The Around the Horn Drinking Game

I like the ESPN talk show Around the Horn, really I do. I watch it every day (if you don’t, hit your back button now, this will not make sense to you) and make an effort not to miss one bit of an episode. It’s not quite the level of quality of the Max Kellerman days and it can get repetitive at times, but it’s still a good way to know the sports news of the day.

However… I have noticed that ATH tends to fall into a series of patterns and returns to a series of jokes time and time again. Sometimes these can be quite annoying; other times, just suitably repetitive for a drinking game. It’s probably the fastest way to get drunk in 30 minutes.

Please note that I do not support, nor do I engage in, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and I especially do not recommend compulsive binge drinking of the sort supported by drinking games. I am not liable that may result from the playing of this game. I personally think this game is just as easy to play with any other drink, especially soda where the fun is in how soon you have to go to the bathroom. Also note that “shot” can be replaced with “drink” or any other unit of drinking you choose.

Also note that Around the Horn is (c) ESPN, and this game is (c) 2007 Morgan Wick. You may redistribute this game but please give me credit, and preferably link back to this page.

  • If Tony Reali decides to steal Brent Musberger’s “You are lookin’ live” opening instead of his usual “You’re looking at…” opening, take a shot.
  • If Reali croons about “inside information!” take two shots.
  • If someone mocks Reali’s “inside information!” and gets muted, take a shot.
  • If there is a tie when it is time to cut someone, and Reali says “to break a tie, you must be wearing a tie”, or if he decides a showdown in a similar fashion, take a shot. If he eliminates Mariotti and another tied player is not wearing a tie, take another shot. If he eliminates a tie-wearing player and says that the player is a “little tied down”, and you are playing as a party game, and someone jumped the gun and started drinking, that player must do a spit take and, if you are playing on a regular basis, must wear a tie to the next game.
  • If someone quotes a line from a movie, take a shot for every point they earn for the line. If you are playing this as a party game, and someone doesn’t recognize the line, that person must get new drinks for everyone else for the rest of the game.
  • If Reali quotes Joe Namath’s “strugg-a-ling” moment, take a shot.
  • Drink the entire time Mariotti starts going on about the steroid problem in baseball.
  • If Reali says “And now, the story of the ____ – they stink, the end!” take a shot.
  • If Reali says “I believe you two gentlemen know each other” at the start of the showdown, take a shot. If Paige and Mariotti are the two heading into the showdown, you may drink at any point after the lightning bolt of the second cut but you must still drink again if Reali says the above line.
  • If Reali says “As first reported on Around the Horn” for an already over-reported story, take a shot.
  • If Reali says “It’s X’s world and everyone else is paying the rent”, take a shot.
  • If Reali says he’s “loo-king for a mannnnn…” to take some position, take a shot. Also take a shot for each male panelist to say they are not “a man” in response (two if it’s Cowlishaw).
  • If Reali says “Woodrow, what do you know?” take a shot.
  • If two panelists agree on a topic in the showdown, take a shot if Reali calls it “the game of competitive agreement”, and also take a shot if he says “I liked it better the first time I heard it…” and gives the point to the first panelist. If he uses both lines you have to take both shots. If he decides it was “a lot fresher” the second time, do not drink, and if he has already called it “the game of competitive agreement”, do a spit take. If you are playing this as a party game, last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • If Reali asks for one-word-or-less answers, take a shot for every word over the limit someone goes, plus one if they go un-muted.
  • If Reali says “grand slam” a la Sean Connery, take two shots.
  • If Reali does a Comic Book Guy impression, take a shot.
  • If Reali says “COLLEGE!” a la Animal House, take a shot.
  • If Reali says “Deal…” drink for the entire pause before he says “…or no deal?” If he says anything else, do a spit take; if you are playing as a party game, last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • If Paige asks his fellow panelists to “look at the schedule”, take two shots. If any other panelist does, take one shot. If Adande does, take one long shot, or one and a half shots, whichever is more appropriate.
  • If Paige (not any other panelist) appears with a prop, take a shot. Do not count the regular chalkboard. If Paige appears with a prop while making an argument (not during “dead time”), or if he appears with a grotesque blow-up doll, take two shots. If Paige appears with an illegible table on a second chalkboard, drink the entire time he talks.
  • If any panelist gets penalized for some faux pas just before first or second cut, take one shot for each point he is deducted before the next commercial break, minus one.
  • If any panelist says another is “too close to the forest to see the trees”, take a shot. (Mostly obsolete now.)
