Joe Paterno Statue Goes Blind After Pranksters Steal His Specs. Greatest Sports Prank Ever? Not Quite.
The glasses were stolen off of the Joe Paterno statue outside of Beaver Stadium at Penn State. It happened sometime around January 2, and PSU police are very interested in finding out who pulled it off... literally.
Stealing the spectacles from a senior citizen's statue is certainly a spectacular scheme, but how does it stack up against some of the greatest sports pranks of all time? Let's find out:
Brett Favre Stinks
Well, maybe not Favre himself. But his prank stunk pretty badly (literally), according to Jets teammates. It makes sense that there would be a bit of a stench though, since Favre dumped some sort of dead animal into teammate Eric Barton's locker. Teammates were impressed with this gutsy display of leadership, and Barton said that it was "definitely up there", in terms of best pranks.
Kyle Kendrick Traded To Japan
Brett Myers teamed up with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, assistant GM Ruben Amaro and various media members to give Kyle Kendrick some shocking news. Kendrick was given some very official-looking paperwork that indicated that he had been traded to a team in Japan. The papers included fake trade paperwork, a fake press release, and even fake flight itinerary to Japan. Kendrick was extremely relieved to find out that it was just a prank, saying "I've never been so happy. Seriously," when the truth was revealed.
Ban The Boz
Brian Bosworth wasn't on the same level as John Elway as a football player, but he was definitely a step or two ahead of Elway's fans. In a hilariously elaborate money-making scheme, Bosworth used Denver's love of Elway to gain himself some extra cash, and a little extra publicity.
Bosworth called Elway "Horse Face", prompting the Broncos QB to reveal that Bosworth often said irrational things to him from across the line of scrimmage. Fans in Denver were incredulous that anyone would ever talk in such a way to their precious QB.
In an effort to retaliate against Bosworth, they purchased and began wearing t-shirts with the statement "Ban The Boz" featured on them. Unfortunately for them, they had played right into Bosworth's hands... and his wallet. Bosworth had made and distributed the shirts himself, and was making a profit every time a Broncos fan bought one.
Brian Bosworth 1, Broncos fans 0.
The Incredible Sidd Finch
Never before had the world seen a pitching prospect comparable to Sidd Finch. On April 1, 1985, George Plimpton introduced the world to "The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch". While tales of a gawky lefty wearing one hiking boot throwing pitches which were supposedly 168 mph should have been the first clue that the story was a hoax, many readers fell for it. Plimpton received thousands of messages from inquiring minds concerning the young pitching phenom.
In another example of a fictitious athlete, L. Jon Wertheim created Simonya Popova, a stunning and gifted female amateur tennis player, whose accomplishments included a 125-mph serve and a win at the Orange Bowl tournament at age 15, in which she didn't lose a single set.
It wasn't necessarily intended to be a prank. Wertheim's goal was actually to show how much the world of women's tennis needed a fresh new star to revitalize the sport. The article concludes by saying that "with skills to compete with the Williams sisters and a celebrity force field to rival Kournikova's, Popova is precisely the player longed for by a tour that's losing its mojo. If only she existed."
The Women's Tennis Association was less than impressed, and bashed SI, saying that they should have used the magazine space to feature real tennis players. Fortunately for Wertheim and SI, the goal was not to make the WTA happy, but to make a point about the state of women's tennis at the time.
Judging by the reaction that it got, not only from the WTA, but from many fans who disregarded the conclusion of the article and were curious about the player who didn't actually exist, it's safe to say that the point was made.
In 2004, some Yale students took the heated Ivy League rivalry between Harvard and Yale to a new level. They used the stadium seating chart, some snazzy t-shirts and a bunch of colored pieces of paper to devise an elaborate plan, which resulted in the Harvard cheering section holding up colored paper signs spelling out "We Suck". Thousands of Yale fans concur.
Intelligently, of course.
This one was actually replicated by a high school student in Ohio. Unfortunately for Hilliard Darby senior Kyle Garchar, it resulted in a suspension, since apparently school officials at Hilliard Darby don't have much of a sense of humor.
Who was the original group to pull this one off? Cal Tech, in the...
Great Rose Bowl Hoax
Cal Tech knew they'd never make the Rose Bowl. Not legitimately, at least. So in 1961, some Cal Tech fans found a way for their beloved school to be represented at the Granddaddy of Them All. This one earns the top spot in my book because of the incredible detail and work that went into this one. They got connected with the Washington cheerleaders, swapped out over 2,000 instruction cards, and used various methods to make them appear like the old ones, including oxidation, dyes and baking. These students put in an incredible amount of work and pulled off a pretty incredible stunt.
Which of these were the greatest sports prank of all time? Which great pranks got left out? Cast your vote for the greatest sports prank of all time.
Joe Paterno's Statue Is More Realistic, Less Hallowed Than You Think [Fanhouse]
The 10 Best College Sports Pranks [SI]
7 Great Sports Scams, Scandals, and Hoaxes [Neatorama]