Biggest Temper Tantrums in Sports History

Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

Biggest Temper Tantrums in Sports History


Biggest Temper Tantrums in Sports History


Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

Let’s be honest, we all get a subtle enjoyment any time someone loses their cool. Whether it be our children, a stranger at a store, or even better…a professional athlete. Fortunately for most of us, we aren’t in the spotlight, so our personal lapses of judgment are largely undocumented. 

To quote one of my favorite albums of all time by Modest Mouse, I’m here now to provide you with “Good News for People Who Love Bad News”. 

These outbursts of emotion will live in infamy. Whether these athletes (or coaches) like it or not, we will never forget. I’ll spare you the LeBron James blowup recently because it has been everywhere (but it was glorious). Let’s all take a second to appreciate those who have lost their cool for our enjoyment. 

In no particular order, I present to you my personal favorite meltdowns in sports history. Enjoy. 

Antonio Brown

CTE is no joke. People are all equally important, and I truly hope that Brown is mentally stable. That said, his meltdown against the New York Jets was truly epic, and I sparingly use that word. 

Of course, there are two sides to every story, so who knows what the true root cause was here. Regardless, it was as elite of a tantrum as I’ve seen since my three-year-old lost his mind about me not buying him candy. At a shoe store. Let’s break this one down. 

Late in the third quarter of a Week 17 matchup against the Jets, Brown completely lost it. He ripped off his shoulder pads and shirt, then threw his shirt into the crowd. He then proceeded to run to the end zone and start doing jumping jacks, then walked into the tunnel throwing up the “peace” sign to the crowd. Truly bizarre behavior, and it was certainly a unique situation. If you haven’t seen it, this is a must-watch. 

John McEnroe

During the 1981 Wimbledon, McEnroe was arguing with the chair umpire, Edward James. He had a ball that was called out, he believed it was in, and hilarity ensued. His famous line “You cannot be serious” could be heard to every ear in the crowd. 

The announcer even sided with McEnroe, believing that the ball was, in fact, on the line. Shortly afterward, he tells James, “you guys are the absolute pits of the world”. James then awards a point against him, and the crowd cheered. 

McEnroe goes on to demand a new umpire, while continuing to berate James, calling him an “incompetent fool” He was infamous for his meltdowns, and this one was just fantastic. 


Lou Piniella

In August 1998, while managing the Seattle Mariners, Lou Piniella lost his cool. Much like McEnroe, he was well known for his antics and tirades when things didn’t go his way. In this instance, he had a legitimate gripe, but that hardly matters. 

As he was known to do, Piniella ripped off his hat when running onto the field to argue. He then proceeded to throw his hat, kick it repeatedly as he crossed the field back toward the dugout, then eventually throw it into the stands. Ken Griffey Jr. (among others) can be seen laughing hysterically from the dugout. Of all the tantrums “Sweet Lou” threw in his career, this one was my favorite. 

Seattle Mariners vs Cleveland Indians (8-26-1998) “Lou Piniella Flips Out”


Jim Everett

Everyone knows who Jim Everett is, right? Well, maybe not for anything but this moment. Jim Rome calls him “Chris”, and Everett was not pleased. There had been a history of Rome calling him “Chris”, and he takes exception to it. He voices his frustration with it, and things reach a boiling point with Everett telling Rome “You probably won’t say it again”, at which point Rome says “I bet I do”, then again calls him “Chris”. 

Everett proceeds to flip the table over, shove Rome and grab him by the shirt, and things may have gotten much worse if staff hadn’t intervened. Comedy at its finest. Rome has always toed the line, and this time it almost ended very poorly for him. It wasn’t a poor ending for us, I’ve watched it a ton of times and it never gets old. 

Mike Gundy

Gundy made headlines and will always be remembered for this rant. He takes exception to an article that was written about one of his players, Bobby Reid. He claims that 75% of the article is false, and that the writer is out of line. He goes on to say that the writer has no children, or they wouldn’t have written the article. 

He then calls the editor of the newspaper “garbage”. This is where we get the infamous line, “I’m a MAN! I’m 40!” He ends the interview with another great one-liner: “Makes me want to puke”.

Truly an all-time classic. 

Lloyd McClendon

In June 2001 as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, McClendon had a rough day. He was arguing a call at first base, and paid homage to Piniella by taking the first base bag. Following his ejection, he throws his hat, continues to argue, then goes over to first base and just rips the base out of the ground. He takes it into the dugout and chucks it down the steps. 

He may want to be remembered for his playing career, but no such luck. This is the moment we all remember from McClendon. 

George Brett

Yet another famous sports icon who had a temper was Brett. He hit what may have been the game-winning home run against the New York Yankees in July 1983. What happened next was the best part. The Yankees asked for the bat, and the umpires inspected his bat to determine if he had used pine tar above the permitted area on the bat. 

The home plate umpire determined that the pine tar was illegal, and called Brett’s home run an out. Brett completely lost it, and the Kansas City Royals lost the game as a result. Brett needed to be restrained by multiple umpires and teammates. 

Umpires ran into the dugout to chase down whoever took the bat so that they could send it to the League Office. A wild, wild scene that has never been replicated. To happen on the last out of the game, no less? Priceless. 

Carlos Zambrano

Chicago Cubs fans were enamored with Zambrano. He was a solid player for a while for the club, but he also provided fans with some truly fantastic outbursts. After arguing a call where he believed he tagged out a runner at home plate, Zambrano truly lost it. 

He began arguing with the home plate umpire, then made contact with him, drawing an instant ejection. He threw the baseball into the stands, threw his glove, and then came the best part. He retreated to the dugout, picked up a bat, and started bashing the Gatorade dispenser. The only reason he stopped?

You guessed it. Lou Piniella. He bravely stuck his arm in the way of the dispenser, and Zambrano took his outburst into the locker room. This was the calmest I have ever seen Piniella ever. Seeing him as the calm character in these antics makes this one even better. This was my favorite outburst of all time. 

I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it, and even more importantly, I hope you saw some of these for the first time. 


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