From Quietly Dignified Fandom to Unabashedly Sniveling Gloater, the (de)Evolution of Husker Passion.

It’s strange the way simple pleasures can evolve when following a football program like Nebraska’s. As a child of the 1980s and 1990s, I used to luxuriate in the ample amounts of respect bestowed upon my beloved Huskers — whether it was from opposing coaches and fans or sports commentators during broadcasts — their vocalized respect always made my chest swell with pride.

But the Huskers don’t get much of that lately. Back in the day, 75% of Nebraska’s slate resigned itself to losing from the get-go. Some even considered “winning” the coin-toss a nice pre-slaughter gesture. Sadly, over this last strange decade, all that veneration has disappeared into the dustbin of history. Most teams no longer expect to lose to the Big Red. Hell, I’ll bet more than a few Cowboys down at McNeese State are thinking — make ‘em turn the ball over four or five times and we’ve got a shot!

But, with the new-found bravado Husker opponents have shown in the prospects of upcoming clashes with Nebraska, a new form of satisfaction has evolved for me in watching NU play. And that’s seeing the stunned silence from opposing fans when the Huskers pull off something amazing.

It’s the same chagrin Steve Spurrier displayed during the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. A thing of beauty precisely because Spurrier was part of that rare species back in the 1990s — the opposing coach who thought he had better than even odds against the Huskers. When Spurrier’s mirage was officially bisected by a galloping Tommie Frazier, the broadcasters treated viewers to a savory display of recompense the likes of which I’ll never forget.

Phases of spurrier

For the record, I don’t have anything personally against Steve Spurrier — the magnificent chief Cock that he is. But the sight of a smug, Coors-drinking bastard getting his hat handed to him was rare during the 1990s dynasty because the low expectations many of Nebraska’s opponents held never produced much hubris. So, ironically, one of the fruits of a lowered bar for Nebraska football is that now we get to see opposing fans (with the full assumption of a win in their pockets) shit bricks more often.

Assuming that many of you readers are like me — once quiet and dignified followers of a college football titan, now sniveling jealously in the shadows of our once-great reputation, I’ve gone ahead and assembled a gallery of some of my favorite screen shots from the past few years. This is the new simple joy our program bestows us: watching opposing fans react to something they just can’t believe.

Here a Texas fan finds her asshole tighten to a million pounds per square inch at the prospect of the Longhorns losing their BCS Championship bid at the hands of what essentially turned out to be the greatest performance of Ndamukong Suh’s collegiate career.

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Oh, were it not for that horse-collar tackle!

Here Taylor Martinez has just mesmerized a cluster of incredulous K-State backers, dashing past a slew of Wildcats and beating them to the end zone by 15 yards.

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Another amazing touchdown run by Martinez forces this Washington Husky fan to cover his eyes.

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And finally, this may look like a typical, mouth-breathing Georgia good ole boy, but — in fact — this man’s jaw is hanging a little more slack than usual thanks to Tommy Armstrong’s 99 yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa.

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I hope these sufficiently whet some appetites for seeing a few more stunned opponents in 2014. Personally, I hope to add some Spartans, Badgers and Hawkeyes to the gallery next time this year. Go Big Red!

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