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How did the tradition of showering coaches with Gatorade start?

The sticky tradition has become synonymous with victory in the NFL.
Credit: AP
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has Gatorade pored on him as the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Adam Hunger/AP Images for NFL)

TAMPA, Fla — It's an iconic game-winning ritual we've all come to expect. The sticky tradition has become synonymous with victory in the NFL. 

After a championship win, players run up behind their coach and surprise them with a celebratory shower of ice-cold Gatorade. But when did this strange tradition begin?

According to Rolling Stone, the first major Gatorade dump happened 30 years ago in Pasadena, California when the New York Giants won Super Bowl XXI.

The team first showered head coach Bill Parcells in the freezing neon drink before getting defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, who would later go on to receive many more Gatorade showers as head coach of the New England Patriots. 

Legend says that former Giants nose tackle Jim Burt came up with the idea at a game his team won against Washington in 1984, according to Rolling Stone.

Former linebacker Harry Carson said Burt wanted to pull a prank on coach Bill Parcells after "Parcells got under Jim’s skin all week," but it was all in good fun. 

Carson kept the prank going all year, showering Parcells with Gatorade after every win during the 1986 season and helping it stick as the tradition we know today. 

It became a phenomenon amongst fans who would hold "Gatorade me" signs in the stands. The sports drink brand is proud of being part of the iconic football ritual, too.

“Gatorade’s mission is to fuel athletic performance, and the dunk has helped our brand become part of the fabric of sport," said Brett O’Brien, Gatorade’s Senior Vice President and General Manager.

Over the years, the tradition was adopted across the NFL and other professional sports leagues. College and high school teams have even taken part in the fun. The Gatorade dump has become so iconic, fans take bets on what color the Gatorade shower will be.

You'll have to watch to see whether Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid or Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians gets to celebrate a Super Bowl victory dripping in ice-cold Gatorade tonight at 6:30 p.m. on 10 Tampa Bay.

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