After 30 years in the wilderness, Liverpool football club managed to take their first Premier League title of the modern era this season. The feat put them on par with the like Blackburn Rovers AFC and Leicester City. Talk of a treble early in the season had quickly fallen away but you wouldn’t know listening to pundits ready to proclaim the win one of the greatest and the team, who were on course for a points tally record, as the start of a new invincible football dynasty. However at the time of writing, this Liverpool team look a shadow of that team a few weeks ago, and fair play to them. They won and they stopped giving a fuck. It’s human nature. But it made us wonder how many other athletes and teams just stopped giving a fuck?
Here are eight.
Ok, let’s get the easy one out of the way first. Tiger Woods may well be the greatest golfer of all time. He spent over 250 consecutive weeks at number 1 and when he realised he was at the pinnacle he started phoning it in for a decade so he could cheat on his wife. He literally dropped 1,992 places in the rankings. Did he care? no. In fact, he got caught by cops with a bunch of pain meds, his wife smashed his Audi with his golf clubs (and Audi gave him a replacement car for free) and then he decided he wanted to be good again. Currently world number 14.
This one hurts. 1968 European Champions and so good that three players get statues built outside Old Trafford. It was the culmination of a teams journey that began a decade earlier when half the squad died in a plane crash. For players like Sir Bobby Charlton, who had been on that plane, it was an emotional crescendo. It felt like an ending, not a beginning. Fast forward another 10 years and the club was relegated from the league with one of their former heroes from that night, Dennis Law, scoring the goal for Man City that sent them down.
The Chicago Bulls
Twice. Once when MJ decided to play baseball. The other time every season since the “Last Ride.”
In 1994, Damon Hill needed to finish higher than Michael Schumacher in the final race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, a point separated them. Each man had yet to win a title. So in the 36th lap, with Hill closing in on his rival and looking like he may pull off the greatest victory of his career Schumacher did the only thing he could. Put them both into a wall. Neither man scored a point. The German won the first of his record title hauls. As for Hill, he would claim a title two years later and then be let go by his team. Retiring a little broken.
The contentious part here isn’t whether Ryder gave up but whether he actually tried in the first place. Such was his level of talent. If Cricket isn’t your sport replace Ryder with Zac Gilford. Same story, same result.
Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Honestly, that should be the title of a biopic on Rousey. She dominated a sport, an industry, global media. She was the baddest women on the planet. Then she got punched in the mouth. Now she occasionally fake wrestles in the WWE.
While we are talking about Tyson let’s make the point that Iron Mike didn’t stop giving a fuck when he went to prison. He came back twice as committed and twice as hungry. Unfortunately, Evander Holyfield was his Moby Dick. The antithesis of Tyson, Holyfield out thought, outboxed, out-executed him. It was the fight to end all fights and unlike everyone else on this list, you see the exact moment where Tyson stops giving a fuck. It’s about two hits before he leans over and bites part of his opponents ear off. He forced a DQ and he was done.
Everybody This one feels a little like cheating but we can’t do odd numbers in lists. Never has an athlete been so hyped, so endorsed, so present on the walls of teenage boys, only to achieve absolutely nothing and get paid millions for it. Surely there was a time before retirement and a marriage to a pop star where she must have wanted to be a tennis player? No career singles titles, highest ranking of 6th. Net worth 50 million dollars. I guess there are worse things in the world than not giving a fuck.