The Internet can be a wonderland, a place where the world's greatest minds can convene, share thoughts, stories and ideologies, make us laugh or cry, and perhaps teach us a thing or two.
It can also be a barren wasteland ruled by "trolls," for a lack of better word, roaming the Internet's barren countryside looking for any opportunity to rattle, anger or annoy. Sometimes, though, the troll strikes gold (often unbeknownst to itself) and creates a fantastic Internet sensation that allows us to tolerate the belligerent trolls, if only for a fleeting moment.
Wikipedia, the land of, well, everything, is a wonderful meeting spot for the Internet's two extremes. While your university professor will vehemently implore you to not use Wikipedia as a source, no one ever said it can't be used as a springboard to more "reliable" sources - you'll often find a quality collection of articles and texts on your topic of choice in the depths of the Wikipedia page in question (you have to go mining if you want to strike gold).
Alas, the trolls are a tad lazy when it comes to their "mining" and often leave turds all over Wikipedia pages, thanks to the freedom one has in altering a page whenever it may please them to do so. Usually someone will remove the nonsense quickly enough, so as to avoid an Internet firestorm of unnecessarily large proportions. Every once in awhile, though, the troll leaves a turd that will magically turn to solid gold (were not going to get into how that happens, just roll with it) - and for those moments we laugh heartily and for a second we appreciate their presence. For all their virtual shenanigans, they find ways to make it all worth it.
For our purposes, the best Wikipedia trolls are the ones involving our favorite athletes or sporting events. There have been countless moments over the last several years, but we've managed to narrow it down to the very best Wikipedia trolling moments in the wonderfully wit-inspiring world of sports.
10 Clowney Inspires Wikipedia Clowns
Jadeveon Clowney hasn't had the rookie season he (0r anyone else, for that matter) envisioned when he was drafted first overall by the Texans in last spring's NFL Draft. Clowney had earned a reputation as a dominant defensive lineman with a penchant for the big hit - the most notable being the absolutely crushing blow he delivered on Michigan Wolverines back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl a couple of years ago. An excerpt on Clowney's page was edited to read: "There are now only 49 states in the United States and Roger Goodell has suspended Clowney for the first game of his NFL career."
While this was a definite troll job, it's not a stretch to say that this happening in real life would have surprised no one.
9 Kelly Does the Gator Chomp?
Chip Kelly's offense runs about as fast as the Roadrunner does running away from Wile E. Coyote in a classic Bugs Bunny episode - so it goes without saying that if Kelly was to ever return to the open market, he would be scooped up just as quickly as his offense gets to the line of scrimmage. It would appear that someone (or a group of someones) in Gainesville have a bit of a football crush on Kelly, as his Wikipedia page was altered to read: "Kelly announced mid-season his decision to spurn the Eagles for the incredible opportunity with the Florida Gators, effective immediately. He is most looking forward to his teams running circles around Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles.
8 Hoke "Fired" (Before Getting Fired)
To say Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines had a rough year would be putting it lightly. It seemed like every other day the conversation was not about what Hoke and the Wolverines were doing on the field, but rather when he would get the axe and who his replacement should be (Jim Harbaugh?). Hoke couldn't even catch a break from the Internet trolls, who took to Wikipedia during Michigan's game versus Utah to mark Hoke as "unemployed" after the Wolverines lost and dropped to 2-2. The trolls were on the ball on this one.
7 Chile Says "Adios" to Spain
After years of dominating the international soccer scene, the Spaniards were expected to once again at least contend during Brazil 2014. Surprisingly, the Spanish powerhouse was unable to get anything going, bowing out during the round robin - an elimination that busted plenty of World Cup brackets.
Chileans were among many countries celebrating the outcome, especially since they were the ones to eliminate the Spaniards in the second game of the group stage. Some Chilean fans took to Wikipedia to share the good news of the David over Goliath victory by changing Chile's national team page to simply read:
LOL Say bye to the World Cup.....
6 JD & The Straight Shot
James Dolan and the New York Knicks have been the brunt of jokes, insults, and criticism for quite awhile, so Dolan must have been able to develop a bit of thick skin over the years to deal with the constant barrage of negativity sent his way. One angry Knicks fan (or someone just looking to stir the pot) crossed the "personal" line in attacking Dolan, though, after doing a little bit of editing to the Wikipedia page of Dolan's band, JD & The Straight Shot. Several song names were changed to Knicks-themed insults - classics like "Can't Make the Knicks Win," "Reunion With Isiah in Hell," and "Fix the Knicks" are coming to a radio near you!
5 Damian Lillard Becomes an NBA Owner
Damian Lillard has become an absolute stud over the past several years, improving every year and slowly but surely establishing himself as one of the NBA' s best. The Portland star has some backing from Wikipedia trolls, who edited the Houston Rockets Wikipedia page to include Lillard as the team's "owner" after Lillard's ridiculous game-winning (and series-winning) shot ended the Rockets playoffs early last spring. As funny as this clever little change was, whoever made the edit was pretty accurate in that Lillard had his way with Houston last year.
4 Marc Trestman Gets Demoted
Poor Marc Trestman.
After years of waiting for an opportunity to crack into the head coaching ranks of the National Football League (including a stint up north running the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League), Trestman finally got the keys to the kingdom when Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery hired him to coach the storied franchise two years ago.
Not much has gone according to plan since the hiring - bounced from the playoffs on the last week of last season followed by this year's debacle has Chicago Bears fans clamoring for changes, starting with the two men at the top getting axed. Since they can't actually fire them themselves, one took to Wikipedia to give Trestman a title change on behalf of Bears Nation by changing his "position" from head coach to head moron.
3 Emmanuel Sanders Died and Woke Up in Heaven
Emmanuel Sanders was doing just fine for himself in Pittsburgh, but he's flourished with the Denver Broncos under the guidance (and passing) of Peyton Manning. Unfortunately for Sanders, playing receiver comes with a healthy dose of risk, as evidenced by the massive hit he took earlier in the season from St. Louis Rams safety Rodney McLeod. McLeod hit Sanders hard enough to concuss Sanders - and we all know how serious concussions are being taken these days.
One fan (or Internet troll) decided to magnify the impact of the hit in an attempt to get some laughs by editing Sanders' Wikipedia page to read that the hit killed Sanders.
Kudos to Sanders for taking it lightly and firing back on social media, as he fired off several Tweets reassuring his fans that he was in fact perfectly fine (and enjoying life, as he was photographed enjoying a night out with a substantial number of fine looking ladies).
2 MadiGod Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner had a playoff performance for the ages this past October - it was arguably the greatest pitching performance the game has ever seen. Bumgarner pitched the Giants to three of their four wins in the 2014 World Series (even though one is recorded as a save), with a ridiculous 0.43 ERA and a 17:1 strikeout to walks ratio. Bumgarner walked away with the MVP (and some technology and stuff), but perhaps the most glorifying accolade he received was an edit to his Wikipedia page, which read that he was not just a pitcher for the Giants, but was also God himself.
He wasn't far off back in October.
1 The Mayor of Omaha
If you've watched any Broncos football over the past few seasons (with the volume on), you've no doubt heard future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning yell the word "OMAHA" at least 4,700 times. That number is barely an exaggeration...it's more of an unconservative guesstimate. The point is, Manning uses the term a lot. He's used it so much, in fact, that someone took it upon themselves to change the Omaha Wikipedia page to have it read that Manning was the mayor of the Nebraska town.
I wonder if they also gave Manning the key to the city...