The History of the Gatorade Shower

Sports can result in some of the most unpredictable events we have the privilege of witnessing. The biggest underdog can rise from the trenches to overcome the naysayers and defeat even the most formidable of opponents. The contests that are most easily predicted can be those that become instant classics, as the predictions are completely defied. There is always one constant within sports though, especially in those moments where the unexpected is realized: When the underdog defeats the previously undefeatable, when the Super Bowl is clinched, the victorious head coach can be confident that they are about to get wet with the notorious Gatorade shower. While the cold, unsuspecting drenching has been seen throughout many leagues and venues, including the NBA Finals and following Los Angeles Angels pitcher Ervin Santana’s first no-hitter, it is most commonplace within football, specifically the Super Bowl.

Even though it is one of the most visible and well-known forms of celebration, a majority of fans have no idea how the tradition began. Many believe the creation of the phenomenon to have occurred during Super Bowl XXI, when New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells was unexpectedly soaked with the drink after defeating the Denver Broncos 39-20. Others claim the conception of the Gatorade bath also lies with New York and Bill Parcells, arguing that Jim Burt of the Giants first dumped the drink upon his head coach following a 37-13 victory against the Washington Redskins on October 28, 1984 in retaliation of how he was treated throughout the previous week. Yet another story claims that Chicago Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton was the first to shower his coach Mike Ditka in 1984 after clinching the NFC Central division title.

Unsatisfied with any of those stories, some people have even made up their own history of the Gatorade shower.  One such tongue in cheek story explains that the real creators of the now famous Gatorade bath were not part of an NFL squad, but rather a disgruntled high school team out of Peoria, Illinois. The West Peoria River Rats, after losing a game that knocked them out of playoff contention, were so fed up with their coach, 72-year-old Mac Maghee, that they waited until he walked into the locker room after the game to dump a cooler of Gatorade over his head. The unforeseen, freezing blast sent Maghee into shock, ultimately causing him to succumb to ventricular fibrillation five days later.

The Gatorade shower has become a staple at the end of Super Bowls and other major victories, becoming a symbol of triumph and celebration that exhibits ultimate bliss. With becoming such a constant in sports, and football especially, the phenomenon that is the Gatorade bath is now the focus of many subordinate aspects of sport, including the betting scene. Gambling on the Super Bowl can now range from which team will win the Vince Lombardi trophy to what color Gatorade will adorn the victorious coach.

Regardless of its history, the Gatorade shower has become an event that is to be expected within those defining moments in sports. The Gatorade can appear in many colors. It doesn’t even have to be Gatorade; it could be a cooler filled with ice cold water or any other thirst quencher found on the sidelines. What will always be constant is that the winning coach within each Super Bowl, and many other championship performances, can be assured of being smothered in the cold Gatorade beverage, literally tasting the thrill of victory.

Even in the virtual world Gatorade is a staple.  EA fans can dump Gatorade on your coach in Madden 12.

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