The History Of Betting On Gatorade Colors At The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year; in fact, according to Statista, over 115 million U.S. viewers tuned in to watch it in 2023. But for some, the actual game is the least interesting part of the day. Even those who don't care about sports will tune in for the star-studded pre-game events, the sensational halftime show, and the cute and cuddly Puppy Bowl. Even the Super Bowl commercials are a major draw for many. The attractions have only increased in recent years with the rise of betting apps like FanDuel and DraftKings, which offer fans the chance to bet on everything from the results of the opening coin toss to the songs that will feature in the halftime show. But the strangest object of betting is the tradition of drenching the winning coach in Gatorade.


Gatorade has long been tied to American football. It was famously invented in the 1960s to power the University of Florida Gators football team through practice in the sweltering heat, and became an official partner of the NFL in 1983. Today, giant coolers of Gatorade can be seen on the sidelines of American football games, and the drink has come to play a ritualistic role in the sport. After a team wins an important game, it's customary for the players to dump a cooler of Gatorade over their coach's head. Since the opaque coolers obscure the drink, viewers don't know which Gatorade flavor is in there until that final shower.

How Gatorade showers became a football tradition

There is some debate about who started the Gatorade shower trend in football, but credit most often goes to Jim Burt, a defensive tackle for the New York Giants. Although Gatorade showers are now associated with critical playoff games, the first one actually occurred after a run-of-the-mill midseason match. It was 1985, and the Giants had gotten off to a middling start, putting their playoff aspirations in question. However, in week seven of the season, they faced the Washington Redskins and dominated with a 17-3 victory. Thrilled by the turnaround, Burt emptied a cooler of Gatorade over the head of coach Bill Parcells.


This act so entertained the Giants players that linebacker Harry Carson decided to replicate it, showering Parcells with Gatorade after every victory for the next two seasons, all the way to the Giants' victory in Super Bowl XXI. During that year's customary victory trip to the White House, Carson performed the most famous Gatorade shower of all time, "soaking" President Ronald Reagan with a Gatorade bucket filled with popcorn.

While Jim Burt and the Giants receive the most credit for starting Gatorade showers, they didn't actually perform the first one. That occurred a year earlier when Chicago Bears players Steve McMichael and Mike Singletary sneaked up on head coach Mike Ditka and baptized him in an icy wave of energy drink. At the time, they could have never anticipated what their act would inspire.


Legal betting took the Gatorade shower to new heights

Betting on Gatorade showers is a very recent tradition. From 1992 until 2018, gambling on sports was illegal in most U.S. states under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), but then the Supreme Court struck down the law, triggering a huge boom in sports betting. Sportsbooks were quick to recognize that money could be made beyond the games themselves, and in 2019, FanDuel became the first to offer fans a chance to bet on the color of the Super Bowl Gatorade shower.


In five years of betting, blue Gatorade has been the most common color, winning three times. The exceptions were 2020, when the Kansas City Chiefs doused coach Andy Reid in orange Gatorade, and 2023, when purple Gatorade won in a shocking upset, with +750 odds.

Even though betting on the Gatorade shower has only been legal since 2019, records of the color have been kept since the Giants initiated the tradition. The most common color hasn't been a color at all, but rather clear Gatorade, appearing nine times. Curiously, red Gatorade has never been featured. A handful of Super Bowls have also gone without a shower.