It's a tradition as old as the games themselves... Flopping.  It's done at every level of sports, but when it comes to flopping, the pros are... well... pros.  Some say flopping is just part of the game.  These are probably the same people that say steroids are just a part of baseball and concussions are just part of football.  Flopping is never flopping when it's YOUR team, but when it's the other guys' team, hell isn't punishment enough for those vermin.

Every sport that's a true team sport (sorry NASCAR, golf and bowling lovers, they're not real sports) has its version of flopping.  In baseball batters will do everything they can to get in front of a pitch for a free base.  Craig Biggio was hit 285 times in his baseball career, which means 285 times he willingly put himself in a 90 mph fastball just to get a cheap 90 feet.

 

That'll leave a mark! Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

 

The NBA is probably 2nd-worst behind soccer when it comes down to flopping.  Players have made careers out of it.  In basketball you have to feel bad for the refs.  These poor guys and gals have to determine in a single millisecond whether a player was truly fouled or just trying out for "Basketball Wives".  Get it wrong and you've got every basketball fan and analyst second-guessing your call and accusing you of taking money for throwing the game, needing new glasses and threatening your life.  Luckily, NBA refs have help, even if it's well after the fact.  More on that later.

 

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

 

Hockey might suffer the least in regards to flopping.  If these guys weren't wearing skates and a uniform most of what they do on the ice would result in serious prison time in the real world.  Hockey players are able to police themselves when it comes to flopping.  Send a player to the penalty box by flopping and he's just dumb (or maybe smart) enough to make sure he gets his money's worth on the next opportunity to lay you out and end your career early.

 

Who says Canadians aren't tough? Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

 

Football players will do their fair share of flopping.  Receivers will "trip" or somehow be magically thrown off their route by a phantom hold by the defensive back.  Quarterbacks will take an exaggerated fall after passing the ball for a cheap 15 yards.  Offensive AND defensive linemen will jump forward at the slightest movement into the neutral zone to get the call.  The king of the football flop, however, is easily the punter.  Barely a football player to begin with, these little guys are willing to do whatever it takes to get the call in their favor.  It must be that a lot of punters and kickers start out in soccer, because.........

 

A sight all-too-familiar to fans of the Texans franchise. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

 

Soccer players are the absolute worst when it comes to flopping.  Soccer players should feel shame for not only flopping, but for continuing the charade long after the moment has passed.  Key & Peele even did a sketch showing the truly ridiculous level of soccer flopping.

 

 

It's funny (and sad at the same time) because it's true.  You can truly get an appreciation, or disdain, for soccer flopping in the gif after gif after gif after gif that you can find online.  The truly sad thing about the flopping in soccer is that somehow the referees fall for it.  If I were a ref in professional soccer, before I gave a yellow card because there's a player writhing in pain, I'd require sworn testimony under oath, a lie-detector test and a full medical exam to include no less than an MRI and psychiatric evaluation.

At the very least there are sports that recognize the problem.  Baseball has instant replay.  Football has instant replay.  The league has begun to fine players tens-of-thousands of dollars if they're found to be flopping on game film.  It's even become a bit of a story heading into the NBA Finals that Lebron and Manu, two of the game's worst floppers, will be going head-to-head for not only the championship ring, but they're also still very much in the running for the Chevy Chase Pratfall Flopper of the Year award in the NBA.  Good luck to you both, gentlemen.