The Gatorade shower, also known as the Gatorade dunk and the Gatorade bath, is an American sports tradition that involves players surreptitiously dumping a cooler full of liquid (most commonly Gatorade mixed with ice) over the head of their coach (or occasionally a high-profile assistant coach, star player, or team owner in professional leagues) following a meaningful win, such as the Super Bowl.
Start of tradition
The tradition began with the New York Giants football team in the mid-1980s. According to several sources, including Jim Burt of the Giants, it began on October 20, 1985, when the Giants beat the Washington Redskins 17-3, and Burt performed the action on Bill Parcells after being angry over the coach's treatment of him that week. Burt insisted that Harry Carson dump the Gatorade on Parcells, because Carson was a favorite and wouldn't get in trouble. However, former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton claims he invented the shower in 1984, when the Bears dunked Mike Ditka upon clinching the NFC Central. The phenomenon gained national attention in the 1986 Giants season. Parcells was doused after 17 victories that season, culminating with Super Bowl XXI.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was reported to be the first NBA coach to receive a Gatorade shower when his team won the 2008 NBA Finals. Paul Pierce dumped a cooler of red Gatorade over Rivers as the Celtics closed out Game 6 to clinch their first NBA title in 22 years. Then-Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson is the only NBA head coach to receive a Gatorade shower twice, as the Lakers won back-to-back NBA Finals in 2009 (at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida) and 2010. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle likewise received the honors when Mavericks celebrated their first NBA championship in 2011. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra received the same treatment from Udonis Haslem when the Heat won the 2012 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena in 2012.
Kentucky Wildcats coach Guy Morriss is one of the only coaches ever to receive a Gatorade shower and lose a game. This occurred on November 9, 2002, during the Bluegrass Miracle, when LSU defeated Kentucky. Coach Morriss was showered immediately before Marcus Randall threw a Hail Mary pass to Devery Henderson to win on the final play of the game.
In the Australian NRL, rugby league club, Melbourne Storm's players have given their coach, Craig Bellamy a Gatorade shower every time they have won the premiership under him, including, 2007, 2009 and 2012.
Many teams do not use Gatorade but instead use water or another substitute; for example, the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes use Powerade, due to their sponsorship agreement with Powerade manufacturer The Coca-Cola Company and Gatorade's affiliation with rival University of Florida. After Michigan State University's win over Penn State in 2010, Spartan players dumped a Gatorade bucket filled with green and white confetti on head coach Mark Dantonio. This was done because of the cold temperature and Dantonio's heart condition.
The tradition has become a mainstay of the Super Bowl; so much so that numerous gambling websites have established various 'prop bets' on situations during the game. Many of these bets are unrelated to the actual sporting event. For Super Bowl XLVI, a bet could be made on what color the Gatorade would be. Purple was not included, resulting in the refund of all bets.
As the tradition has evolved, not all showers are reserved for championship games. Gatorade showers have occurred after key victories that were not championship games, after the defeat of a rival, after the snapping of a losing streak, or after the snapping of an opponent's winning streak.
In 2005, ESPN sports business writer Darren Rovell published a book entitled First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon, in which he documented, among other things, the story behind the Gatorade dunking phenomenon.
- Borden, Sam (21 January 2012), A Splashy Tradition, Gatorade-Style, The New York Times, retrieved 23 January 2012
- Rovell, Darren (2006). First in thirst: how Gatorade turned the science of sweat into a cultural phenomenon. AMACOM Books. pp. 77–91.
- NFLFilms 1984 Chicago Bears Season Highlights (Television production). NFL Films.
- Stein, Marc (18 June 2008). "Three Party triumph: KG leads, Allen scorches and Pierce takes MVP". ESPN.com. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
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