In the fall of 2007, Twitter was less than a year old, Barack Obama trailed by double digits to Hillary Clinton in the polls and there was an NBA team called the SuperSonics. Needless to say, it was a different time.
That fall, Oklahoma State was an up and coming football team with an up and coming coach. As we would find out on September 22 of that year, head coach Mike Gundy was in fact “a man” and “40”. What was effectively a three-minute loss of emotional control to defend QB Bobby Reid against an article written about him in the Daily Oklahoman, ended up garnering national attention.
Sports media across the country sounded off and initially pushed back against the rant, claiming it was an unfair attack on reporter Jenni Carlson, the writer in which the rant was directed. That criticism is water under the bridge today, but what has stood the test of time is the unintentional comedy that has been immortalized on YouTube.
Lost in the post-game tirade is that OSU won 49-45 in a classic back and forth Big 12 battle against Texas Tech. Graham Harrell threw for over 646 yards and Michael Crabtree dropped a pass in the end zone late in the fourth quarter that would have given Texas Tech the lead. It was one heck of a game, but Gundy only had one thing on his mind and the post-game press conference is what is most remembered from that day in Stillwater.
Over the years I have watched the YouTube video of the Gundy Rant at least 20 times. It is easily one of my favorite viral videos of all time. Unlike movies that you thought were funny when you were a kid, but when re-watched years later just to question your younger self’s judgement, the Gundy Rant stands the test of time. It’s the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation of sports rants. It’s quotable, re-watchable and appreciated by multiple generations.
To honor the fact that this September will be 10 years from the Gundy Rant, and that today is Gundy’s 50th birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to write a running diary of thoughts as I re-watch it one more time.
0:00 – Buffering
I haven’t even hit play yet and my first thought is who would have ever guessed a mullet would be a better look on a person than literally any other haircut? Well, Gundy’s short, overly gelled, spiked look was much worse and it’s not even close. Plus, he is peak Gundy with the post-game visor. The visor is equally as egregious as the spike, but he has stayed committed to it over the years. I can respect that.
0:02 – “I want to talk about this article right here. If anybody hasn’t read this article– I don’t read it…”
This is confusing, He wants to talk about an article that he says he hasn’t read…?
Over the next three minutes he’s going to yell and scream an awful lot about something that he should have very little knowledge of. Of course, we know must have read it. It’s like talking about the Bachelorette and then denying you watch it, even though you clearly do.
0:08 – “This was brought to me by a mother…with children.”
I especially appreciated that even though it is generally implied children would need to exist for one to be a mother, he really wanted to clarify that this mother did indeed have children.
0:42 – “And has never had a child. That had their HEARTBROKEN! AND COME HOME! (pause) upset.”
I’ll never understand why he chose to start screaming with the word “heartbroken” and continues yelling through “and come home” but then pauses for a beat and then lowers the volume for upset. Only a crazy person talks like this and it is basically complete gibberish, but I love it.
0:50 – “And kick a person when he’s down”
Up to this point, he’s been pushing this angle of this person not understanding what it is like to have an upset child and then he quickly pivots to kicking a person when he’s down. Multiple analogies Mike. Analogies are like spouses. Having more than one seems like too much.
1:27 – “Your child goes down the street, and somebody makes fun of him, because he dropped a pass in a pick-up game, or says he’s fat”
Hold on. When did we shift to the body shaming?
2:20 – “Where are we at in society today?”
Using “society today” is a bit redundant. I mean I think we all knew he was not talking about society in Jane Austin’s England.
2:29 – “Come after me! I’m a man! I’m 40!”
I have to talk about this one because this is the attention grabber. The first part is classic don’t go after my boys, but come after me. It’s honorable and of course completely cliché coach speak.
The second part, “I’m a man!” would of course be considered sexist if it were said today in this hyper-vigilant world of political correctness. What he should have said is “I’m a post-adolescent, non-gender specific human!”
Lastly, the “I’m 40!” This is nothing but good old-fashioned putting the exclamation point on your argument. I bet this one felt good when he yelled it at a bunch of people who were likely staring back and wondering if this was real life.
2:40 – “Don’t write about a kid that does everything right, that’s heart’s broken, and then said that the coaches said he was scared. That ain’t true! And then to say that we made that decision because Donovan Woods, because he threatened to transfer. That’s not true! So get your facts straight.”
In this segment, he is stating something that was presumably written in the article and then denies it vehemently through yelling and body language. The first time he did this by using the word “ain’t.” The second time it must have popped into his head that he’s representing a public institution of higher education, so he decided to use proper grammar.
The best part is the step towards Carlson while shaking his head and screaming “That’s not true!” That’s two body movements while yelling, which is the equivalent of padding your head and rubbing your stomach.
3:15 – “This makes me want to puke.”
This line is simple, shows his utter disgust and is the perfect mic drop.
After he’s finished there is some sporadic applause which seems incredibly weird. Was this really necessary? I mean this wasn’t exactly the Gettysburg Address, so I don’t know who exactly thought it was appropriate to applaud.
As Gundy exits, that camera zooms in to show him exiting stage left and catches an un-assuming media member that obviously knows he is on camera and has no idea what to do with his hands. Kind of like when you are a groomsman at a wedding and you know people are looking at you, so you completely forget what a normal way to hold your hands is, so you fold them together in front of your crotch. If you saw someone do that in Target, you would probably report them to the authorities, but in a poor fitting tux, it is the best humans can come up with. Well, rather than the crotch position, this guy decided to execute the fake, scratch your face trick. All in all, it was a good move by that guy. He had to make a quick decision and he executed it pretty well.
Watching this 10 years later gives me a strong sense of nostalgia. Luckily, we have YouTube here to preserve it and pass it down to the next generation and the generation after that. Happy Birthday coach Gundy. Never change.