Did Fairleigh Dickinson’s stunning upset of Purdue on Friday make one of the greatest rants in sports history even better, more than 20 years after the fact? Possibly.
In 2001, the Indianapolis Colts lost a game to the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Mora, the Indianapolis coach at the time, opened his press conference by calling out the offense for its turnovers. And while he didn’t name a specific player, Mora was clearly frustrated with Peyton Manning. Then, a reporter asked Mora about his team’s chances to make the playoffs.
At that moment, the rant went from great to legendary.
“PLAYOFFS?!?! Don’t talk about — PLAYOFFS?!?! You kidding me? PLAYOFFS?!?! I just hope we can win a game, another game.”
Now, you may be wondering. What does an NFL rant from 2001 have to do with a No. 16 seed beating a No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament more than 20 years after the fact?
Not long after Fairleigh Dickinson’s upset went final, Angela Moryan of WISH-TV in Indianapolis shared a photo of the whiteboard inside of Purdue’s locker room. Someone put a hole in it.
The whiteboard in #Purdue’s locker room#MarchMadness @WISH_TV #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/J0h7ojvY5P
— Angela Moryan (@SidelineStormer) March 18, 2023
A lot of Twitter users responded, noting that the hole is shaped similarly to New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickinson’s home state. But one responder shared another story. And this is where the “PLAYOFFS?!?!” rant from 2001 and the Knights’ upset over the Boilermakers come together.
Reggie Wayne was a rookie on the 2001 Colts. When he saw Moryan’s tweet, he shared a story about Mora.
“I remember when Jim Mora tried to do this in 2001 but he wasn’t successful… #hilarious”
I remember when Jim Mora tried to do this in 2001 but he wasn't successful… #hilarious https://t.co/0jjAerznfi
— Reggie Wayne (@ReggieWayne_17) March 18, 2023
Of course, we must note that we don’t know if Mora’s unsuccessful attempt at breaking the whiteboard happened on the same day as his famed rant. The Colts were 6-10 that season. So, he had plenty of other chances — and it might have happened more than once.
But it’s sure fun to imagine Mora speaking to the team immediately after the game, trying to break a whiteboard, failing, getting frustrated, heading into the media room and disgustedly dismissing his team’s chances at the PLAYOFFS?!?!
[Reggie Wayne, Photo Credit: Angela Moryan]