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12 Memorable Biting Incidents in Sports History

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With a spot in the knockout stages on the line, Uruguay and Italy's match at the 2014 World Cup was a real nail-biter. It also was a shoulder-biter, thanks to Luis Suarez. The star Uruguayan striker appeared to take a chomp out of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini that was caught by the cameras but not the referee. This wasn't Suarez's first toothy incident — the serial biter has done this type of thing before:

In the pantheon of all-time sporting biters, Suarez may be the king. Here are 12 other examples to chew on:

1. In 1997, Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield twice in a heavyweight bout. Referee Mills Lane deducted two points the first time. When Tyson bit Holyfield again in another clinch in the third round, Lane called the bout.

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Announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr.'s reading of the decision -- "Referee Mills Lane has disqualified Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield on both of his ears" -- was perhaps the most interesting in boxing history.

Tyson lost his boxing license but was reinstated a year later and, in 2009, he apologized to Holyfield on Oprah.

More recently, Holyfield had something to say on Twitter about Luis Suarez's incident at the World Cup:

2. In the 1983 NBA playoffs, a scrum broke out between Atlanta's center Wayne "Tree" Rollins and the Boston Celtics' Danny Ainge. Because Ainge was the smaller man and such a pest as a player, many mistakenly believe to this day he did the biting. But it was Ainge who received stitches and a tetanus shot after Rollins clamped down on his finger.

The next day's classic newspaper headline had to suffice: "Tree Bites Man."

3. South African rugby player Johan Le Roux bit New Zealand's Sean Fitzpatrick's ear during a real scrum in 1994. After learning of his lengthy suspension, Le Roux said, "For an 18-month suspension, I feel I probably should have torn it off."

4. Ottawa Senators right wing Jarko Ruutu denied biting the thumb of Buffalo's Andrew Peters in 2009 but was suspended for two games and fined $31,700. Makes the price of Kobe beef look like Alpo.

"I don't think if I did something that stupid I'd really be admitting to it either," Peters said.

5. Sevilla midfielder Francisco Gallardo celebrated a teammate's goal by biting on his genitals in the ensuing pileup. The teammate's genitals. The Royal Spanish Football Federation suspended and fined him for violating "sporting dignity and decorum."

It's the age-old question. Why did he do it? Because he could.

Said Gallardo: “I am sure I didn’t offend anyone. I don’t think what I did was very noteworthy.”

6. An English club rugby player accepted a 80-week ban in 2008 for an incident that left an opponent with "a partial amputation of the right index finger."

7. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows appeared to bite the right finger of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron during the first game of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

"They didn't see it," Bergeron said of the refs. "But we were speaking French and I [asked Burrows] why did he do that. That linesman speaks French, and he said that [Burrows'] explanation was that he put my finger in his mouth and he had to do it."

Boston's Milan Lucic taunted Burrows later in the series, offering his finger for a nibble.

8. Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Daniel Carcillo claimed Boston's Marc Savard bit him during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series in 2010.

"Last time I have been bit was in grade school. It's not a good feeling. ... Guys don't bite. Men don't bite," Carcillo said.

Said Savard, "He pummeled on my face. He pulled on my teeth, so I guess that's biting when a guy tried and pull your front teeth out like his."

9. Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker caught a touchdown pass on the final play of a 1996 game against Georgia. Auburn won, apparently riling up Georgia Bulldog mascot Uga V, who lunged at Baker in the back of the endzone and tried to bite him. We should probably clarify here that Uga V is an actual canine and not a man dressed up as a dog.

10. Philadelphia's Aaron Asham claimed Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Matt Cooke bit him during a fight. "My glove got tangled in his mouth and he bit me, so I lost it," said Asham.

11. In 1997, broadcaster Marv Albert bit female companion Vanessa Perhach multiple times in Virginia, leading to a trial on assault charges. Albert admitted at the trial that biting was part of their sexual encounters but that long-time acquaintance Perhach had never lodged any complaints over it.

The plea agreement didn't come until after testimony from a surprise witness, Hyatt Hotels concierge Patricia Masten.

She said in another time and place she rejected Albert's biting advances, telling the court, “I went to grab his hair, and his hair lifted off.”

Albert understandably entered the plea agreement soon after and was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

12. In May 2014, catcher Miguel Olivo was playing for the L.A. Dodger's Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes. He got in a fight during a game with teammate Alex Guerrero and, during the brawl, Olivo bit off part of Guerrero's ear. The incident eventually led to cosmetic surgery for Guerrero and signaled the end of Olivo's baseball career.

Bud Shaw is a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who has also written for the Philadelphia Daily News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The National. You can read his Plain Dealer columns at Cleveland.com. Portions of this post appeared in 2012.

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Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.

HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

WHAT'S WITH THE NIGHT GAME?


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.

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entertainment
9 Things You Might Not Know About 'Macho Man' Randy Savage
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Even by the standards of pro wrestling and its exaggerated personalities, there’s never been anyone quite like Randy “Macho Man” Savage (1952-2011). A staple of WWE and WCW programming in the 1980s and 1990s, Savage’s bulging neck veins, hoarse voice, and inventive gesticulations made him a star. Check out some facts in honor of what would’ve been Savage’s 65th birthday.

