There are few things on this planet that are scarier than the wrath of an embittered sports fan. No, not just any old run-of-the-mill, jersey-owning fan; we're talking about the red-faced, vein-popping-out-of-the-neck, eyes-widening-to-serial-killer-like-proportions breed of fanatic that you'll likely find hibernating in a man-cave or loitering at your local watering hole. While these fascinating beasts are somewhat of a rarity in an era fueled by constant bandwagoning, the 'Diehard Fan', as they're often referred to in nature, still resides at the top of the food chain - so stay out of its path when things go South.
Impressively, some of these diehard fans will literally take their pent-up sports frustrations to the grave with them, as we most recently saw when a grandmother completely roasted Jay Cutler in her obituary. She wasn't the first of her kind though; several other Diehards have flat-out embarrassed some of the biggest names in sports as part of their final thought while on Planet Earth. In honor of this kick-ass grandma and all of the Diehards out there, we thought it'd be fitting to take a look at all of the best examples of obituary trolling in recent history. Shoot, some of these were so good that the athletes had no choice but to respond to the obituary claims and requests, which we'll get into shortly. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the 12 Diehard Sports Fans Who Trolled Athletes In Their Obituaries:
12 Jim Driver, Denver Broncos Fan
Victim: Peyton Manning
Before 78-year-old Jim Driver passed away, he took some time to stick it to recent champion Peyton Manning for joining his Denver Broncos team. Apparently, Driver was one of the few people who was outraged by the Broncos signing Peyton Manning as he absolutely "abhorred" him during his time in Indianapolis. Despite his disgust, the Broncos inked Manning to a five-year, $95 million deal anyway and Driver (coincidentally?) passed away shortly thereafter. Here's a look at Driver's humorous obituary:
"James H. "Jim" Driver, 78, of Eagle, Colo., formerly of Columbia, passed away Monday, March 19, 2012, at South Hampton Place in Columbia after a brief illness. An avid Broncos fan, he abhorred Manning and evidently wanted out before a deal was done."
Whether or not Driver or a funny relative wrote this obituary, there's no denying that it's pure gold and definitely a gangster way to go out. Who knows, maybe Peyton was so bothered by this man's last words that he used it as fuel to win the Super Bowl?
11 Elizabeth Porter Bowman, Chicago Bears Fan
Victim: Jay Cutler
After struggling through the Bears' abysmal 6-10 season, 78-year-old Elizabeth Porter Bowman died (relatively) peacefully in early January of 2016. Before her eternal rest, Porter used her last breath to really stick it to Jay Cutler who, in all honesty, deserves every bit of the hostility she threw his way after failing to lead his team anywhere and subsequently receiving a Pro Bowl snub. Here's a look at Porter's obituary, via the Chicago Tribune:
"Elizabeth Porter Bowman, 78, of Northbrook, Illinois died peacefully January 9, 2016, surrounded by her children. Betsy was an elementary school teacher and later a tutor, but her passion and focus was being a dedicated and involved mother and grandmother. She was a woman of loyalty, integrity, opinion, curiosity and intelligence. A lifelong fan of the Cubs, Blackhawks and Bears (except Jay Cutler)."
Ouch! That one has got to sting a little bit. Hopefully Jay Cutler will take the Peyton approach and spend his offseason using her words as his mantra for success or something. Here's to hoping, anyway.
10 Scott Estminger, Cleveland Browns Fan
Victim: Entire Browns Roster
This one was a straight up classic and it certainly cements Mr. Scott Enstminger as one of the most badass fans you'll ever get the privilege of hearing about. Enstminger, a musician and a Browns season-ticket holder, wrote a song for the team each year and sent it in, along with his candid advice on how to run the team. When Entsminger passed at age 55, he wittingly took one last (brilliant) jab at his beloved Browns team:
"A lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder...He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time."
Amazingly, the Browns' PR director Zak Gilbert told ESPN that the Browns contacted Entsminger's widow the moment they learned of his death. While they didn't agree to provide him with some NFL pallbearers, they did present his family with a custom jersey with Entsminger's name on it and the No. 76, in honor of his favorite Brown, Hall of Famer Lou Groza. Alas, they have yet to win anything of significance in his honor.
