On Saturday, just one day after saying he had no idea how the their balls got deflated, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick called another deflategate press conference and issued one of the great sports excuses of all time. Apparently he and his team of scientists conducted their own experiments and found that, in addition to environmental factors, the rubbing of the balls causes them to lose air pressure.
The problem? As Bill Nye the Real Science Guy explained, it was all hogwash. If five 300-pound guys lying on top of a football doesn’t cause it to deflate, some equipment guy giving it a massage in the locker room won’t either.
Nevertheless, Belichick’s press conference was awesomely surreal, and his theory will go down as one of the most famous sports excuses of all time.
Don’t believe it? Check out this list of other ridiculous sports excuses. I think you’ll see Belichick’s “rubbed ball” theory fits right in.
Infraction: stomping Aaron Rodgers’s ankle
What had happened was: “It was really, really cold.”
Ndamukong Suh has committed so many violent fouls against other NFL players over the last five years that we've devoted entire lists about them. And yet, after stomping on Aaron Rogers's ankle in Green Bay on December 28, 2014, he actually expected us to believe that the extreme cold made his feet numb and he didn't realize what he was stepping on?
We're dumb, Ndamukong, but we're not that dumb.
15. Ndamukong Suh
Infraction: pitched a no-hitter high on LSD
What had happened was: “I forget which day it was.”
This is one of the greatest legends in the history of Major League Baseball. On June 12, 1970, "colorful" Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter. He later said that he threw the no-no while high on LSD.
His excuse for taking a hit of LSD at noon on the day he was scheduled to pitch at 6 p.m.? He forgot what day it was.
Watch this amazing animated mini-documentary. It's narrated by Ellis himself:
14. Dock Ellis
Infraction: corked bat
What had happened was: “It was my batting practice bat.”
Sammy Sosa has still not offered up an excuse for why he took steroids, or why he now looks like a middle-aged white man. However, when he got ejected from a game against the Rays on June 3, 2003, for using a corked bat, he had a excuse: he just used a corked bat for batting practice, because he knew fans came early to watch him hit balls over the fence and he wanted to put on a good show.
Plausible? Maybe. MLB tested al 76 of his other bats, plus five more Sosa bats in the Hall of Fame, and none of them were corked.
Then again, if you're going to use a corked bat during a game, it would be smart to just have one so that you do have plausible deniability.
13. Sammy Sosa
Infraction: tested positive for cocaine
What had happened was: “Got it from kissing a girl at a club.”
This excuse was probably legit. When French tennis player Richard Gasquet tested positive for traces of cocaine in 2009, official said the amount detected was about the size of a grain of salt. So it's quite possible he did inadvertently ingest it while making out with some chick at a club.
It sounds sketchy, though.
12. Richard Gasquet
Infraction: smuggling weed on a plane
What had happened was: “The secret compartment in my water bottle was for hiding my jewelry.”
In 2007, Vick was going through security at the airport in Miami when he was told he had to throw away his 20 oz bottle of Aquafina water. However, he made it clear he didn't want to, and complied only after trying to bargain his way out of it. That made TSA agents suspicious. So they retrieved the bottle from the trash and found that it had a secret compartment containing a dark particulate that smelled like weed.
Amazingly, the part about the dark particulate was later retracted. "Scientific tests" supposedly concluded that there was no pot in the secret compartment. And frankly, that sounds like a coverup.
The secret compartment was definitely there, though. And Michael Vick gave a pretty ridiculous excuse for it: it was his secret hiding spot for his jewelry.
Haha yeah right.
11. Michael Vick
Infraction: losing streak
What had happened was: “It was the grey jerseys.”
In April of 1996, with Manchester United in danger of choking away their third Premier League Championship in four years, their coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, came up with an absolutely hilarious excuse: their grey road jerseys.
"The players couldn't pick each other out," Ferguson explained. "They said it was difficult to see their team-mates at distance when they lifted their heads.
Ferguson is a legend of English soccer who led ManU back to glory, so it's hard to imagine he really believed that. In all likelihood, he used the grey jersey excuse as a psychological trick to help his team get out of their funk. And it worked. Manchest United did win their third title in four years. Then they won it again the following season.
10. Manchester United
Infraction: skipping the home opener
What had happened was: “My eyelid is stuck.”
