Straight Jacket Hall of Fame: The Top 5 Coach Meltdowns of All Time

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A head coach is supposed to be the unquestioned leader of the team. He represents preparation, strategy, and composure for the unit he presides over. But once in a while, even the most respected leader can go a little batty, and when that happens, you get the five greatest coaching meltdowns of all time.

5 Dennis Green – NFL

A meltdown is rarely funnier than when someone gets so angry and frustrated that they latch onto one argument and stop worrying about whether or not they’re making any sense. And like a drunk friend who insists he’s good to drive by showing you how many pushups he can do, former Cardinals coach Denny Green did just that back in 2006 after blowing a 20-point lead to the Bears. Pointing out that the Bears are a good team and they all know it, a clearly annoyed Green snapped on reporters, yelling “They are who we thought they were!” Sure it wasn’t the clearest way of putting things, but it made for a great sound byte.

4 Philip Wellman – Minor League Baseball

When a baseball manager gets tossed, he’s usually determined to make the most of it. Kicking some dirt, nose-to-nose screaming, and dropping the f-bomb with regularity have become staples of the game. However, no man has taken it where former Braves minor league manager Philip Wellman did back in 2007. Sure, he started with all the traditional moves, but then he amped up the theatrics to a level never before seen by ripping two bases out of the ground, then crawling on his belly toward the mound and tossing the rosin bag toward home plate like a grenade. Best of all, it all happened while Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” played over the stadium PA system. Priceless.

3 Jim Playfair – AHL

You know a meltdown is of epic proportions if it manages to get the AHL national news coverage. Abbotsford Heat coach Jim Playfair did just that when he elected to show his dissatisfaction with a referee by losing his damn mind. The incensed coach stood atop his team bench, smashing a stick against it until it snapped onto the ice, then ripped his jacket off pro-wrestler-style, and snapped another stick for good measure. The ultimate irony here is that possibly the most unsportsmanlike conduct ever recorded was committed by a man with the last name “Playfair.”

2 Mike Gundy – NCAA Football

It is genuinely admirable when a coach displays how much he truly cares for his players. However, sometimes even coaches can come off as a bit embarrassing – not unlike an overzealous dad whose son isn’t getting enough playing time in Little League. Such was the case back in 2007, when Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy came to the defense of his player being criticized in the local paper. Gundy took exception to the article, pointing out that his players are just kids, and if they want to attack someone, the media should attack him. Thus was born one of the greatest meltdown lines of all time: “I’m a man! I’m forty!”

1 Jim Mora – NFL

Former Saints and Cots coach Jim Mora may be remembered by many for his penchant for post-game tears, but without a doubt, his true lasting legacy comes from his unforgettable “Playoffs?!” rant. Back in 2001, following a Colts loss to the 49ers that dropped his team to 4-6, coach Mora was asked what he thought of his team’s chances of making the playoffs. What followed was a rant so pure and so beautifully simple, that it will live on forever as the greatest of all time. Jim Mora proved that one angry man and one word is all it takes to create a legendary meltdown. PLAYOFFS?!

TK Kelly is a comic and writer who has performed at clubs across the country like the Comedy Store, the Improv, Gotham, and Standup NY. He has also written for Tosh.0, Comedy Central Studios, Funny or Die, Recycled Babies Sketch Comedy, and Second City. His standup comedy has been described as “a thing that happens sometimes,” and according to one of his grandmothers, he is a generally delightful young man. If he were forced at gunpoint to describe himself in one word, that would be a really weird hostage situation.

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