The Gatorade Bucket

Tuesday June 10th, 2014

The MMQB presents NFL 95, a special project—unveiled every Wednesday from May through July—detailing 95 artifacts that tell the story of the NFL, as the league prepares to enter its 95th season. See the entire series here.

There’s some dispute as to whether the Gatorade dunk started with the Bears in 1984 or the Giants in ’85, though it’s clear the Giants were most responsible for the tradition which stands today. 

Teammates Jim Burt and Harry Carson turned the Gatorade bath of coach Bill Parcells into a special form of celebration on the Giants’ road to Super Bowl XXI. Parcells’ bonhomie in the matter didn’t hurt. When the season was over, New York having defeated Denver in Super Bowl XXI, Gatorade thanked Carson and Parcells for all the free publicity with $120,000 for the coach over three seasons and $20,000 to put Carson on a Gatorade poster, according to Darren Rovell in his 2005 book "First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon." 

“It’s really remarkable that people haven’t found anything else to do,” Rovell told the Washington Post in 2012. “The bullpen car is gone in baseball. Or how many people are really putting on eye black? Sports traditions don’t really last anymore.”

—Robert Klemko




 NFL 95: Read the Series



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