The Most Insane Freakouts in Sports
With the advent of the Internet, YouTube and reactionary GIFs, the value of a sports freakout has never been greater.
If an athlete or coach wants to make headlines these days, all he really needs to do is go bananas during a postgame presser or completely lose control after a blown call. And since those acts are infinitely easier than winning games or scoring goals, they're performed with relative frequency and with increased dramatics.
This list spotlights some of the flagship, especially crazy freakouts that have become as familiar to sports fans as John Elway's "The Drive" or Will Mays' over-the-shoulder catch.
These are the most insane freakouts in sports.
Warning: The videos contain explicit language.
Wally Backman’s Freakout for the Ages
Warning: NSFW (explicit language)
Date: June 25, 2007
Wally Backman, who once managed the Arizona Diamondbacks for four days, argues balls and strikes the way a Red Bull-addicted teenager plays Call of Duty. The guy is absolutely unhinged.
While managing the minor league Georgia Peanuts in 2007, Backman developed a reputation for being a wee bit temperamental.
Unless you're considering a career in umpiring, this clip is today's required viewing.
Handball Player Says Nothing, Makes Powerful Statement
Date: Nov. 2012
In this clip, a handball player kisses another handball player on the cheek.
The player who is kissed reacts by shoving the kisser to the ground, while the kisser flops to the floor like Vlade Divac experiencing vertigo.
Then, rather inexplicably, the kissed stomps about the floor, drops his pants and screams at the crowd while holding his junk.
The act is just as insane on video as in text.
Joakim Noah's Parting Words
Date: Feb. 3, 2014
Joakim Noah hustles as hard as any player in the league. So, it should come as no surprise that his expletive-laden tirades are similarly heartfelt.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Bulls big man was ejected from a game against the Sacramento Kings and used his final moments on the floor to go absolutely Joakim on the referees.
File this incident under "when keeping it real costs $15,000."
Lou Piniella’s Swan Song
Date: June 2, 2007
When it comes to screaming at umpires like Sam Kinison on prescription stimulants, Lou Piniella is the bona fide godfather.
He has an expansive portfolio of psychotic meltdowns, but his impassioned ejection in June 2007 has it all: multiple hat kicks, nose-to-nose chestiness and—in the eyes of the law—borderline battery.
Is Sweet Lou managing a baseball game or getting kicked out of Slugger's after last call? It's impossible to tell, and that's what makes him awesome.
AHL Coach Needs to Cool It with the Energy Drinks
Date: March 28, 2010
In this video, former Abbotsford Heat coach Jim Playfair reacts to one of his players being thrown out of a game by smashing two hockey sticks to pieces, ripping off his suit jacket a la Hulk Hogan and staring down the referee like a bloodthirsty lunatic.
If ever a man needed a bubble bath and a hug, it's this guy.
Hal McRae's Rough Night
Date: April 26, 1993
It's easy for sports writers and fans to question a coach's strategy, mostly because we have the benefit of hindsight.
After a loss in 1993, Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae had enough of the insufferable questions and posed hypotheticals.
So he reacts, like many angered bosses before him, by kicking everyone out of his office.
Kevin Borseth’s Postgame Meltdown
Date: Feb. 29, 2009
You know your program is headed in the right direction when the team's head coach reacts to bad rebounding with demonstrative rage during the postgame presser.
This is what happens when you finish watching Coach Carter an hour before tipoff.
Phillip Wellman's Mary Tyler Moore Moment
Date: June 1, 2007
Mississippi Braves manager-turned-maniac Phillip Wellman responds to an ejection by performing a one-person adaptation of Apocalypse Now.
The show drags in the beginning but really picks up steam during the second act.
As an entire body of work, this freakout is an absolute masterpiece.
John Chaney vs. John Calipari
Date: Feb. 13, 1994
We've all seen coaches go after referees or players go after other players, but the 1993 showdown between college basketball magnates John Chaney and John Calipari is a rare, epic example of a coach-on-coach freakout.
When Chaney's Temple Owls lost by one point to Calipari's UMass Minutemen, Chaney stormed Calipari's press conference and berated Coach Cal about intimidating officials.
Now this is a SummerSlam matchup I'd pay to see.
“I’m a Man! I’m 40!”
Date: Sept. 23, 2007
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy accosts a local sports writer for publishing a story about the team's depth-chart shuffle at quarterback.
Whether he's defending one of his players or posturing for recruits, this guy can rant with the best.
"I'm a man! I'm 40!" are words that will define Gundy's tenure.
The Pine Tar Game
Date: July 24, 1983
George Brett hits a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Kansas City Royals a 5-4 lead over the New York Yankees.
However, Yankees manager Billy Martin suspects that Brett used an excessive amount of pine tar on his bat and subsequently asks to have the lumber inspected.
Home plate umpire Tim McClelland rules in Martin's favor, nullifying Brett's home run and triggering what can only be described as a psychotic episode.
If you've ever wondered what pure rage looks like in human form, check out Brett's face when he comes barreling out of the dugout.
Bobby Knight Loses His Seat
Date: Feb. 23, 1985
On merit, Bobby Knight's chair toss is the weakest freakout on this list. He basically just sends a chair across the floor, which is pretty pedestrian by today's YouTube standard.
That said, the clip has been fetishized so profoundly over the years that it's become the de facto brand logo for sports meltdowns.
Nike has its swoosh, McDonald's has its arches, and enraged sports stars have a plastic chair gliding across the Assembly Hall floor.