Sporting events have one thing in common with concerts: A few douchebag fans can ruin everything. They're running onto the field, they're blowing some kind of plastic horn in your ear, they're throwing shit down onto the playing surface.
It kind of makes you stop and wonder, who the hell started this? And why did other people decide to copy it? Well, we know the answer to the first one ...
5Michael O'Brien Was the First to Run Onto the Field Naked
If you're an American, you might be saying, "WHAT? I've never seen a naked man run onto the field of a sporting event I was watching!" That's because TV networks have a policy of not showing them -- they just cut to the sidelines or have the announcers in the booth banter while the guy is apprehended. So a naked man running onto the field looks like this if you're there (NSFW) ...
... but becomes this in the TV broadcast:
This "run naked onto the field" fad has been going on for almost 40 years now, and we can thank ...
In February 1974, England was battling France in a crucial rugby match at Twickenham Stadium in London. Over 53,000 fans were at the game, including many British royals, and all of them were treated to a healthy dose of flopping genitals. 25-year-old Australian Michael O'Brien had just taken a bet from a friend to run across the field naked and became the first known streaker at a sporting event.
The crowd all looks like they've seen better.
Up to that point, streaking was relegated to college courtyards, but no one had considered running naked in front of thousands of spectators, some of whom would no doubt have cameras. The police chasing him were baffled as to why anyone would willingly do it and were just as amused as the audience.
In fact, after assessing a fine, they actually let O'Brien go right back to his seat for the second half of the match. During his moment of arrest, however, one policeman had the decency to cover up the offensive bits with his hat, which immediately became an iconic photo worldwide.
The policeman would immediately file paperwork for a new hat.
And that was that; the photo triggered a wave of copycat offenders at sporting events all over England, and then the rest of Europe and finally America. For the next four decades.
It turns out people everywhere were just looking for an excuse to get naked in front of packed stadiums, and now they had one. Naturally, the once-spontaneous event lost its charm pretty quickly for sports fans and particularly for police. They clearly didn't anticipate how awful it would be to tackle naked people at every other game, and on one occasion, the Academy Awards.