There is being confident in sports, and then there is getting cocky and sounding off like you’ve won a championship before you’ve even played a game. Sports journalists and fans love these sound bites where some player, usually one who isn’t a star but also isn’t some bench warmer, declares with certainty that they are going to crush their opponent.
Athletes do this with some frequency, though I imagine they are getting more and more careful. That’s because, more often than not, they end up eating crow. Strangely, when players trash talk, it seems to be towards those who are better than them, which never turns out well.
We're not just talking about simply guaranteeing a win here. That’s in part because sometimes those assurances get misinterpreted in reporting. Really, what player is going to go into a game saying anything but, “yeah, I think we’re going to win.” That should be the mentality.
However, when they start talking about crushing an opponent, embarrassing them, or calling them out on their play, then they better back it up or get what they deserve. I imagine, in general, many of us love to see the underdog upset the favorite, and it seems the same sort of attitude towards those who like to talk a lot. It’s fun to see them eat those words when those words were completely unsolicited. Hubris is a terrible thing in sports,and time and time again we see that come back to bite whoever got too sure of things.
Thus, let us take a look at those players who came to regret ever opening their mouth in the first place, lest we all forget.
15 Chael Sonnen
14 Darcy Tucker
13 MLS All-Stars
Rome wasn't built in a day. Watch it fall in 90 minutes: http://t.co/Rjz266r6zj pic.twitter.com/yFSZD75wad
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 29, 2013
In 2013, the MLS All-Stars were pretty proud of themselves, having beaten Chelsea a year prior. So they were sure they would hand AS Roma a defeat of their own. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, but watch it fall in 90 minutes’ was one of the team’s official slogans, and players went on video to trash the visiting club even more. Roma would score in the fourth minute, two minutes into the second half, and again later on before conceding a late meaningless goal to the MLS side, winning 3-1 in convincing fashion.
12 New York Giants
11 Jenn Stuczynski
10 Montreal Alouettes
9 Tobias Harris
8 Byron Hout
7 Alain Bernard
6 Richard Sherman
5 Brent Jones
4 Lance Stephenson
3 Matt Hasselbeck
2 Anthony Smith
1 Tiki Barber
For the best one of this list, we have a set of unique circumstances. Firstly, this trash talk was refuted in the most emphatic, illustrative of ways. Secondly, it was done by a player calling out his former teammate. Thirdly, it was done on national television while discussing the country’s most popular sport. During a 2007 preseason game, Tiki Barber (then an analyst), said QB Eli Manning lacked leadership, and would say on his radio show, "He didn't feel like his voice was going to be strong enough and it showed. Sometimes it was almost comical the way that he would say things.” Well Barber, Manning would go on to lead the Giants to the playoffs and the Super Bowl, where he orchestrated a game-winning drive (including a completion on one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history) to grab the championship from Tom Brady and the Patriots. What now Barber?
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