don't enhance any of your skills, otherwise, you might end up like George O'Leary.

    You see, after a pretty successful eight years at Georgia Tech, O'Leary was hired as the Irish's next head man in 2001.

    But when it was discovered that he was less than truthful about his experience as a college player and the master's degree he claimed to have earned from a fake university, Georgeyboy was fired from his post in South Bend, just five days after being hired.

    So next time you want to say you have better Photoshop skills than you really do, just think of O'Leary.

Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs Brawl, 2013

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    We've seen some pretty epic hockey fights so far this season—with even the women getting involved.

    But for my money, a brawl can't be considered to be great unless the goaltenders get involved, which is exactly what happened during a preseason game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this year.

    All it took was a goal, the drop of the puck and a few enforcers on the ice to make this one of the craziest scenes from a hockey game that didn't even count in the standings.

Mike Price Fired, 2003

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Once upon a time—not too long ago, as a matter of fact—the Alabama Crimson Tide football program wasn't as esteemed as it is these days.

    Then again, that's in large part because the team didn't have the best coach in college football, Nick Saban, prancing on the sidelines.

    What they did have was a guy named Mike Price, who came from Washington State University following a 14-year stint in Pullman that saw him lead his Cougars to two Rose Bowl berths in that time.

    Accepting the 'Bama job in 2002, one would think that it would be one of the best career moves a college coach could make, and that they'd do anything to keep that kind of gig.

    Not Price though, who was canned after about six months on the job for soliciting a stripper from the joint back to his hotel room while in Florida.

    Looks like Price's dream ended in a nightmare pretty damn quickly thanks to some poor decisions.

Zinedine Zidane, 2006

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    Given not only the circumstances but the stature o the player involved, the Zindedine Zidane headbutt on Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup Final is arguably one of the most shocking of athlete meltdowns.

    Sure, there was the instigating Materazzi, but for a world-class player like Zidane, who is revered in his country and was the team's captain, he should know to keep his head.

    All it took was a few harsh words about "ZiZu's" family members for him to go all raging bull.

The Malice at the Palace, 2004

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    From a hard foul at the end of a mid-November game, to a raucous, fan-involved all-out brawl, the "Malice in the Palace" between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers back in 2004 was one that no sports fan who witnessed it will ever forget.

    It's been called the hardest thing outgoing Commissioner David Stern has ever had to face during his 30-year tenure in the league, and was one of the scariest moments in American sports history.

    All because of a little shove between the players and a thrown cup from the stands.

Baltimore Colts Move to Indianapolis, 1984

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    After Baltimore Colts owner Robert Irsay had denied any wrongdoing with his franchise's plans to relocate, he went from a simple, "no comment," to packing up a moving truck and jetting out of town—during the middle of the night, of course.

    Though Irsay had been lobbying hard for a new stadium and threatened to leave town, once Indianapolis had told the owner what he wanted to hear, the organization was gone within just a matter of days.

    Even with the Ravens and two Super Bowls since 1996, Baltimore fans are still pretty bitter about the move.