Cuban outfielder Jose Cardenal was a famously temperamental throughout his 18-year major league career. In 1974, during some sort of dispute with Chicago Cubs management, Cardenal refused to take the field for the home opener. The reason he gave? He slept funny, and his eyelid was stuck open.
That is some Manny Ramirez-level sh*t right there.
9. Jose Cardenal
What had happened was: “It was the whisky!”
Remember when Floyd Landis won the Tour de France in 2006, then had the title taken away after he tested positive for PEDs? Well, in the aftermath of that scandal, before he finally came clean, he initially tried out a bunch of hilarious excuses. The best, though, was that he tested positive because he drank whisky.
I don't know about you, but in my experience whisky has never really enhanced anything.
8. Floyd Landis
What had happened was: “I fell!”
Everybody on earth saw Luis Suarez biteGiorgio Chiellini at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and many of us were well aware he had a history of biting. How he thought he could get away with it by claiming he just fell on Chiellini teeth-first is beyond me.
7. Luis Suarez
Infraction: betting on baseball and lying about it
What had happened was: “I have Oppositional Defiant Disorder.”
In his 2004 autobiography, My Prison Without Bars, Peter Rose finally admitted to betting on baseball. However, he said there was a very good reason for getting into trouble and lying about it. He had something called Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD, which the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes as the tendency to engage in "unpopular dissent, non-aggressive resistance, deliberate disobedience to authority, abstaining from widely accepted norms, or refusal to comply with any request in a particular setting."
Sounds legit, right?
The problem? Well, for one, ODD is usually (though not always) a childhood disorder. Also, ODD is not characterized by deceit.
Shouldda researched your excuse better, Charlie Hustle.
6. Pete Rose
Infraction: throwing a bat at Mike Piazza
What had happened was: “I thought it was the ball.”
In Game 2 of the 2000 World Series between the Mets and Yankees, Mets catcher Mike Piazza got sawed off by a Roger Clemens pitch, and the barrel of his bat shot off toward the mound. So Roger Clemens picked it up and threw it at Piazza as he ran down the first base line.
What? Yes. Threw the bat at him.
It was probably just a case of roid rage. However, Clemens couldn't come out and say that. So instead he said he thought the bat was the ball.
Just think about that for a minute.
5. Roger Clemens
Infraction: tested positive for testosterone
What had happened was: “The lady deserved a treat.”
In 1998, after U.S. sprinter Dennis Mitchell tested positive for high levels of testosterone, he gave the most eloquently-worded excuses in sports history. It seems the night before the test he drank a bunch of beer and had vigorous sex with his wife fourtimes.
But why all the sex? "It was her birthday," Mitchell actually explained. "The lady deserved a treat."
Incidentally, USA Track and Field bought this explanation. The IAAF did not.
4. Dennis Mitchell
Infraction: losing a game
What had happened was: “We were struck by lightning.”
After North Korea lost 2-0 to the United States in their first game of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, their coach had to explain his team's wilting performance. So he came up with this doozy: the entire team was struck by lightning the month before, and they haven't been the same since.
Sounds ridiculous, I know. But it's pretty standard nonsense for North Koreans.
3. North Korean Women’s Soccer Team
Infraction: blood transfusion
What had happened was: “It’s not me, it’s the unborn twin who lives inside me.”
During the 2004 Vuelta a Espania, American cyclist Tyler Hamilton tested positive for a homologous blood tranfusion—i.e., pumping somebody else's red blood cells into his body. However, Hamilton denied the test results and instead posited this theory: fetal resorption.
Also called a vanishing twin, fetal resorption is when a twin dies in utero and is absorbed by the other twin, which results in the living twin possession genetic material that does not belong to him.
It was a nice try, but fetal resorption could not have produced Hamilton's results. He would later admit to EPOs and blood transfusions, but said he never used somebody else's blood in the transfusions. So his trainers probably mixed somebody else's red blood cells in without his knowledge.
2. Tyler Hamilton
Infraction: losing a match
What had happened was: “My jock strap was too tight…and when he serves he farts.”
And the away for most ridiculous sports excuse of all time goes to zambian tennis player Lighton Ndefwayl. Here's what he reportedly said after losing a match:
Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia.That is EPIC. Unfortunately, I cannot find a reliable source testifying to the veracity of this quite, nor could I find a picture of this guy. However, I did find evidence that Lighton Ndefwayl is indeed a Zambian tennis player. So ultimately I think this absurd quote is legit.