9 Josiah Abeler, Minnesota Twins Fan
Victim: Joe Mauer
This one was a little bit different because it stirred up a little bit of a controversy. After a 22-year old Twins fan named Josiah Abeler tragically passed away from a seizure in his sleep, his obituary featured quite a jab at Joe Mauer. While it's certainly funny to some, many people were bothered by its presence in his obituary considering the circumstances of his death and the fact that it was aimed at the poster boy of Minnesota baseball didn't help calm these concerns. Here's a look at his death notice:
In the Abeler family's defense, Abeler's girlfriend confirmed that it was exactly the type of thing that Josiah would want in his obituary because he was just that kind of guy. Either way, Joe Mauer hasn't been all that he was hyped to be for quite some time, so Abeler's anger with the former star is definitely understandable on some levels. I say it's all in good fun as long as Abeler was that kind of guy, but the rest of this obit could use some work with all due respect. Joe Mauer will be owed a whopping $23 million per through 2018, so he'll need a monumental turnaround for all of Minnesota not to share Josiah's sentiment.
8 Eleanor Miriam Gallagher, Pittsburgh Steelers Fan
Victim: Entire Steelers Team
Eleanor Miriam Gallagher of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania wanted to let the world know that she wasn't happy with the Pittsburgh Steelers before passing away at age 81. In fact, she wanted everybody to know that the recent departure of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in particular directly contributed to her (somewhat) early death and she put the world on notice by roasting her beloved Steelers in her obituary:
"Eleanor was a devoted Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and the family firmly believes that the recent separation of Dick LeBeau and the Steelers’ poor performance this season might have inadvertently contributed to her demise."
Yikes! Talk about some hard feelings. Eleanor clearly wasn't too pleased with the Steelers' Wild Card loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and who can blame her? Our condolences go out to the Gallagher family and we also tip our hats to Eleanor for going out in style.
7 Helen Fowler, New York Yankees
Victim: Alex Rodriguez
If there's any trend we're learning from these obituaries so far, it's that avid sports grandmas are absolutely brutal! 85-year-old Helen Fowler of New Jersey proved that she was no different by using her death notice as a platform to completely roast Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez for plaguing the Yankees organization with controversy during her final years. Here's a look at her obituary, according to the Newark Star Ledger:
"Helen Fowler Devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and lifelong Yankees fan Helen (Emanuel) Fowler, 85, passed away on Sept. 29, 2015, at the Chelsea in Fanwood, N.J. Born and raised in New Rochelle, N.Y., she was a resident of Cranford, N.J., for 53 years ... Mrs. Fowler was a former member of the Cranford First Aid Squad and a lifelong Yankees fan, with the exception of Alex Rodriguez.'
Way to go, Fowler! A-Rod's been deserving of some eternal bad juju and we have to tip our hats to Mrs. Fowler for coining the "with the exception" style of obituary-roasting seeing as she did this back in September of 2015; sorry Elizabeth Porter, your Cutler roast was equally entertaining but we have to recognize a trendsetter when we see one.
6 Barbara Shippee, New England Patriots Fan
Victim: Roger Goodell & The NFL
Here's a grandma that was in better spirits: Barbara Shippee who lived much of her life in New England. Now, seeing as Patriots fans don't have much to complain about (unless of course the New York Giants are brought up), you won't find many native New Englanders using their obituaries as a platform to voice any kind of anger towards the franchise. Instead, you'll find aging sports fans who are beyond willing to use their last words to defend their beloved Tom Brady. In this case, 74-year-old Shippee maintained Tom Brady's innocence in the "Deflategate" saga through her obituary:
"In lieu of flowers please make memorial contributions to 'Tom Brady's Deflategate Defense' as she was the Ultimate Patriots Fan or to the charity of your choice,"
This one is definitely clever, although we'll still always think that Tom Brady is up to no good as long as we live outside of New England. While some of us (myself obviously included) can't respect Tom Brady, everyone can respect Shippee's dedication to her team!
5 John Ray Bartgis, Washington Redskins Fan
Victim: The Entire Washington Redskins Roster
The Redskins aren't much different than the Cleveland Browns, so it's only fitting that John Ray Bartgis of Richmond, Virginia payed homage to the late, great Scott Enstminger (of "pallbearer" fame) by using his line to stick it to the underwhelming Washington Redskins team.
