By Dan Jenkins
The sports world can be a strange place sometimes. It’s a mix of all sorts of people from all different places and backgrounds. That’s what makes it great — but also sometimes a little weird.READ MORE: U Of M Establishes New Sexual Misconduct Policy For Employees, Students
We like to cover some of these crazy tales here at CBS Detroit and have compiled a list of the 10 best from the Detroit area and elsewhere from the past year. Here they are in no particular order:
Peyton Manning isn’t normally one to get his feathers ruffled. He commands his offense with precision and a sense of calm even in the harshest environments. But in a Week 8 matchup with the San Diego Chargers, Manning lost his cool — not with his teammates, a coach or an opposing player, but the home scoreboard operator.
Manning was upset that someone in charge of the jumbotron at Sports Authority Field was pumping up the fans while the Broncos were on offense, while showing live shots of opposing quarterback Philip Rivers on the screen.
“I have no problem with our fans. Our fans are great,” Manning said after the 35-21 win. “I’ve got a problem with our scoreboard operator. I’ve got to have a little talk with him…I’m not sure what he’s doing, he’s playing music and showing players dancing and getting the crowd fired up when we have the ball. I don’t think we should be doing that. I don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought that was disrespectful.”
This story is just one of great coincidence. A man was tragically killed on the M-39 freeway on Sept. 26 when the bucket of a hydraulic garbage truck struck a pedestrian bridge near Joy Rd., collapsing it to the ground. The driver, a man in his 40s, was taken to the hospital by EMS and later pronounced dead.
In a bizarre twist, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was on the scene mingling with observers after his car was stopped by the bridge collapse. Stafford was quickly — and safely — picked up by a member of the team’s security. Speaking to reporters after Lions practice later in the day, Stafford talked about the ordeal.
“Obviously you don’t expect to see a bridge down, you know, on the highway,” Stafford said. “But I was just mostly worried about trying to get her as fast as I could; and, obviously, the health of the driver.”
Bridgepost Sound Tigers goalie David Leggio was displeased that his team turned the puck over at center ice, leaving him to face a 2-on-0 breakaway by himself. Leggio proceeded to dislodge the net behind him, resulting in a delay of game and a penalty shot.
Leggio would go on to stop the penalty shot by the single skater in a move of questionable sportsmanship.
An elaborate plot by a celebrity dermatologist to knock off a skin-refining rival allegedly involved someone who used to play for the Detroit Lions. Dawn DaLuise reportedly reached out to a former Lions player, who was not immediately named. The alleged murder for hire plot was reported to police before it could be carried out, and she was arrested.
It was later found out that the player referenced in text messages between DaLuise and a friend was former quarterback Chris Geile. Geile adamantly denied the accusation, saying that he barely knew DaLauise. DaLauise said she was the victim of a stalker who posted a fake Craigslist post under her name.
“I want to clear my name because it’s just been, the mental anguish I’ve suffered is far more than any football injury I’ve ever had,” Geile said.
Jameis Winston has been a lightning rod for media attention ever since he rose to prominence with the Florida State Seminoles by winning every game he’s ever started in college — so far — along with a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy as a freshman in 2013.
Winston wishes he could be remembered for his achievements, rather than his off-the-field troubles. He has famously been involved with sexual assault allegations and student conduct violations, but one of his strangest blunders was “accidentally” walking out of a grocery store with a bundle of crab legs that he didn’t pay for in April. He was given 20 hours of community service and suspended from the FSU baseball team for the incident.
“I went to the supermarket with the intent to purchase dinner but made a terrible mistake for which I’m taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items,” Winston said in a statement through his attorney.READ MORE: AG Nessel Reissues Consumer Alerts Amid Flooding, Power Outages In Michigan
It’s always cool to see an organization interact with fans in a light-hearted way on social media. A Red Wings fan with the Twitter handle @blondebarbie103 tweeted to the team’s official account her desire to some day wed a Wings hockey player:
#futuregoals marry a @detroitredwings hockey player #puckbunny
@blondebarbie103’s account and original tweet were later deleted, but the response from the Red Wings was priceless…
This one is self-explanatory. Tigers fans love Miguel Cabrera for what he does on the field, but perhaps equally what he does off the field. In this interview with MLB Network’s Intentional Talk, Miggy talks about the Zubaz movement that swept the Tigers’ locker room (we’ll get to that later on this list), being featured on the cover of MLB 14 The Show, Bryan Holaday’s interactions with Kate Upton (also later on this list) and how he likes to photobomb teammates.
He gets a little help from his Zubaz-clad teammates early in the interview…
It seems that Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday is pretty comfortable in his own skin. Joba Chamberlain tweeted a photo for him trying to show-up teammate Justin Verlander’s girlfriend, Kate Upton, by sporting a swimsuit of his own during spring training.
Let’s just say this, it’s less than flattering…
Things were going great for the Tigers on May 18. The team had just swept a road series against the Boston Red Sox en route to a 27-12 record. Some players attributed the success to team camaraderie formed behind the Tigers’ new favorite uniforms — Zubaz, which was started by reliever Joba Chamberlain. The team threw a party in the locker room (photos in the link above), but was later stranded in Beantown when the team airplane broke down while getting ready to fly to Cleveland.
The team flew in the next day and lost to the Indians in extra innings, starting a streak where they would lose 20-of-29 games over the next month. It was crowned the Curse of the Zubaz, which were later burned by the team.
The Michigan Wolverines football program hit all sorts of new lows in 2014 — mainly the Shane Morris incident and the fallout, which included student protests and the ousting of coach Brady Hoke and athletic director Dave Brandon. But the strangest thing that marred the program this year was a “miscommunication” between the university and Coca-Cola resulting in a promotion which gave away two FREE tickets to a game with the purchase of two sodas.
Michigan was desperate to keep its streak of 254 straight games of 100,000 or more fans filling the Big House alive, but said that this promotion was never meant to become official.
This story is still fresh, so it’s hard to know what the later impact will be, but fans were blindsided on Dec. 22 when Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy just flat-out cut forward Josh Smith from the team (5-23 record at the time). It was made public that Smith was being shopped to other teams, with no organization wanting to touch his contract unless it came with a first round pick.
“We are shifting priorities to aggressively develop our younger players while also expanding the roles of other players in the current rotation to improve performance and build for our future,” Van Gundy said in a statement. “As we expand certain roles, others will be reduced. In fairness to Josh, being a highly versatile 10-year veteran in this league, we feel it’s best to give him his freedom to move forward. We have full respect for Josh as a player and a person.”
Smith — a hold-over from the Joe Dumars regime, who inked a 4-year, $54 million contract in 2013 — signed with the Houston Rockets a few days later, where he has averaged 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, while continuing to shoot an abysmal .353 from the field with a 56 percent free throw percentage.MORE NEWS: 17-Year-Old Charged In Non-Fatal Shooting In Detroit
On the other side, the Pistons are undefeated in the three games since dropping Smith, blowing out both Cleveland and Orlando on the road.