I don’t know how to put this, but professional sports personnel say some of the dumbest and sharpest things. Some of the sharpest quotes, quips and observations come from athletes and coaches along with some of the dumbest. Let’s take a quick look at the smart, entertaining and profound. In a clever one-liner that should possibly offend sports writers, Mike Ditka once said “What’s the difference between a three week old puppy and a sports writer? In 6 weeks the puppy will stop whining.” No flies on me, folks, that’s funny. Another gem comes from football player, coach and executive Jim Finks, who once cleverly commented “I’m not allowed to comment on lousy officiating.” Jim, good sir, I see what you did there. Another executive, this time from the NBA, Mr. Pat Williams once commented of his team “We can’t win at home. We can’t win on the road. As general manager, I just can’t figure out where else to play.” Muhammad Ali, one of the most quotable sports figures of all time, had some sharp quips but my favorite is by far, “I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing and the shadow won.” MLB players have also had some clever lines, such as pitcher Tug Mcgraw, who, when asked if he preferred grass or Astroturf, responded “I don’t know, I’ve never smoked Astroturf.” Brilliant!
On the other hand, there could be binders full of sports quotes that should have been thought out before being vocalized. Bill Peterson, the long-time football coach of Florida State once told his players “Ok, all you guys line up alphabetically by height.” I wish I could have been there to see what they did. Tracy McGrady, the basketball player, once admitted “my career was sputtering until I did a 360 and got headed in the right direction.” Switching to commentators for a second, Speed Channel host Bob Varsha once commented of F1 drivers that they have “one foot on the brake, one foot on the clutch and one on the throttle.” T-Mac and Varsha just made honest mistakes, but they’re still funny. Jeremy Roenick was one of the best hockey players of the mid to late 90’s, but he did once say “Yeah, I’m cocky and I am arrogant. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a nice person.” He should be complimented, as that’s a hard thing to pull off. John “Captain Obvious” Madden has to make an appearance here. He once argued “Hey, the offensive linemen are the biggest guys on the field, they’re bigger than everybody else, and that’s what makes them the biggest guys on the field.” He is Captain Obvious but that’s the worst thing you can ever say about John Madden, what a guy and what a career! Finally, coming back to baseball: legendary Yogi Berra has often been laughed at for once saying “90% of the game is half mental.” People laugh, but do the math, he was just saying the game is 45% mental. Half of 90% is 45, he crunched the numbers!
With all that said, one of the best days for dumb sports quotes is the legendary Super Bowl Media Day. These are legendary, and rather than athletes getting chuckled at, it’s the reporters, asking mind-bogglingly silly nonsense who get the laughs. The inspiration for this article came when an old quarterback of mine mentioned Doug Williams being asked “How long have you been a black quarterback?” This is an urban legend that is based in truth. By based in truth, I mean something which mentioned Williams being both African American and a quarterback was asked, but there are differing accounts of what the actual question was. It was either something to the effect of “Would it be easier if you were the second black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl?” Or it was asked by a reporter who knew Williams well, and asked “Doug, you’ve been a black quarterback all along, when did it become important” (this is the most likely one, found through ESPN). Here are 10 of the dumbest questions ever posed to NFL players at Super Bowl Media Day!
“Beast Mode” Lynch won Media Day this year, because “he’s all about that action, boss.” If you’re not familiar with the finer points of the Super Bowl Media Day, basically they let any media outlet in and it’s a big pseudo journalism gongshow. Obviously, there are stupid questions posed to athletes all the time, not just on media day, so add your favorite in the comments section if necessary, but we chose media day because it has some of the most memorably ridiculous moments.
10. Super Bowl XXIII – Joe Montana: Why do They Call you Boomer?
This one is kind of a cute story to start out and you can’t really blame the reporter who tossed out this question. He was a Japanese reporter who (I’m guessing) may not have done enough of his homework prior to showing up. He asked Joe Montana: “Joe, why do they call you “Boomer?” Of course in that year, the quarterback for the opposing team was Norman “Boomer” Esiason.
9. Super Bowls XXIII and XXVII – Detron Smith and Emmitt Smith: Fashion Questions
A reporter asked Detron Smith, the Broncos’ fullback from Super Bowl XXXIII, “what size of panties would you wear?” It’s funny, this is the exact question I posed to a guy in a biker bar years ago. Unfortunately, I woke up the next day missing a few teeth in a gutter without my keys, wallet and shirt. I doubt the reporter suffered a similar fate.
Emmitt Smith was asked by Julie Brown of MTV, “What are you going to wear in the game on Sunday?” Equally ridiculous.
