Jeter, Gretzky and the 50 Greatest SportsCenter Commercials in History

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2011

Jeter, Gretzky and the 50 Greatest SportsCenter Commercials in History

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    Da-na-na...na-na-na.

    We all know this tune, we all know where it comes from.

    It's the eighth consecutive SportsCenter on ESPN that you've watched since waking up at 6 a.m., not wanting to get out of bed and find the remote.

    You'd think it would be enough to drive one insane.

    But we watch. Religiously. Constantly.

    Thankfully, embedded in the often repetitious episodes, are gems—the commercials for SportsCenter.

    So, before we hear the theme music again, let's see which spots made our Top 50.

50. This Is How You Make a Drink

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    Golf legend Arnold Palmer, with caddy in tow, shows Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott the right way to make an Arnold Palmer Iced Tea.

49. Tradition

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    USA Soccer star Jozy Altidore brings the long standing soccer tradition of exchanging jerseys after a game to Bristol.

    Josh Elliott is less then pleased that Altidore picked him.

48. Puns Can Be Fun

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    Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summit exhibits incredible self control in not attacking Kenny Mayne.

47. Fear the Beard

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    Josh Elliott and Jay Harris learn the secret behind San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson's beard.

    The look on Harris' face is priceless.

46. Sports Science

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    Indianapolis Colts Defensive End Dwight Freeney is the subject of an experiment by ESPN's "Science Guys."

    Jay Harris happens to walk by and notice the unfortunate situation Syracuse University's mascot, Otto the Orange, finds himself in.

45. Best Two out of Three?

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    Former Buffalo Bills Quarterback Jim Kelly and his NFL Hall of Fame jacket meet the Blue Blob, one of Xavier University's mascots.

    Things end up pretty much like the four Super Bowls Kelly played in.

44. I Thought This Was Another Gillette Commercial?

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    New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter searches the ESPN locker room for the inconspicuous person who used his razor.

43. Uncomfortable Silences

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    Scott Van Pelt and Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer share some quiet time at lunch.

    I can picture Van Pelt doing something like this in real life.

42. Sizzlin' Bacon Action

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    Chad Ochocinco...no, Chad Johnson brainstorms with the SportsCenter anchors on what his new touchdown dance should be.

    One wonders why Steve Levy wasn't nominated for an Emmy Award with his deeply moving performance.

41. Is It Dark in Here?

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    A San Diego Chargers running back at the time, current New York Jet LaDanian Tomlinson lets us in on a day in the life of a ESPN Mail Room clerk.

    I have to admit, it bothers me when people refer to Tomlinson as  "LT." To me, there's only one "LT," and that's Lawrence Taylor.

40. Where's the Pit Crew?

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    NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson performs some emergency construction on ESPN's parking lot.

    Steve Levy wonders why someone would park a Saturn in two spaces.

39. C'Mon Ref!

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    Anything that makes me think of the movie Office Space is OK in my book.

    Here, USA Soccer star Landon Donovan finds out just how maddening the office copy machine can be.

38. Please Leave Your Message After the Beep

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    San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum can't find the right words for his new greeting on his voice mail.

    Who knew he had a nickname besides "The Freak?"

37. Wrong? Why Would Something Be Wrong?

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    Undefeated Floyd "Pretty Boy" Mayweather gets in a workout at ESPN's studios.

    Brian Kenny finds out exactly what Mayweather's motivation is.

36. Fatalities During the Home Run Derby

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    Texas Rangers' slugger Josh Hamilton finds out how some were affected by his impressive showing in the Home Run Derby at the 2009 All-Star Game.

35. Integrity

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    Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann show us just how far they will go to bring viewers the most up to date information.

34. Show Me the Money!

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    Drew Rosenhaus shows off his negotiating skills for two potential new clients.

33. That's Nasty

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    Current New York Knick Carmelo Anthony learns the hard way that lending anything to Scott Van Pelt is a bad idea.

32. The Three Amigos

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    Steve Levy and Jay Harris take notice of the outfit choices by Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics.

31. Mr. Peterson's Office

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    In his first of two appearances on the list, Vikings' Running Back Adrian Peterson gets an assistant.

    Knock Knock!

30. Ghostwriters

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    John Anderson reveals who has actually been writing his lines for SportsCenter...the immortal Stephen King.

29. Nyet Comrade, Nyet.

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    Steve Levy walks in on Washington Captials' superstar Alexander Ovechkin and questions his motives.

    Capitals' goalie Seymon Varlamov lends a helping hand.

28. Dance Lessons

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    New York Mets shortstop gives Karl Ravech and John Anderson a quick lesson on how to dance the merengue.

    I love Anderson's reaction after the music starts.

