We all know and love the antics of Shannon Sharpe.
This is the player that is so famously quoted for calling the national guard because the "Broncos are killing the Patriots." He was the king of smack, the true "Mouth of the South" and someone that knew exactly the right buttons to push to get underneath someone's skin.
Broncos vs. Chiefs, Monday - November 16th, 1998
Coming into this game, the Broncos were red-hot reeling off 9 straight wins directly following a long awaited Super Bowl Run. The Chiefs on the other hand started off red-hot at 4-1 only to stumble into Arrowhead a disappointing 4-5. The Broncos were ahead in the division by a large margin and came into that contest without the services of John Elway who had aggravated a hamstring injury early in the season against the Cowboys.
The very first score of the game set the tone for the entire evening. Bubby Brister broke the pocket and scampered 38-yards for a touchdown. Then, Terrell Davis broke one for 41-yards giving the Broncos an early 14-0 lead. Kimbell Anders caught a Chief Touchdown for their only score, and after the Broncos prolific offense marched up and down the field with Bubby Brister at the helm to the tune of 23 points, the sequence of the game occurred.
On the final TD drive, the Chiefs were flagged 5 TIMES for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. All Pro LB and pass rushing phenom Derrick Thomas was the culprit on three of them, once for hitting Brister in the head when he was on the ground, and twice for grabbing and twisting at TE Shannon Sharpe's leg.
What caused this eruption of bone-headed-ness and emotional poor judgement?
Shannon Sharpe and Derrick Thomas knew each other. Sharpe knew the phone number of Thomas' girlfriend and before each snap on that final drive would recite the entire phone number one digit at a time. Talk about getting into someone's head!
The Broncos of course went on to win the game, and the conduct of Thomas, McClockton, and Simmons became a black mark on the Chiefs franchise, causing Lamar Hunt to say that their actions had "disgraced the organization as well as the community."
In fact here is an excerpt from an old Sports Illustrated article that detailed the contrition Derrick Thomas felt for his behavior:
"I allowed a situation to get out of hand. For that, I apologize to my teammates who were on the field with me. I jeopardized our ability to win a football game," Thomas said. "I sincerely apologize and say to them my actions of last evening will never occur again.
"I have to take this week and evaluate Derrick Thomas and come back and be the best that I can be for my team and for my teammates."
Many wondered why Thomas was not ejected after his second face mask infraction in a matter of minutes against Sharpe. Schottenheimer admitted he should have pulled Thomas off the field.
"To Shannon, who I've known for a long, long time, and we've had our ins and outs and run-ins, I apologize to him because those type of actions shouldn't occur in a football game," Thomas said. "To the youth of America that look up to Derrick Thomas, I apologize to you because that is not sportsmanlike conduct and you should not conduct yourself that way on the field."
Ultimately, Thomas was suspended for one game. Shannon Sharpe? He went on to talk up a storm leading up to Super Bowl 33, a game which the Broncos won by two scores.
All I can say is, Mr. Sharpe, you are the gold standard for trash talkers everywhere. Way to get under that man's skin!