". . .One of his final wishes was that the team members would be his pallbearers so they can let him down one last time."
This Enstminger classic will never get old, so we can't help but chuckle at seeing the witty line pop up yet again. With that said, hopefully the next Redskins-related obituary will condemn their tasteless franchise name! Lord knows we'd love to see that changed sometime soon seeing as it's 2016 and all.
4 Patricia M. Shong, New England Patriots Fan
Victim: Rodger Goodell & The NFL
As it turns out, Shippee wasn't the only fan who would rather die than admit that Tom Brady was at fault for the Deflategate scandal; 72-year-old Patricia M. Shong, a resident of Auburn, Massachussetts, used her death notice to defend Brady as well. Aside from announcing her love of reading and knitting, she threw in this little bit:
“She would also like us to set the record straight for her: Brady is innocent!!”
Luckily for Shong and Shippee alike, a federal judge nullified Tom Brady's four-game suspension on the grounds of Goodell's misconduct - although it was never actually determined whether or not Brady was truly guilty. Anyway, these two loving grandmothers can rest assured knowing that their hero wiped his hands clean of the whole ordeal.
3 Marylou Cunningham Belles, New York Mets Fan
Victim: New York Mets Roster
On July 13th of 2012, the world lost an apparently hilarious woman by the name of Marylou Cunningham Belles. The Bethel, Connecticut native, who spent her entire life as a diehard fan of the New York Mets, couldn't help but poke fun at her favorite franchise for the years of (winless) agony they caused her. Here's a look at the funny excerpt:
"Marylou Cunningham Belles, of Bethel, CT died July 13th, 2012, after giving cancer the finger for 27 years. Since the 13th fell on a Friday, it was a prefect day for the Stephen King fan she was...She loved cats, and shared her life with four rescues from Save a Sato. She was also a lifelong NY Mets fan though surprisingly, that wasn’t what killed her."
She'd probably be delighted to know that the future outlook for her Mets team is pretty bright after they made it to the World Series in 2015; however, she wouldn't be surprised to learn that her team ultimately lost that series to the Kansas City Royals.
2 Robley Tatum, Georgia Tech Fan
Victim: Paul Johnson, Head Coach
Robley Tatum was a 91-year-old man who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, had a beautiful 60-year marriage and a loving family, according to his obituary. He also happened to be a diehard Georgia Tech fan and he couldn't help but take one last hilarious jab at the team in that same obituary:
"He loved his family, his neighbors, Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Braves, bowling (he was a great bowler), the Atlanta Journal/Constitution (where his dad had worked), Waffle House, Hickory House and the Picadilly Cafeteria, and Little Debbie. He didn't get his final wish for Tech, which to see Paul Johnson get fired, but hey, there's still time."
Considering the fact that he attended Georgia Tech and worked at the school for several years, it's pretty ballsy that Tatum left his final wish open-ended in suggesting that there's "still time" for Paul Johnson to be let go. Who knows? Maybe his last wish will beautifully come true and Georgia Tech will axe Johnson in one of the upcoming seasons? One thing's for sure, Tatum has all the time in the world to wait it out.
1 Michael Vedvik, Seattle Seahawks Fan
Victim: Pete Carroll, Seahawks Head Coach
Everybody remembers the infamous play call that ultimately led to the Seattle Seahawks losing Super Bowl XLIX to the New England Patriots in heartbreaking fashion. For those who don't quite recall the moment, their decision to pass from the one yard line, instead of handing the ball to running back Marshawn Lynch, cost them the Super Bowl and a lot of their dignity. Michael Vedvik, a small business owner from Kent, WA, passed away at the age of 53 and he was so embittered by that play that he had to shout it out in his death notice; well, his wife was actually responsible for the playful jab, although she vouched for how much he would have loved it:
"He was a small business owner in Kent, WA and loved his family, work, clients, traveling, the Seahawks and life. We blame the Seahawks lousy play call for Mike’s untimely demise."
We have a feeling that this stupendously stupid moment probably even has some role in Marshawn Lynch's decision to retire from pro football, too. Good job, Seattle, it'll be a long time before they can live this boneheaded play call down as we're still scratching our heads here in 2016.