The 20 greatest sound bites in NFL history
Trash talk, meltdowns, Gus-gasms, and local sports radio calls that will be pinging off alien spacecraft for the rest time. The sights of the NFL may be back, but it’s the sounds we’re truly waiting for. The MNF theme blaring from the other room while you grab a beer out of the fridge. Your hated rival's coach blowing a gasket live on Sportscenter. Joe Buck’s voice lulling you into a blissful post-Thanksgiving stupor. So sit back and close your eyes. Hook up the bluetooth surround sound and turn up the volume. These are the greatest soundbites in NFL history, and they sure beat listening to “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” until your ears bleed.
Jim Mora x Allen Iverson
Essentially the NFL’s version of Allen Iverson’s practice rant, Jim Mora’s classic “playoffs!?” presser is a masterclass of intonation and incredulity and yet another entry in the long, fat NFL Coaches Treating Journalists Like Shit omnibus. FUN FACT: The Colts did not, in fact, make the playoffs.
The Oscar for best wide receiver in a supporting role goes to...
Pick any T.O. moment out of the hat and it probably makes this list, but teary-eyed T.O. using Tony Romo as an ESPN bartering chip is as a triumph of theater, sport, and the indomitable human spirit. Rated PG-13 for complete bullshit.
Sergio Dipp, you watch him now on the screen
Sergio Dipp is dead, long live Sergio Dipp.
Randy Moss needs to hit the ATM real quick
The NFL probably doesn’t love that one of its first truly viral moments was a star wide receiver shrugging off a $10,000 fine for fake-mooning a rival team but man, the pre-YouTube internet sure did. A few weeks later, Moss was in Oakland, but as far final contributions go, “Straight cash, homey” was the best thing Vikes fans could have possibly hoped for.
Peyton Manning, brought to you by Budweiser
This, folks, is what we in the industry call an “advertorial,” a shameless piece of marketing that imitates real life in an attempt to sell you something. It’s also one of the oddest, funniest, and most memorable post-Super Bowl soundbites ever. You don't normally don’t get anything substantive from players in the Lombardi Trophy melee, but at least Peyton, in his final act as NFL posterboy, gave us this piping hot slice of capitalist pie.
Hank Stram “65 Toss Power Trap”
If you’ve never heard legendary Chiefs head coach Hank Stram mic’d up on the sidelines of Super Bowl IV, I suggest you go do that right now. It’s like listening to some sugar-tongued mob boss sweet talk the cops out of one side of his mouth and threaten his goons out of the other. Of all his rapid-fire rat a tat, however, “65 Toss Power Trap, it might pop wide open, Rex ” is not only the most iconic, but also the best play pre-Philly Special play call in Super Bowl history.
Joe Namath and Suzy Kolber sitting in a tree
Joe Namath is obviously best known for his Super Bowl III guarantee, but since that infamous assurance was captured with pen and paper, we’re forced to turn here for our Broadway Joe fix. It’s not great, especially by today’s standards, but Namath’s stumbling, bumbling drunkenness will remain etched into the minds of giddy non-Jets fans for eternity. Shout out to Suzy Kolber for handling this one like a pro (though no one would have blamed her if she had just hauled off and clocked him on live TV).
Hank Williams Jr. is ready for some football
Nothing says “holy crap, I can’t believe mom and dad are letting me stay up for this” to the 12 remaining millennial NFL fans on earth than the rollicking piano boogie of Hank Williams Jr.’s gleefully simple MNF anthem, “Are You Ready For Some Football?". As both NBC and CBS's primetime duds (and like every Super Bowl halftime show ever) have since proven, nailing the football mood music isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be.
Paul Allen’s agony in defeat
As the disembodied voice of the Minnesota Vikings for over 20 years, KFAN’s Paul Allen has seen his fair share of heartbreak, from Brett Favre’s NFC Championship-daggering interception to Blair Walsh’s big ol’ doink. No call exudes sheer, unbridled pain quite like the one he delivered at the end of Vikings’ 2003 playoff play-in against the Cardinals, however. Facing 4th and 24 with five seconds left to play and the ball on the 28, Josh McCown—of all dudes to beat you—rolls out to the right and throws a coffin nail to the corner of the end zone for a walk-off win, triggering a reverse Gus-gasm for the ages from poor Paul Allen.