1. HE WAS ORIGINALLY A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER.

Born Randall Poffo in Columbus, Ohio, Savage’s father, Angelo Poffo, was a notable pro wrestler in the 1950s, sometimes wrestling under a mask with a dollar sign on it as “The Masked Miser.” If that was considered the family business, Savage initially strayed from it, pursuing his love of baseball into a spot on the St. Louis Cardinals farm team as a catcher directly out of high school. Savage played nearly 300 minor league games over four seasons. After failing to make the majors, he decided to follow his father into wrestling.

2. A HAWAIIAN WRESTLER INSPIRED HIS FAMOUS TAGLINE.

In 1967, a then-15-year-old Savage accompanied his father to a wrestling event in Hawaii. There, he saw island grappler King Curtis Iaukea deliver a “promo,” or appeal for viewers to watch him in a forthcoming match. Iaukea spoke in a whisper before bellowing, punctuating his sentences with, “Ohhh, yeah!” That peculiar speech pattern stuck with Savage, who adopted it when he began his career in the ring.

3. HIS MOM GAVE HIM THE “MACHO MAN” NICKNAME.


By John McKeon from Lawrence, KS, United States - Randy "Macho Man" Savage, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

According to Savage, his wrestling nickname didn’t come from the Village People song but from an article his mother, Judy, had read in Reader’s Digest announcing that “macho man” was going to be a hot term in the coming years. She mailed it to Savage along with a list of other possible names. Even though neither one seemed to know what a “macho man” was, Savage liked the sound of it. His stage name, Savage, came from Georgia promoter Ole Anderson, who thought Savage’s grappling style was ferocious.

4. HE SCARED OTHER WRESTLERS.

In the early 1980s, Savage’s father had started promoting his own regional shows in the Lexington, Kentucky area. To draw publicity, Savage and the other wrestlers would sometimes show up to rival shows threatening grapplers and offering up wagers that they could beat them up in a real fight. Once, a Memphis wrestler named Bill Dundee pulled a gun on Savage, who allegedly took it away from him and beat him with it. After his father’s promotion closed up, Savage landed in the WWF (now WWE), giving him a national platform.

5. JAKE THE SNAKE’S PYTHON PUT HIM IN THE HOSPITAL.

One of Savage’s recurring feuds in the WWE was with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, a lanky wrestler who carried a python into the ring with him and allowed the reptile to “attack” his opponents. To intensify their rivalry, Savage agreed to allow Roberts’s snake to bite him on the arm during a television taping after being assured it was devenomized. Five days later, Savage was in the hospital with a 104-degree fever. Savage lived, but the snake didn’t; it died just a few days later. “He was devenomized, but maybe I wasn’t,” Savage told IGN in 2004. 

6. HE PLANNED HIS MATCHES DOWN TO THE SECOND.

While outcomes may be planned backstage, the choreography of pro wrestling is left largely up to the participants, who either talk it over prior to going out or call their moves while in the ring. For a 1987 match with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III, Savage wanted everything to be absolutely perfect.

“We both had those yellow legal tablets, and we started making notes,” Steamboat told Sports Illustrated in 2015. “Randy would have his set of notes and I would have mine. Then we got everything addressed—number 1, number 2, number 3—and we went up to number 157. Randy would say, ‘OK, here is up to spot 90, now you tell me the rest.’ I would have to go through the rest, then I would quiz him. I’d never planned out a match that way, so it was very stressful to remember everything.” The effort was worth it: Their match is considered by many fans to be among the greatest of all time.

7. HIS MARRIAGE TO MISS ELIZABETH CAUSED PROBLEMS IN THE LOCKER ROOM.

Savage’s “valet” in the WWE was Miss Elizabeth, a fixture of his corner during most of his career in the 1980s. Although they had an onscreen wedding in 1991, they had been married in real life back in 1984. According to several wrestlers, Savage was jealously guarded with his wife, whom he kept in their own locker room. Savage would also confront wrestlers he believed to have been hitting on her. The strain of working and traveling together was said to have contributed to their (real) divorce in 1991.

8. HE CUT A RAP ALBUM DISSING HULK HOGAN.

In 2003, with his best years in the ring behind him, Savage decided to pursue a new career in rap music. Be a Man featured 13 rap songs, including one that eulogized his late friend, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. But the performance that got the most mainstream attention was the title track, which dissed wrestling star Hulk Hogan. The two had apparently gotten into a rivalry after Hogan made some disparaging comments about Savage on a Tampa, Florida radio show. Whether the sentiment was real or staged, it didn’t do much to help sales: Be a Man moved just 3000 copies.

9. HE MIGHT GET A STATUE IN HIS HOMETOWN.

In 2016, fans circulated a petition to get Savage his own statue in Columbus, Ohio. The initiative was inspired by the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a monument in Columbus, and wrestling fans argue that Savage should get equal time. The mayor has yet to issue a response. In the meantime, a 20-inch-tall resin statue of Savage was released by McFarlane Toys in 2014.

See Also: 10 Larger-Than-Life Facts About Andre the Giant

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