Sports Traditions – Where do they come from?

Here you are watching your favorite NFL team defeat their opponent. At the end of the game you see the players dumping a cooler full of Gatorade on the head of their coach.  You have seen these sports traditions before and know that you will see it again.  You know that it is an NFL sports tradition but where does it come from? Your mind is still going, WTF.  It’s freezing cold out on the field; if I was the coach I would be pretty upset.

Pele Trading Jersey In Sports TraditionsSports traditions are a big part of the game.  In sports, they help the team and the fans feel like they are part of something bigger than they are.  It is a way to bring unity behind a sport, a city and a team.

Sports traditions are really not that much different from other traditions.  Much like other traditions like giving roses only to signify your love for someone on Valentine’s day.  Roses are given because they are a universal symbol of love and affection that go back to Greek and Roman iconography.

Traditions are never fully set in stone and can change as the years go by.  For example, during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, people eat a traditional meal that has a turkey as its center piece with family and friends.  As the years went by, watching college football became part of the tradition.

They are many sports traditions out there that often make people scratch their heads in wonder.  This is why we are happy to present the best history and reason behind some of the many sports traditions out there.

Sports Traditions Meaning and History

Sports Tradition of Exchanging Jerseys in Soccer

Everyone who has ever watched a soccer game has seen the players exchange jersey at the end of a match.  This is a tradition that goes back to 1931 when France beat England for the first time in an international match.

Much like an invading barbarian hoard, looting a village for souvenirs and trophies, the French team asked the English team if they could keep their jerseys as a memento of their win.  The English team agreed to the request and this became the first time on record that footballers exchanged jerseys.

However, the jersey exchange did not become a tradition until the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland when West Germany defeated Hungary 3-2.

Since then, every World Cup and major international match has seen the traditional exchange of the Jersey.  Today, the exchanging of the jersey is a way for footballers to show respect to each other.  For the teams, it stands a symbol of unity and friendship between them.

Bonus fact: It is said that Pele had multiple jerseys at hand to give to members of the opposing team at the end of a match.

Detroit fans tossing the Octopus

Hockey fans have a tradition to throw thing on the hockey ring after a game.  One of the older “throw something on the ice” tradition is the tossing of the Octopus by Detroit Red Wings fans.

It all began in the 1952 playoffs to win the Stanley Cup.  During that time, an NHL team played two best-of-seven-series to win the trophy.  Pete and Jerry Cusimano who owned a market in Detroit threw an octopus in the ring to symbolize the number of playoff wins necessary for Detroit to win the Stanley Cup.

The Red Wings won that match and went on to defeat Toronto and Montreal and eventually won the 1952 NHL Championship.

We all know that athletes and sports fans are very superstitious people. Since Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 1952, the tradition persisted with each passing year.  Today, this tradition has such a strong foothold for Red Wings fans that they have actually developed a set of  “Etiquette” for throwing the octopus on the ring.

The Gatorade Shower Sports Tradition

Compared to other sports traditions, this is one is considered fairly new.  The iconic image of the smiling coach after winning a game being suddenly drenched by ice cold Gatorade is a classic in the NFL.

According to legends, Jim Burt, a former Giant’s nose-tackle , is the one that started it all. It was when his team defeated Washington in 1984.  According to several sources, Giants coach Bill Parcells had been riding Burt pretty hard that week.  At the end of the game, Burt  said to his teammates, “Parcells is such a prick. Let’s get him!”

This was of course all said for fun and games. In the end, Parcell ended up covered in Gatorade and his reaction was priceless.  Instead of being angry he just smiled .

According to the best sports betting software company, the dumping of the Gatorade, did not catch on until Super Bowl XXI in 1985.  After the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos for the Super Bowl ring, Parcell was again drenched with Gatorade.  As any good coach in the NFL, Parcell was superstitious and decided that in order to keep winning, the tradition had to continue.

Today, this tradition has spread beyond the NFL. It is normal to see winning teams pouring sports drinks over their coach after a victory.  In fact, sportsbooks have odds as to what color sports drinks will be poured on the coach,

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Articles

Back to top button
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x