I’m relatively young, so I’d never heard of Jim Everett before stumbling upon the most important clip of his career. You know, the clip that had nothing to do with football. Imagine if Tom Brady threw hands with Stephen A. Smith on the set of “First Take.” How about Patrick Mahomes putting Skip Bayless in a headlock?
Everett was the third overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft out of Purdue. The 6-foot-5 passer spent a majority of his 12 NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams before finishing up with the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers. The 1990 Pro Bowl selectee twice led the league in passing touchdowns (1988, 1989) and remains the Rams’ all-time passing yards leader to this day.
By 1994, Jim Everett was a well-established starter who’d taken the Rams to the playoffs multiple times. His reputation, however, came in question after he took a “phantom sack” in the 1989 playoffs.
Five years later, that football play led to one of the greatest altercations on live television in sports history.
Jim Everett Attacks Jim Rome on Live TV
I’d be remiss not to explain why Jim Everett was a pissed-off individual.
In the 1989 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, which the Rams lost 30-3 under Everett’s play, he was completely rattled by the opposing defense. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Rams quarterback took what is called a “phantom sack.”
Essentially, Everett purposely dropped down the ground in fear without ever being touched. It was as embarrassing as it sounds.
Of course, people made fun of Everett following that play.
One of those people was Jim Rome, who was the 30-year-old snarky host of ESPN2‘s “Talk2.” Rome had been calling Jim Everett “Chris Evert” ever since the phantom sack to make fun of his manhood. Basically, he had been calling him a coward for years.
When Everett sat down with the talk show host in 1994 for an interview — one that he reportedly was not aware would be with Rome — he made it very clear he hated being called the name of a female tennis player (who, by the way, is a legend in her own right).
Rome wastes no time introducing his guest, “Chris Everett,” and Jim is quick to warn him not to mess with him.
“Somewhere along the way, Jim, you ceased being Jim and you became Chris,” Rome said, poking the bear.
“I think that you probably won’t say it again,” Everett told Rome.
“I bet I do,” Rome responded. “CHRIS.”
Everett flipped the table between them and attacked Rome. Thankfully, someone from the show hurries in to break up the scuffle. But wow, what a moment for professional sports on TV.
“I actually thought I was going to do an ESPN Roy Firestone interview. All I was told by my agent at the time is ‘ESPN wants you, they’re in L.A., and they want to talk to you about your new job.’ I was stoked. I had no clue except for the last 10 minutes before I walked in, and then they told me it was for Jim Rome, the guy who’s been calling me Chris. I didn’t have time to prepare for this,” Everett told Rams Talk in 2012.Advertisement
“It’s pretty hilarious. When I look back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was just my reaction. I’ve heard people say it was a fake or a setup, but it wasn’t. I can tell you flat out it was just from the gut.”
The clip would’ve went viral instantly had it happened 20 years later. Rome went on to have success hosting “The Jim Rome Show” and “Jim Rome is Burning.” Everett ended his NFL career in San Diego and finished with more than 34,000 passing yards and 203 touchdowns.
What began as a silly derogatory joke ended in a table-flipping altercation, and we should never let that hilarious moment die.
This post was originally published on September 3, 2020.