27. This Is a No Parking Zone

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    Michael Andretti tries to do the chivalrous thing for Suzy Kolber, only to be impeded by Chris Berman.

    Berman's maniacal laugh is priceless.

26. Taking Cues from the Great One

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    NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky tries his hand at directing.

    The SportsCenter anchors look like they can't wait until Gretzky gets back to hockey.

25. I'll Take the Next One

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    One of the simplest commercials ESPN has produced, Jay Harris runs into the New Jersey Devils' mascot in the elevator.

    Harris makes a choice, probably the right one.

24. Poor Charley

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    Charley Steiner is tormented by the Harlem Globetrotters before going on air.

    I could see something like this actually happening to poor Charley.

23. Does Anyone Speak Spanish?

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    Steve Levy and Jay Harris observe Manny Ramirez, hoping to witness "Manny Being Manny."

    Hilarity ensues.

22. Who Invited That Guy?

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    New York Mets third baseman David Wright, Neil Everett Scott and Scott Van Pelt discuss their plans for the evening.

    Wake Forest's Deamon Deacon steals the spot without saying a word.

21. This Is Why We Don't Ask for Directions

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    At some point, your girlfriend, wife or significant other will ask you why you refuse to stop and ask for directions.

    John Anderson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. show exactly why men don't stop and ask.

20. We're Going to Need That

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    Scott Boras has a new client...Scott Van Pelt.

    Here is a rare look inside the tense negotiations for a SportsCenter anchor.

19. Don't Call It a Comeback

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    ESPN reveals their state-of-the-art, technologically superior alert system for when a certain quarterback announces whether he's staying retired or not.

    Good to see the UMass Minuteman get some air time.

18. Running Lines

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    Dan Patrick explains that the catchphrases they use take time to come up with, while Kenny Mayne gets some extra work in.

    Yahtzee!

17. Bribery Will Get You Everywhere

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    Athletes will do just about anything to get their names on SportsCenter, and ESPN caught a few on camera.

    Who remembered that Mike Tirico had a full head of hair at one point?

16. Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

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    Charley Steiner learns that it's not always a good thing for your co-workers to know what your favorite sport is.

    Otto the Orange is the victim of more senseless violence.

15. Memories

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    Thanks to Steve Levy, Dan Patrick realizes that he's not quite over Keith Olbermann leaving ESPN.

    Cameo by Mr. Met.

14. What's My Name?

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    Glenn Robinson makes it clear to Keith Olbermann that you do not want to mess with Glenn Robinson.

    What's my name?!?!

13. Stay Motivated

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    Fitness guru Richard Simmons swings by the ESPN offices to get the SportsCenter anchors in shape and ready to go.

    For some strange reason, Ohio State's Brutus Buckeye is taking part as well.

12. Shame on the Game

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    NBA Legend George Mikan waxes poetic about how ESPN has changed the game of basketball...for the worse.

11. PED's

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    Scott Van Pelt has a rough day at the office and lets out a great line. I don't recall hearing people use nearly enough after this aired.

10. It All Depends on Your Point of View

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    Two words.

    Helmet. Cam.

9. Crikey!

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    John Anderson is saved by the late Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter," as they run into University of Florida mascot Albert E. Gator.

    Crikey!

8. Breaking in the New Hat

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    This commercial is legendary and was my all-time favorite until I started putting together this piece.

    Red Sox fans undoubtedly would have had the same reaction as Wally if David Ortiz ended up a Yankee.

7. Tough

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    Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann discuss the true meaning of toughness...

    ...while applying their makeup.

6. If It Can Happen, It Will Happen

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    In his only appearance, Chris Berman explains how, since SportsCenter is broadcast live, you always have to be prepared for the unexpected.

    Once again, Syracuse's Otto the Orange gets involved.

5. SportsCenter Cares

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    Dan Patrick and company, along with some NBA players, show the children of Bristol a camp experience they'll never forget.

    Yes, that is that Jayson Williams.

4. Nicknames

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    Adrian Peterson explains the origins of his nickname, "All Day," leading to a revelation about Scott Van Pelt.

    Peterson can barely keep a straight face through this.

3. Is This Part of the Tour?

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    John Anderson leads a tour group through ESPN studios.

    Nothing like brotherly love and a father's glare to make things interesting.

2. Watch Your Mouth

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    Both in their rookie seasons, Keyshawn Johnson and Kobe Bryant are summoned to attend the ESPN Rookie School.

    Their professors?

    Stuart Scott and Kenny Mayne.

1. Back in My Day...

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    For years, I always considered the Jorge/Papi commercial the best one ever, but after watching this one, I felt compelled to put this at No. 1.

    The legendary Gordie Howe gives Keith Olbermann a lesson in old time hockey.

    Maybe it's because I'm not much of an Olbermann fan, but I think this is hysterical.