The Greatest Meltdowns in (Recent) Sports History

2011 US Open - Day 14 Serena Williams of the United States questions the call of chair umpire Eva Asderakia while playing against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the Women's Singles Final on Day Fourteen of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Getty Images)more pics »Australian Sam Stosur shocked the world this past Sunday by trumping Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 to win the women's singles championship at the US Open. Far less surprising: seeing Williams berate chair umpire Eva Asderaki in the midst of her match. Why? Well, the American tennis star unleashed a similar tirade on the same exact court two years ago. But if it makes the former world No. 1 feel better, she's far from the first athlete to lose her cool in the heat of the moment.

Who: Serena Williams
When: September 2011
Why: Facing break point while serving in the first game of the second set, Williams nailed what she thought was a forehand winner. Screaming out "Come on!" in celebration, the American had her joy curtailed when the chair umpire ruled the yelp had came while the point was still in play. In what's known in tennis as the hindrance rule, a player cannot distract his/her opponent from reaching the ball. And since Stosur was in the midst of stretching to hit a backhand, Williams ended up penalized, losing the point. Then came the fury.

Who: NFL coach Dennis Green
When: October 2006
Why: With his squad up 23-3 against the Chicago Bears, Green stood by helplessly as the Cardinals blew their lead and lost the game. In response, the coach blew his own top. Giving up 20 points in the fourth quarter hurts. But having a complete meltdown in front of millions -- the press conference aired as part of Monday Night Football -- probably wasn't the best way to deal with that pain. And what would you know, in January of that same year, Green got fired. But thanks to the beauty of the Internet, his tirade lives on.

Who: AHL coach Jim Playfair
When: March 2007
Why: When most coaches disagree with a penalty call, they yell at the referee to voice their displeasure. Then there's Jim Playfair, who rips off his jacket like Hulk Hogan and smashes sticks in a wild rage. With his team down four goals late in the game, it's understandable he wasn't in the best of spirits. But when the play-by-play announcer says you've lost your mind, things have probably gone a bit too far.

Who: Zinedine Zidane
When: 2006 World Cup Final
Why: In some corners of the world -- mostly playgrounds and your friend's couch -- it's totally acceptable to make "Your mom" jokes. Just don't you dare go making fun of former French soccer star Zinedine Zidane's family -- unless of course, you enjoy having a glistening bald head smashed into your chest.
Playing in extra time against Italy, Zidane -- who retired from the sport following the tournament's end -- went out with a bang. While he missed a crucial header late in the match, the French legend was on mark when he headbutted Marco Materazzi in the chest after the Italian defender defamed Zidane's sister. And they say the French can't win any wars!

Who: Brian Wilson
When: July 2011
Why: Even the best relief pitchers in baseball give up the occasional lead. But when San Francisco Giants star Brian Wilson blew two saves in one week, the bearded one erupted in a rage worthy of the best. Pulled from the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, the closer returned to the dugout where he tried his hand at batting practice. And by practice, we mean Wilson picked up some pine and beat the living hell out of a Gatorade bucket. Because that's what World Series champions do.

Who: Serena Williams (again)
When: September 2009
Why: In 2011, the American tennis star blew her cool in the final and lost the match. In 2009, she didn't even make it to the championship game. But she definitely had one hell of a meltdown. After losing the first set to Kim Clijsters, Williams smashed her racket. But the real outburst didn't come until late in the second set when the line judge called her for a foot fault. Though the star's profanity-laced response didn't appear too extreme (visually speaking), it ultimately cost her the tournament. Docked another point for cursing, Williams gave up match point without taking one swing of her racket.

Who: Bruno Echagaray
When: January 2008
Why: Before we get into the why, we should explain we've also never heard of Bruno Echagaray. Though his name does sound like a bottle of wine you might order at an upscale Italian joint. But we're here to talk meltdowns, not cuisine. And while his outburst was relatively mild given the circumstance -- he lost the match after being called for a foot fault -- the commentator in this clip more than makes up for the lack of drama. We're 87 percent sure if you close your eyes and imagine your favorite scene from Planet Earth, this video will make complete sense. Seriously, just try.

Who: Minor League baseball coach Wally Backman
When: June 2010
Why: Not a whole lot of people watch minor league baseball. But if more did, they might catch such wonderous moments like the one Wally Backman gave us last year while coaching the South Georgia Peanuts. When it comes to epic meltdowns, Backman does it like a pro -- which is fitting, because he played for the 1986 World Series-winning New York Mets. LIke most baseball related tirades, the coach's eruption came about after he questioned an umpire's call. Next thing you knew, a whirlwind of bats, balls and F-Bombs wreaked havoc on the grassy, tranquil fields of South Carolina.

I'm a former Associate Editor at Zimbio.