  • Time Paige every time he makes an argument. If he says “Here’s the point…” stop the clock and drink for that amount of time.
  • If Reali calls Paige “WoPa”, take two shots.
  • If Paige calls himself a “solutions-oriented” guy, take a shot.
  • If Mariotti says “Michael Jeffrey Jordan”, take two shots.
  • If Reali mutes Mariotti for bringing up Michael Jordan, take a shot.
  • Every time Mariotti (not anyone else) is accused of flip-flopping or accuses someone else of flip-flopping, take a shot. If you catch Mariotti flip-flopping before anyone else, yell loudly “FLIP-FLOP!” and drink until someone on the show points it out, or if no one does, until the start of the next topic. If you are playing this as a party game and someone doesn’t do this or does it erroneously, and you are playing it on a regular basis, the next time that player plays the game they must wear flip-flops.
  • If Reali gives Mariotti (not any other panelist) two points in the showdown and then deducts one, take a shot. This rule is optional.
  • When Mariotti begins raising his finger in the showdown in anticipation of earning the point, drink until the finger has been “pressed” or otherwise relaxed. If Reali gives the point to the other contestant, do a spit take. If you are playing this as a party game, last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • If Plaschke is referred to as “Reverend Bill” take a shot.
  • If Plaschke says “Shame on you!” take two shots. Mostly obsolete now.
  • If Mariotti ribs on Plaschke for once visiting a nude beach take two shots. This is rare.
  • If Plaschke yells “shush!” take a shot for each occurance.
  • If anyone complains that anyone else is a homer, take a shot.
  • When Adande wins, drink once the facetime starts and only stop drinking when Adande gets to the point.
  • Drink the entire time Adande does an impersonation of anyone else, especially Ron Jaworski.
  • If any panelist attacks either Plaschke or Adande for not having an NFL team, take two shots. If they get muted, NOT deducted, for their irrelevance, take just one.
  • If Cowlishaw brings up NASCAR or hockey at an inappropriate time, take a shot. If Reali brings up a NASCAR or hockey topic and Cowlishaw is absent for any reason, and Reali points this out, take a shot. If Cowlishaw starts playing up NASCAR or hockey instead of actually answering the relevant question (that is, the question actually has something to do with NASCAR or hockey), take a shot; in this case, if it is the showdown and Cowlishaw loses the point, or if it is Out Of Bounds and Cowlishaw is eliminated (and was not third going in), do a spit take; if you are playing this as a party game, last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • If Reali says “self-promotion is the mating call of the mute” take a shot. Rarer than it used to be.
  • If Cowlishaw complains about the scoring, take a shot for every point deducted as a result.
  • When Blackistone appears, he will always start by saying “What’s happenin’ Tony?” and Reali will always respond with “Everything is everything”. Take a shot as soon as you recognize Blackistone on the show, and if this routine does not occur to a T, do a spit take. If you are playing this as a party game, last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • If Blackistone says “are you kidding me?” take a shot.
  • If any joke is made about Blackistone’s work-challenged status, take a shot.
  • If Reali says “I go to X for my Y info” take a shot. If Y is NFL and X is not Smith (Smith no longer regular panelist), or if Y is NASCAR, NHL, or hockey and X is not Cowlishaw, do an immediate spit take afterwards. If you are playing this as a party game, last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • If Smith claims Reali has a problem with him, take a shot. (Smith no longer regular panelist)
  • If Reali goes on about MacMullan’s “style and grace” take a shot.
  • If Reali says “And now, football – and by football I mean soccer” take a shot. If he says “by football I mean futbol” take two shots.
  • If Reali says “Ozzie, ozzie, ozzie! Oy, oy, oy!” in reference to Ozzie Guillen, take a shot.
  • If Reali yells “THE HORN” a la Bill Wolff going into a commercial break, then says “Oh, we’re not doing that anymore?”, take a shot.
  • If Paige declares, in any way, shape or form, “BEAST MODE ACTIVATED”, take a shot. If Paige is in last place, take a shot for every point he’s behind second-to-last by.
  • If any panelist mentions Dr. James Andrews and is immediately followed by an ominous organ, take a shot. If you are playing this as a party game, start drinking as soon as Andrews is mentioned, and if there is no organ, do a spit take. Last to do a spit take must finish their drink.
  • During the opening, take one shot for each player that isn’t Plaschke, Adande, Paige, Mariotti, Cowlishaw, Blackistone, or MacMullan. Last to complete all required drinks must finish their drink and get drinks for the others until overridden by another rule.
  • If it becomes apparent that a segment is not being scored suspend all rules until the segment is over. However, keep track of all drinks accumulated. If Reali ends the segment with “not a lot of scoring in that segment” take all drinks accumulated in that segment; if there are none, take one shot.
  • If Reali says “FANTASY!” and a heavenly choir cues up, take three shots. Or hell, just finish your goddamn drink if you feel like it.