Speaking of Gus-gasms, this one is the best vintage by some distance. Sure, his Jaguars-Texans hail mary call is a classic and, yes, he did get some flak for the connotations of this explosion, but Johnson’s seamless transition from football analyst—”He gets his shoulders square!”—to full Wrestlemania—”HE’S GOT RUNNING AWAY FROM THE COPS SPEED”—is why he is one of the best to ever do it.
Billy King’s Holy Roller zen
“There’s nothing real in the world anymore, the Raiders have won the football game.” Some things never change, eh Billy?
If you watched an NFL broadcast in the early aughts, then “Whassuppppp” is tattooed on your brain. “In our lifetimes, we’ll never see so much value created from a single idea,” said Anheuser Busch’s August Busch IV of the two-syllable campaig. The cure for cancer may yet have a bone to pick with that, but there’s no question that “Whassup”—which debuted during Monday Night Football on December 20th, 1999—is an essential piece of the modern football soundscape.
Matthew Stafford > Lloyd Christmas
Want to hear the most annoying most sound in the world?
Herm “Captain Obvious” Edwards
The only problem with Herman Edwards' "you play to win the game" rant was that Herm wasn't playing for the Jets in 2002—he was coaching them. Something about these Captain Obvious-isms must have resonated with the Gang Green, however, as the Jets rallied behind the speech to finish the season on a 7-2 run, winning the AFC East. Herm now moonlights as a motivational speaker (not making this up).
Vince Lombardi’s most inspirational moment
The man who practically invented the football cliche, is perhaps best known for these seven words, shouted in the direction of the referee, his own players, and God all at once. If this doesn’t sum up the true football experience, we don’t know what does.
Jerry Burns’s tourettes PSA
17 f-bombs, five shits, four damn variations, and one use of ass. Jerry Burns’s 1989 thermo-nuclear meltdown is simultaneously the most profane post-game press conference in American sports history and a touching show of loyalty from a head coach defending his OC. “Fuck, they put his picture up there and the fuckers boo him...fuckers.”
Bart Scott can’t wait
While Bart Scott’s Sal Paolantonio-aided outburst following the Jets' victory over the Patriots in the divisional round of 2010 playoffs is best known for his “Can’t Wait!” coup de grace, the interview is a masterclass of ego and genuine human excitement from start to finish. The Jets, led by future Mr. Butt Fumble, would go on to the lose to the Steelers following week, but Bart’s bark continues to reverberate to this day.
Wes Welker puts his best foot forward
The NFL is a better place when the Patriots and the Jets actually have something to play for. Just ask Wes Welker, who in the hours leading up to the aforementioned Bart Scott Bowl in 2011, peppered his press conference with over 11 references to feet in a classy homage to Rex Ryan’s ongoing Footgate scandal. Just like everything the Patriots do, it was at once incredibly impressive and infuriatingly diabolical, and remains a watershed moment for NFL trash talk.
Shannon Sharpe calls in the National Guard
Hard as it may be to believe, the Patriots weren’t always on dishing end of the trash-talk spectrum. Just ask Shannon Sharpe, who, during a blowout of the hapless '90s Pats, had to call in some special reinforcements while old Foxborough's rickety bleacher seats booed him on.
Dennis Green becomes weapon of mass press conference destruction
Believe it or not, there was a time during this century that the Bears were relevant. The year? 2006. The date? October 16th. On national TV, the undefeated Bears rolled into Arizona to take on the 1-4 Cardinals, and for three quarters had their asses handed to them. Trailing 23-3 with eight seconds remaining in the third quarter, Matt Leinart fumbled and it was returned for a touchdown. Then Edgerrin James fumbled and it was returned for a touchdown. Then the Cardinals punted it to 2006 Devin Hester and it was returned for a, well, you get the picture. The Bears stayed undefeated, but Dennis Green gave football fans something far more lasting: The one press conference to rule them all in the darkness bind them. Even if you’ve seen this a hundred times, go ahead and watch it 100 more. Rest easy, Denny Green.