NFL

When Did the Tradition of Showering Coaches With Gatorade Begin?

It’s become a sports tradition, particularly in the NFL, and the winning coach knows it’s coming. Players on the winning team not only celebrate with handshakes and hugs, but the norm now is to shower the head coach with a bucket of Gatorade. Just when did the crazy idea of pouring a bucket of liquid over the winning coach begin?

Gatorade showers don’t always go as planned

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There have bee many instances when players have struggled with the postgame celebration of a Gatorade shower. Some players have completely swung and missed, letting the Gatorade spill onto the ground. Others have tripped while hunting down the coach. Pouring a bucket over someone’s head isn’t rocket science, but it doesn’t always go according to plan.

Gatorade showers are meant to be executed outside. There’s no cleanup to be made and the only real damage, other than to the coach, is wet grass. That approach was not taken by the North Platte Community College girls’ basketball team back in 2013.

According to Bleacher Report, the team had just captured the district title. While celebrating the championship, the girls were looking to shower their head coach with Gatorade inside the gymnasium. It didn’t go according to plan as the girls weren’t tall enough to pour it over the coach’s head. Instead, they slammed the bucket into his chest and the liquid spilled all over him and then he wiped out on the slippery gymnasium floor.

When did the Gatorade shower begin?

Legend has it that the Gatorade Shower was invented in 1985 by New York Giants defensive tackle gets most of the credit with teammate Harry Carson getting an assist. According to Rolling Stone, however, it actually took place in 1984. The game occurred on Oct. 28, 1984, when the New York Giants played the Washington Redskins and came away with a 37-13 victory.

Burt playfully dumped the Gatorade bucket over head coach Bill Parcells‘ head after the coach had been riding him all week. It was Carson, however, who kept up with the tradition. He continued to shower Parcells after each win through the 1986 season when the Giants won the Super Bowl.

When Burt and Carson dumped the bucket over Parcells, many were stunned. Even accouncers Pat Summerall and John Madden seemed to be a bit confused. “Jim Burt takes the whole bucket and pours it on Bill Parcells’ head… and that’s what you get when you win,” they said from the broadcast booth, according to Rolling Stone.

Reaction to the first Gatorade shower

According to Rolling Stone, Jim Burt got his revenge on Bill Parcells after Parcells had been on him all week at practice. Burt did say he sought out Harry Carson to help because he knew Carson and Parcells had a strong relationship. “I was the only one who had the guts to do it without knowing what his reaction was going to be,” Burt said.

Carson recalled Burt asking for help. “He can’t be mad at me if you do it with me,” Carson recalled Burt saying. What was Parcells’ reaction to getting doused with a bucketful of Gatorade the first time? “What are you gonna do?’ Parcells said to upi.com. “It’s fun. If you have fun, fine. It’s not all life and death. No water is gonna make me sick.”

The team kept winning so Carson kept the tradition alive. The only problem was that Parcells came to expect it.  “He started to catch on, so I’d wear disguises like a hat or jacket from our medical staff to sneak up on him,” Carson said, according to Rolling Stone.