Worst Guarantees in Sports
Athletes and coaches are insanely competitive and spend a good chunk of their off-field time talking into a microphone. When you combine a homicidal desire to crush opponents and a platform, you get a recipe for precarious guarantees.
This list focuses on the sports stars who have attempted to put their money where there mouth is, only to choke on the large number of paper bills lodged in their throats.
From victories promised and squandered to bets placed and negated, these are the worst guarantees in sports.
Lane Kiffin Goes Lane Kiffin in Tennessee
"I'm really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee. For instance… singing 'Rocky Top' all night long after we beat Florida next year. It's going to be a blast."
A college coach's first order of business is to pander to fans and alumni with some disingenuous banter about embracing the school's "traditions."
But Lane Kiffin's ode to Knoxville in 2009 included a shot at the University of Florida, which just so happened to vaunt a preseason No. 1 ranking.
Tennessee, as you'd expect, opened its SEC schedule with a 10-point loss to Florida and finished the season with a 4-4 record in the conference.
Kiffin might've been singing "Rocky Top" all night long, but it would've been by himself in a Wal-Mart parking lot with a bottle of Wild Turkey in his lap.
Carlos Zambrano Defies the Curse of the Billy Goat
"I believe this year I will win the Cy Young and I will enjoy that. And besides that, we will win the World Series."
Wrigley Field has been a bastion of misery since William Howard Taft was President of the United States, but credit Chicago Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano for flouting a century of despair.
Prior to the 2007 season, Zambrano said that he would win the Cy Young award and that his team would win the World Series.
Unfortunately, neither prediction was realized and the Cubs were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Anthony Smith Challenges Tom Brady and the Unbeaten Patriots
"We're going to win, yeah, I can guarantee a win."
In the throes of an eventual perfect regular season for the 2007 New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed that The Black and Gold would snap Tom Brady's 12-game winning streak.
That Sunday, Smith and the Steelers' secondary were torched for four touchdowns in a 21-point blowout loss.
You don't want to make Tom Brady angry. You wouldn't like to play him when he's angry.
Joey Porter Makes a Bold Claim Against the Hapless Oakland Raiders
“We will win Sunday.”
As a football player, you know your team's having a pathetic season when you're guaranteeing regular season wins over the Oakland Raiders.
And things are really sad when those ironclad promises result in 35-17 blowout losses at home.
Behold Joey Porter's pitiful existence in 2007, a year in which the Miami Dolphins finished with a 1-15 record and gave up five total touchdowns to Daunte Culpepper and the Raiders at home.
Courtney Paris Puts Her Scholarship on the Line
“Obviously, I don't have $64,000 waiting, but I do make good on it."
It's never a good idea to gamble, particularly when you're a D-1 athlete and the NCAA prevents you from earning an income.
During the 2008-'09 season, Oklahoma women's basketball player Courtney Paris promised to refund her scholarship if the Sooners didn't win a national title.
However, Oklahoma would fall to Louisville in the Final Four, leaving Paris with a needlessly generated $64,000 debt.
Lucky for Paris, Oklahoma's athletic director Joe Castiglion didn't intend to collect.
Jon Kitna Declares 2007 the Year of the Lion
“I'll keep to myself what I think we actually will win. But it's more than 10 games.”
After starting off the season 6-2, Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna's prediction of 10 wins seemed Nostradamus-like.
But betting on the Detroit Lions is like betting on Ashton Kutcher at the box office, which is to say an efficient way to destroy one's credit score.
Kitna and the Lions would go on to lose seven of their final eight games, ending the year with a 7-9 record.
Not so Fast, T-Mac
“It feels good to get in the second round.”
After leading the underdog Orlando Magic to a 3-1 playoff series lead over the Detroit Pistons, Tracy McGrady opined that it "feels good to get to the second round."
However, the Pistons would go on to win three straight games by a combined 61 points, leaving McGrady to watch the '03 NBA playoffs from his living room couch.
There's a lesson here, kids.
Wyoming Football Coach Guarantees Victory, Loses by 50 Points
“Find the crow and I'll eat it.”
Prior to a 2007 game against Utah, Wyoming coach Joe Glenn guaranteed a victory.
Glenn's bravado quickly turned to shame, however, as Utah took a 40-0 lead into the half.
En route to a 50-point blowout, Utah attempted an onside kick in the third quarter, eliciting a middle finger salute to the sideline from Glenn.
After losing his cool and the game, it's safe to say that Glenn will limit his future predictions to who will win The Voice Season 6 and the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Nick Saban Addresses the Alabama Rumors
"I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
In Nick Saban's defense, addressing rumors about future employment while coaching an NFL team has to be exasperating.
But it's hard to look at this picture and quote without laughing like a lunatic on nitrous oxide.
If you're going to be this conniving, then you have to be good.
And—fortunately for Saban—he is to coaching what Gandalf is to wizardry.
Matt Hasselbeck’s Coin Toss Promise
“We want the ball, and we’re gonna score!”
After winning an overtime coin toss, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck declared, "We want the ball, and we're gonna score!"
Moments later, Hasselbeck threw an interception to Green Bay Packers cornerback Al Harris, who returned the errant pass for a touchdown.
Every playoff loss hurts, but this one had to be excruciating for Hasselbeck.
Dan Gilbert Lashes out Against LeBron James
“The Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA title before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one.”
After his marquee player decided to "take his talents to South Beach," Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert fired off a memo in Comic Sans font.
The letter read like the pitiful final stand of a heartbroken teenager, but the thesis was pretty clear: The Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before LeBron James.
How's this prediction going so far, Dan?
This is why you don't text when you're drunk or say things when you're upset, particularly when the integrity of your words depends on the on-court performance of J.J. Hickson and Anderson Verejao.
Trainer Has a Bigger Mouth Than His Horse
[on Big Brown winning the Triple Crown] "I feel like it's actually a foregone conclusion." - Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.
Shortly before Big Brown's attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1979, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. effectually called his horse a lock.
But, like the old saying goes, you should never bet on a sure thing.
Big Brown didn't just lose the Belmont Stakes, he finished dead last.
Does anyone know a good crow recipe? Because Dutrow's going to have to eat a lot of it after this one.