10 Of The Biggest Drunks In Professional Sports
From our humble origins of antiquity to present day, our culture has been perpetuated by a never-ending catalogue of perfect combinations — peanut butter and jelly, rock and roll, rum and Coke, bias and Fox News — and although it's not a reality to glorify, one of the most prominent pairings that has emerged and managed to integrate itself into our society is alcohol and sports.
Although beer and liquor are most often found at the tailgate, throughout the bleachers or on the coffee table in the living room, alcohol has managed to drive itself to the forefront of sports culture.
Here are (in no particular order) the 10 individuals in professional sports who you want on your end of the pong table.
God put Sebastian Janikowski on this earth to kick leather through steel, yellow pipes — that's just his modus operandi.
Evidently, the man I've come to refer to as “The Polish Quadricep” has developed quite the résumé for wrestling with Grandpa's Old Cough Syrup. Although Janikowski claims that his vodka days are behind him, his seven arrests and reckless, booze-infused years are enough to solidify himself a spot on the list.
The giant kicker holds the NFL record for the longest boot in overtime (57 yards), most field goals in a quarter (four) and most field goals longer than 60 yards (2).
Though Coughlin has never done anything during his professional coaching career to suggest that he's an alcoholic — or that he even drinks at all — with everything he's gone through, it's safe to assume he pounds.
There has never been a person in the history of professional coaching who has remained subject to occupational termination for a longer span than Tom Coughlin.
It's bad enough that he's nearly 70 years old and forced to watch his offense struggle to maintain possession drive-in and drive-out, but even when he mentors his team to a Super Bowl victory, the man still finds himself on the “hot seat” during the offseason.
Few people have roared to the forefront of professional sports as explosively as Dufner did in 2013. The 36-year-old American social-media sensation claimed a PGA Championship win last summer, and even more impressively, did it with the relative indifference of a pot-smoking college freshman.
After his win at Oak Hill, Dufner reportedly disclosed that the Wanamaker Trophy holds 43 beers; unfortunately for the Wanamaker Trophy, the “Duff Man” holds more.
With all things considered, Al Michaels has been a sportscasting juggernaut for the past three decades. Like Coughlin, I'm going out on a limb by putting him on this list because outside of the DUI he earned last February, his drinking résumé is pretty clean.
Nonetheless, the dude had to contend with John Madden, sweating out mayonnaise and expounding the concept of a play clock to the audience until he retired.
Once he did, you would think that ABC would throw him a bone and allow him to broadcast a game with someone remotely tolerable, right? In comes Chris Collinsworth…
The 2011 Red Sox Pitching Staff
I understand that this list should, and for the most part does, exclusively recognize feats of individual consumption achievement — but it would be nothing short of blasphemous to exclude one of the most reckless, diabolically self-centered booze-trains in the history of competitive engagement.
These animals — Jon Lackey, John Lester, Josh Beckett — set the bar in 2011, dropping a nine-game lead during the last month of a season, which resulted in the team whiffing on a playoff birth.
Although they weren't the only team to suffer a historic collapse, they were the first to do it (presumably) as a result of “ninth-inning rally beers” and Popeyes chicken.
In just six short NBA years, J.R. Smith and his wild, booze-driven lifestyle amassed a grand total of eight license suspensions, a 90-day jail sentence for charges regarding vehicular manslaughter and an assault charge in 2007.
Last year, Smith's affinity for the hard stuff was on full display when a picture of him taking down a bottle of liquor just hours before game 5 of the Knicks' playoff series against the Celtics surfaced.
The picture made its rounds across the Internet, managed to basically break Sports Center in half for a couple days and earned him a spot on the list.
If there's one thing that Rob Gronkowski knows (outside of 20-yard seam routes, touchdown spikes, and the operating room), it's how to have a good time.
In his second NFL season, the giant Patriot managed to set the single-season record for touchdown receptions by a tight end; off the field, Gronkowski has been just as dynamic.
Whether he's gracelessly tearing up post-Super Bowl dance floors, DDT-ing his brothers, flaunting bilingualism, courting high-profile porn stars or seizing his own season, the University of Arizona graduate truly redefined the term, “Wildcat.”
It's bad enough that ESPN only dedicates 12 minutes of its annual broadcast to the sport of hockey — it's even worse when you're the only guy within a 30-mile radius of Bristol qualified to do it.
In a nutshell, being the lead NHL correspondent for Sports Center is like being the head of the music department at a high school for the hearing impaired and although no definitive evidence exists to confirm that Barry Melrose is a booze-bag, there's more than enough information to suggest it.
Considering that psychological desolation is one of the leading causes of alcoholism as well as the fact that the NHL undergoes a lockout every other month, I see no reason dismiss such a contention.
Ernie Johnson Jr.
Ernie Johnson Jr. is a two-time Emmy-winning sportscaster for TNT's “Inside the NBA,” which might take the cake for the most insufferable post-game studio show in the history of sports programming. That's enough evidence to provoke alcoholism
If Ace Ventura taught us anything, it's that Finkle is Einhorn; if the 2012 AFC Championship taught us anything, it's that Einhorn is Cundiff.
The former Ravens' placekicker spent most of the last decade drilling field goals in an NFL uniform, but it's nearly impossible to contend that he'll be remembered for anything outside of his 32-yard shank that would've sent 2012's AFC Championship game into overtime.
No kicker wants to blow a Super Bowl opportunity for his team, but it's even worse when you're scheduled to head home on the same flight as Ray Lewis.
Alexander Ovechkin: Every blogger and journalist on the planet seems to have this guy pegged as a raging alcoholic, but there's simply not enough evidence for me to give him a full roster spot.
Everyone affiliated with the Dallas Cowboys: Under the insufferable Jerry Jones, “America's team” has managed to miss the playoffs in the last three years in a fashion that cannot be contended to be anything short of impressive.
Kyle Orton: If you type “Kyle Orton” into a Google Image search bar, you'll be hard-pressed to find more pictures of him holding a football than a bottle of Jack Daniel's.
Craig Sager: Those suits, though…
Photo credit: Getty Images
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