The NFL is not normally a league where fans will find something to laugh about. The intensity of both teams in each game combined with the serious nature that broadcasters use to approach the game often leads to a tense atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean that the NFL doesn’t have its share of moments that are good for a laugh. These top five funniest moments in NFL history were unexpected, hilarious, or just outright bizarre. They all injected some much needed humor into the game, balancing out the intensity fans know and love with some terrific comic relief.
5. The Celebration Wars
Before the NFL relaxed its rules on end zone celebrations, players used to incur fines for utilizing their creativity after getting into the end zone. Fortunately, there were two players who didn't seem to care very much about racking up those fines, with Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens one-uppig each other throughout the 2000s. These receivers made the game as fun as possible with their ability to score and break out some hilarious routines after doing so.
Some of the highlights from these pioneers of the celebration included Owens using a cheerleader's pom-poms to perform a touchdown dance and his running to midfield to celebrate in the middle of Dallas' signature star logo. Johnson, though, was a virtuoso of celebrations. His self-made Hall of Fame jacket and Tiger Woods putting celebration were among the most memorable in league history when they wer performed and have remained as much to this day. And thanks to these hilarious celebrations, the league has loosened up the reigns on players expressing themselves.
4. Tom Brady Reacts To Super Bowl Prediction
Heading into Super Bowl XLII, the New England Patriots were double-digit favorites to beat the New York Giants. The Patriots were 18-0 on the season heading into that game, while the Giants were a wild card team who had barely been able to reach the Super Bowl as it was. That is why Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress' prediction of a 23-17 Giants win was so surprising to most, including to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady's response to Burress' prediction was to laugh, especially at the notion that the Patriots' record setting offense was going to be held to just 17 points. But what made this moment one of the funniest in NFL history wasn't just Brady's reaction, it was the fact that Burress was right. In fact, the Giants held the Patriots to just 14 points for the game, derailing the Patriots' undefeated season in a 17-14 upset for the ages. The memory of Brady laughing at the prediction in his press conference, but failing to reach the 17 point mark is one of the few times Brady has been humbled in his amazing career. For that reason alone, it has been worth laughing at for years.
3. The Fail Mary
The 2012 NFL season was remembered as the year that the NFL had an officiating crisis. Their regular officials refused to participate in early season games, forcing the league to utilize replacement officials until the situation was resolved. Naturally, these less experienced referees were immediately thrust into the spotlight by one of the most controversial plays in the history of the league. And the lasting image of that play will never fail to be funny.
At the end of a Packers/Seahawks regular season game, the Seahawks threw a Hail Mary pass that was fought for by both the offense and defense. Instead of communicating with each other before coming to a decision, the replacement referees assigned to the game made different hand signals at the same time. One official signaled for a touchdown, while the other signaled that the ball was intercepted. Eventually they agreed to rule a Seahawks touchdown, but by then the reputation of the replacement officials was already too badly damaged and the regular officials were back shortly after.
2. Dan Orlovsky's Safety
Detroit Lions football was even bleaker than usual during the Dan Orlovsky era at quarterback, as the team spent over a year failing to win a single game. But one play summed up the era better than any statistics or records could, and that was Orlovsky running through the back of the end zone on his own accord for a safety against the Vikings. This is one of the plays in NFL history that is impossible to not laugh at.
Orlovsky, deep in his own territory, dropped back to pass against a fearsome Vikings defense. But he forgot to make sure that he didn't go through the back of the end zone. Instead, he takes several steps behind the line, completely oblivious to his surroundings as the announcers watch in horror. Minnesota was awarded two points for the safety, and the Lions were once again the laughingstock of the league after the humiliating play.
1. The Butt Fumble
As a society, there are two things that we have agreed are funny: major mistakes in sports and rear ends. If it is possible to mash those two things together, you are treated to comedy gold. And in the case of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, you are treated to comedy gold that ends up being the defining moment of your career.
On a Thanksgiving night game against the Jets hated rivals, the New England Patriots, Sanchez took a snap on what appeared to be a broken play. Trying to make something out of nothing, he rolled to the right, only to slip and fall down. While falling down, he ran directly into the backside of one of his offensive lineman. The impact was so severe that Sanchez fumbled the football, which was picked up and returned for a touchdown by the Patriots.
Commentators attempted to explain the play as caused by the strength of the Patriots' defensive line. But replays showed that Sanchez simply fell into his own teammate's derriere, creating one of the most embarrassing and most hilarious touchdowns ever scored on an NFL field.