Most of us have never been around an NFL locker room, but we have all heard stories about some of the pranks that go on and they can be pretty creative.
That being said, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press published a piece on Sunday which included one of the funniest (and most creative) pranks I have ever heard of and it was orchestrated by Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
From Detroit Free Press:
Jed Collins, who played fullback for the Lions in 2014, said his favorite catch from Stafford was the 1-yard touchdown he caught in a 24-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Collins, whose wife gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Palmer, a few months earlier, ran through All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly’s tackle at the goal line and celebrated by rocking the football like a baby.
A few days later, Collins found a FedEx envelope in his locker containing a letter, informing him he was being fined $11,025 for using the football as a prop in a celebration.
Collins was “kind of beside myself” the rest of the day, angry about the fine and half-engaged at that day’s walk-through.
“I’m a fullback, I’m counting my dollars,” he said. “I don’t want to waste any of it.”
When Stafford huddled the players after practice, he told them that then-Lions coach Jim Caldwell wanted him to re-emphasize that the ball can’t be used as a prop in touchdown celebrations.
“Jed’s should have been a penalty last week and it wasn’t. We’re lucky it wasn’t,” Stafford recalled saying. “He’s like, ‘No (kidding). They fined me $15,000,’ and he’s like, ‘I already called my wife and canceled my (stinking) vacation for the offseason.’
“I was like, ‘That’s tough. That’s tough. And we just got to be better.’ And I was like, ‘This stuff’s no joke, but what is a joke, Jed, is what I’m playing on you. That fine wasn’t real.’ He was like, ‘You mother-.‘ He was so mad. He was great.”
Stafford, who brought the team’s other quarterbacks, Kellen Moore and Dan Orlovsky, in on the joke, even had then-Lions team president Tom Lewand dummy up an authentic-looking letter from the NFL. In what became an almost annual tradition, he hit running back Zach Zenner with a similar fake fine for a uniform violation for wearing his socks too low.
Collins saved the letter and the FedEx package it came in, and recalls that moment fondly.
“It was very funny, and just a sign of who he is,” Collins said. “It was kind of a rite of passage into their little group. Anybody you make fun of is in the family. It made a memorable play for me that much more memorable.”
Stafford seems to be quite the prankster!