John Tortorella and 10 Other Coaches Who Flipped Out On the Media
The hockey world is buzzing about Rangers’ coach John Tortorella’s short temper when it comes to post-game press conferences.
On Wednesday night after a loss to the Devils, Tortorella left the stage after just one minute, during which he was terse and flippant. His one-word answers bothered some members of the press, and reflected Tortorella’s growing hostility toward reporters and having to discuss mechanics and shortcomings outside of the locker room with his team.
Tortorella is just the latest professional coach to harbor animosity toward the ones covering him. Here’s a look at 10 of our favorite standoffs between coaches and reporters:
The former Colts’ coach goes off on his epic “playoffs” rant after explaining his team’s disappointing play. When the subject of playoffs comes up, Mora’s pitch hits a Muppet-like level, as he squeaks his way to say, “I just hope we can win a game.” It’s one of the most memorable press conference moments in recent memory, and one prompted by a reporter chiming in at the wrong time.
Edwards gives his famous rant to journalists about why teams play games: “We play to win the game.” After he realizes the inanity in the room, Edwards follows up with a comment about the whole conversation bothering him. For reporters looking for a good quote, Edwards didn’t provide them much more than a cheap laugh. But at least he got all of that off his chest.
After an NBA Finals loss, the Mavericks’ coach turns the question back on the reporter when confronted about his “impression” about a particular play. Johnson makes it even more awkward when the reporter stammers and stutters, unsure what Johnson wants from him. Johnson maintains his composure, to his credit, but he achieved a new method of diverting a question by pinning it back on the questioner.
After a tough Monday Night Football loss, the Cardinals’ coach loses his composure, telling reporters that his team “let [the Bears] off the hook.” His point was legitimate – that they had prepared adequately for the game and knew what they would see from Chicago that night. But Arizona couldn’t close it out, to the frustration of their head coach. Green just couldn’t find the right words to convey it in the heat of the moment.
Back in 1993, the Royals’ manager went crazy and started to throw things and curse at reporters when they seemed to second-guess some of his managerial decisions. It was the kind of meltdown you’d more reasonably expect to see in the movies, not something a professional manager would pull in his postgame remarks. “I’m tired of all of these stupid ass questions every night,” he repeats for emphasis.
After a 1989 game, the Vikings’ coach loses his cool and starts cursing like a sailor, and his remarks come faster and more unintelligibly as he goes on. He winds up going into a long-winded rant about working hard and all the positive elements of the game. Burns’ speaking style doesn’t do him any favors here as he sounds like a drunken old man with something to say. The whole tirade fittingly ends with a simple “F–kers” in an undertone.
TONY LA RUSSA
Managers and reporters spend so much time together that they really get to know each other. La Russa showed he’s paying attention to what’s written about his team when he told a reporter that he won’t stand behind cheap shots in the local press aimed at the competition. “I chose not to talk to the Post-Dispatch and that’s what I’m going to do,” he declares. It’s hard for anyone to move on from that, and the standoff goes on, and on.
The infamously short-tempered manager took on announcer Steve Stone, among others, who Piniella believed didn’t have the credentials and success to criticize him and the team. “You get tired of it,” he says before trying to cut himself off. Then he continues on for a while longer, calling his detractors just as “ridiculous” as he is. Even after the conversation moves on, Piniella returns to the topic again. He just can’t seem to move on.
Ditka was so abrupt with and angry at reporters after a game that one of them asked him, “Why are you in such a bad mood?” He replied, “What do you care? If you were 2-7 you’d be in a bad mood, too.” That exchange didn’t help lighten the tension for sports journalists on deadline. Dealing with Ditka couldn’t have been a pleasant experience, especially when he lost.
Zorn freaks out at a reporter after a misunderstanding that left the Redskins’ coach “ticked off” for what he perceives as disrespect from the questioner. Zorn only stayed in that post for two seasons, and they were particularly unmemorable ones. But he did leave this heated exchange behind as a reminder of his turbulent and uncomfortable tenure.