We have our latest coach rant going viral courtesy of Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, who was furious after his team’s playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The most soundbite-y parts of the rant that are being extracted are his phrases, “They’re not going to rook us!” and “Take that for data!”. The Grizzlies were huge underdogs coming into the series, but Fizdale was annoyed that the officiating was largely in favor of the Spurs. “It was a very poorly officiated game. Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws, but somehow Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half we shot 19 shots in the paint and we had six free throws; they shot 11 times in the paint and they had 23 free throws. I’m not a numbers guy, but that doesn’t seem to add up.” After explaining his grievances, he expressed his belief that referees were treating the Spurs favorably because of their reputation, and that led to his anger, which produced the two soundbites later in the conference.
Fizdale’s rant is the latest in a long tradition of annoyed coaches giving soundbites that are perfect to use at any time. Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora provided sports television with the famous “Playoffs?!” retort in a 2001 press conference, while New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards in 2002 gave the popular “You play to win the game!” in an exasperated tone that has since been replayed hundreds of times over in sports analysis. Some of the earliest rants in the YouTube era that went viral were “I’m a man! I’m 40!” by Oklahoma State football head coach Mike Gundy, who was defending his quarterback at the time, and “They are who we thought they were!” by Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green, who was responding to a question if they had underestimated the opposing defense going into the game.