Beyond Chris Coghlan: Top 5 Sports Celebration Fails

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>It was just supposed to be a pie to the face. Instead, it became a debacle worthy of FAILblog.

After the Florida Marlins won an extra-inning thriller over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, outfielder Chris Coghlan snuck up behind teammate Wes Helms, who had provided the game-winning hit, to deliver the customary celebratory pie to the face. Instead, the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year slipped, tore his meniscus in his left knee, and is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks, dealing a blow to the Marlins' faint postseason hopes.

Instead of throwing a pie in Helms' face, Coghlan ended up with egg on his. But his tumble is hardly the worst "Celebration FAIL" in sports history. Here are four more celebrations gone horribly wrong, judged on a scale of 1 to 5 Gramaticas (more on that later):

Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels, 2010: Coghlan was just a starter for the Marlins—at least he wasn't their best hitter. Morales, on the other hand, was leading the Angles in batting average, home runs, and RBIs when he broke his leg jumping on home plate after blasting a game-winning homer in May. The Angels won the game, lost Morales for the season, and haven't sniffed first place since. THREE GRAMATICAS


(SCROLL TO 1:00 IN)

Gus Frerotte, Washington Redskins, 1997: The Redskins were in the running for a playoff berth and playing the New York Giants in a pivotal divisional showdown when the 'Skins quarterback decided to celebrate a rushing touchdown by head-butting the padded cement wall behind the end zone. Frerotte sprained his neck and had to leave the game, which eventually ended in a 7-7 tie. To this day, fans blame Frerotte's ill-fated display of machismo for keeping the Redskins out of the '97 playoffs. FOUR GRAMATICAS



Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns, 1993: Barkley gets particular credit for his brute force method of celebrating. After teammate Kevin Johnson nailed a game-winning shot, Barkley wrapped him in a bear hug so tight it dislocated Johnson's shoulder. Johnson missed 31 games. As for Barkley, we can only say: "That's TURR-able." FOUR GRAMATICAS

Bill Gramatica, Arizona Cardinals, 2001: The gold standard for all sports celebration fails. Let's set the scene:

  • Run-of-the-mill regular season game against the Giants
  • First quarter, 0-0 score (first, not fourth)
  • Routine 42-yard field goal attempt

Pretty uneventful, no? But the rookie kicker decided to celebrate making the field goal with a wild leap into the air as if he'd just won the Super Bowl. When Gramatica finally came down to earth, he landed awkwardly on his right leg and—wonder of wonders—tore the ACL in his right knee. Gramatica missed the rest of the year and played only one more full season in the NFL. And to add insult to injury—literally—the Cardinals lost the game. FIVE GRAMATICAS

Sadly, the NFL has exerted its copyright authority and had all copies of Gramatica's leap pulled from the Internet. But it lives on in the memories of every sports fan with a soft spot for schadenfreude.

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Jake Simpson is a New York-based writer.

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