8. Super Bowl XLII – Tom Brady and Others: Will you Marry me?
TV Azteca’s Ines Gomez Mont (pictured above) showed up to media day years ago in a wedding dress and asked several players to marry her while interviewing them. Tom Brady is definitely the most memorable because he had just traded in Bridget Moynahan for Gisele Bundchen, and upon being told by Gomez Mont that she was “the real Miss Brady,” he responded: “I have a few Miss Bradys in my life.” Class act, how can you not love a guy like that?Is it stupid to ask Tom Brady to marry you, if you’re an attractive woman? Well, maybe not, he is a fit dude with more money than God, but at Media Day, maybe it’s a little silly to show up in a wedding dress and start proposing, but good for her for being entertaining and good looking.
Tom Brady was also asked at an earlier Super Bowl Media Day, “Tom, what is your purpose in life?” I’m still waiting for the answer Tom….
7. Super Bowl XLVII – Dennis Pitta: On a Scale of 1-10 how Ticklish are you?
Pitta received this question at media day a couple of years ago and responded with “I’m probably a 5 or a 6, you know, moderately ticklish, good question.” Some players and coaches actually seem to get a kick out of the silly questions. Tom Coughlin once said, as he prepared to field questions on media day: “Nice to be back in the dunk tank!” Another coach who had some fun during his media say appearance was Bill Belichick, who actually fielded a question from comedian Artie Lange, posing as a reporter. Lange said: “Ed Davenport, Minnesota Star: How would you fix the Timberwolves?” Belichick laughed and answered “I don’t know too much about that, I’m more of a football guy,” to which Lange responded “Just kidding, Pam Oliver, CBS Sports.”
6. Super Bowl XXXIV – Joe Salave’a: What is your Relationship with the Football?
“I’d say it’s strictly platonic.” That’s a good answer but it got me thinking, what other relationships could a football player have with a football? Obviously professional comes to mind, but so does adversarial if we are talking about a running back who is dealing with a fumble streak or a wide out with alligator arms. On the other hand, a quarterback who is launching 50 yard TD passes game in and game out without fail might just answer romantic. Salave’a’s answer was still pretty clever though.
5. Super Bowl XLIII – Larry Fitzgerald: Who has Better Hair, You or Tony Polamalu?
No, that’s not a typo, they called the Steelers’ safety Tony. No disrespect to Fitzgerald, but the answer to this is simple. It’s Troy Polamalu, without any shadow of a reasonable doubt. Has Larry’s hair won him any endorsement deals with reputable hair product companies? No. Not to say that Fitzgerald doesn’t have a solid mop, it’s just that Troy’s hair is iconic. What does this have to do with football? Not much but it’s media day and anything goes!
4. Super Bowl XXII – Mark May: How Does it Feel to be Blocking for the First Black Quarterback to Play in the Super Bowl?
So there was some slight historical confusion over what was said to Doug Williams. There is no confusion about what was said to his O-lineman, Mark May. Doug Williams stated that he was fed up hearing about race by this point, but we have to wonder how the guys watching his back felt about it at this point. Mark May was a black man at the time and continues to be a black man to this day. This question seems almost to be insult on top of insult. “Hey Mark, some people used to think people of your race weren’t capable of playing the QB position, but now that that’s been disproven, how do you feel being one of his personal bodyguards? Good for you!” Overall, however, it’s doubtful that this question was meant with any ill will, and most likely seems more offensive 25 years later than it would have been at the time. Still, it seems a bit patronizing.
3. Super Bowl XV – Jim Plunkett: Jimmy, Jimmy, I Want to Make Sure I Have This Right. Was it Dead Mother, Blind Father or Blind Mother, Dead Father?
This one isn’t so much dumb or stupid, it’s just insensitive and more than a bit socially awkward given the casualness of the question and the subject matter. Jim Plunkett had, during his interview, told the story of growing up with both of his parents being blind. His father had also recently died. A reporter, who had arrived late and missed much of the interview asked this question. Good on him for making sure his story was accurate, but his accomplishment of the task was humorously inelegant at best.
2. Super Bowl XLVIII – Shaun Phillips: Is This a Must Win Game?
I don’t really know how this happens…even the Japanese journalist who asked Joe Montana why he had the nickname “Boomer” had to know that the last game of the playoffs is a must win game.It would make sense that if a publication or media outlet were to send someone to the Super Bowl, they would give the person a quick briefing. Other funny questions asked during the 2014 Media day included “who has the smelliest farts in the locker room?” and whether Peyton Manning would be on SNL that week. I still think this one takes the cake. Wow, no wonder Beast Mode wanted out.
1. Super Bowl XXXIV – Kurt Warner: Do You Believe in Voodoo and Can I Have a Lock of Your Hair?
This is technically two questions but my limited knowledge of the practice and theory of voodoo tradition and mysticism makes me think they might just be related. Warner’s response was a calm, cool, collected “No.” I guess sports gambling does that to people, someone has a few more dollars riding on the Super Bowl than in the bank and all of a sudden they are willing to try anything, including voodoo dolls to get the edge in the big game. With all these silly questions in consideration; Media Day sounds like a great time. Who among us can say we haven’t committed the odd verbal typo or brain fart question. I wonder if The Richest would pay for me to go there in 2015.
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