Today marks the 12th anniversary of the final episode of Friends, the greatest television show in the history of American television. How in the world does that apply to sports? Barely. But we are going to find a way to tie the two together anyhow.
We have devised a list of the 11 most memorable sports moments during the show’s 10-year run, because, to be honest, that’s as many as we could remember. You may read this and say, “Hey, this doesn’t include the time Rachel and Phoebe went running in the park.” Sorry, Well Actually Commenter, they weren’t running competitively so nice try.
And if you do remember a sports moment not on here, well, we are sorry. This was hard.
1. The One Where Ross Gets Hit In The Face With A Puck
What happened: Ross was being a mopey loser so Joey and Chandler took him to a Rangers game. Ross was sad because it was the one-year anniversary of his divorce from Carol. With Joey, Ross and Chandler sitting in two separate rows at MSG (like you always do when attending a game), Ross took a puck in the nose and went to the hospital. Also, why is the clock running when the puck is clearly out of play?
Anyway, this is No. 1 on the list because Ross is the worst and he took a puck in the face.
2. The One With Thanksgiving Football
What happened: A friendly game of two-hand touch to pass the time on Thanksgiving turned into an intense competition for the “Geller Cup.” Ross and Monica captained teams against each other and didn’t pull any punches for family bragging rights. At one point, Ross taunts Monica — his sister who grew up with a debilitating weight problem — with “cheater cheater, compulsive eater.” Chandler and Joey also competed to impress a weird Dutch girl who apparently had nothing better to do than hang out at a park alone on Thanksgiving.
In the end, nobody won thanks to a controversial last play that Ross and Monica fought about all night. Great values instilled in that family, I’ll tell ya.
3. The One With The Knicks Season Tickets
What happened: After Chandler and Joey won the girls’ apartment, Monica and Rachel attempted to get it back by enticing the boys with Knicks season tickets. (It’s worth noting this was in 1998, when the Knicks were both talented and entertaining.) After initially resisting the trade, the boys eventually agree to (and win) a card game that awards both the apartment and tickets to the victor. But when they come back from a Knicks game, they find that the girls switched the apartments back anyway.
Eventually, it’s all settled when Monica and Rachel make out for a minute in order to keep their apartment. The guys claim the kiss was “totally worth it,” and everyone wins. Well, except for us, because they didn’t show it on TV. Bastards.
4. The One Where Joey Watches Football At A Funeral
What happened: During the first season of the show, Ross and Monica’s nana dies. At the funeral, because he was a jerk, Joey watches a Giants-Cowboys game on a portable TV. Jack eventually catches Joey and joins in, as do the rest of the funeral goers. This episode aired Nov. 10, 1994 — the Cowboys beat the Giants 38-10 three days earlier.
So three days before they buried nana, Emmitt Smith’s 163 yards on the ground helped bury Kent Graham and the Giants.
5. The One Where Ross Plays Rugby
What happened: Ross and Emily ran into two of Emily’s rugby-playing friends from England and, because Ross is an insecure baby who felt threatened by other men better than him, he accepted their invitation to participate in a game the next day. Ross played in the game and was nearly beaten to death, only surviving with the help of dirty tactics like targeting other players’ bad hips and knees. Ross was a bad person and also a bad sportsman.
6. The One With “Monica” And Richard’s Sex Tape
What happened: No, Monica and Richard didn’t make a role-playing sex tape where he was Chad Pennington and she was a cheerleader; it turned out it wasn’t even Monica on the tape Chandler stole from Richard’s apartment. The tape had a football game on it too, one between the Giants and 49ers that shows Kerry Collins. This episode aired Nov. 14, 2002, which means the one game it could be is a 16-13 49ers win on Sept. 5, 2002.
If Richard were a Giants fan, it explains why he recorded sex over it.
7. The One Where They Can’t Drop The Ball
Sport: No Ball Dropsies (it didn’t have a name)
What happened: It started with Joey and Ross tossing a ball for so long that Joey missed a meal. Then Monica joins the game and calls out sick from work. She also ruins the game and tries to keep Chandler from playing because he’s a dropper but he eventually joins and nearly screws it up. Then Phoebe ends it by catching the ball and putting it down.
8. The One Where Joey Goes With Janice To A Mets game
What happened: Joey and Janice’s day of fun! This was season three, when Janice should no longer have been involved yet she survived and was crammed into the show until the very end. Chandler was dating Janice and Joey tried to be a good friend by getting to know Janice. The air date of this episode was Sept. 19, 1996 — on that day in real life, the Mets improved to 68-85 with a 7-2 win over the Phillies.
Rey Ordonez hit his first career home run on that day. Pretty crazy that Janice can say she was in attendance for this historic Mets moment.
9. The One That Remembers Monica Is ‘Big Fat Goalie’
Sport: Field Hockey
What happened: You see, Monica was fat when she was younger. Very fat. This is something Friends characters didn’t let her forget, even though she grew up to be a smoking hot vixen through all 10 seasons of the show. During the trivia game that led to the apartment bet, Monica’s own brother included a question that revealed her nickname as a field-hockey player was “Big Fat Goalie.” Ross is a cruel brother who is just jealous Monica grew up hotter than him.
10. The One With Alan, Softball Extraordinaire
What happened: The gang falls in love with Monica’s charming boyfriend, Alan, and invites him to join their softball team. Even though the rest of them presumably suck, Alan helps them win a game. Unfortunately, Monica later breaks up with Alan and the friends are never seen playing softball again.
11. The One With The Duck-Chicken Race
Sport: Duck-Chicken Racing
What happened: Joey and Phoebe, perhaps because they were sitting around getting baked and were very bored, decided to have the chicken and duck race. Joey cheated, blocking the chicken’s path so the duck could win. Unfortunately for Phoebe, Joey was also a judge at this event, and the judge ruled in favor of Joey. This sport was very corrupt and was never played again.
Honorable Mention: The One Where Joey Chugs Milk
What happened: Joey “chugs” a gallon of milk in “10 seconds.” Maybe the best scene of the series.