Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'football'

Trillion with a T?

June 1st, 2012 · No Comments

It’s always a bit sad to see one of your childhood idols reduced to hucksterism. Yet such appears to be the case with the legendary Eric Dickerson, who once performed wondrous feats for my beloved Indianapolis Colts. Now years removed from the limelight, Dickerson today earns a living by peddling belts that purport to unclump […]

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Striving for Perfection

January 24th, 2012 · 3 Comments

Given my attraction to tales about how folks cope with nasty twists of fate, I was bowled over to discover this rarest of Korean War artifacts: a program from the 1952 prisoner-of-war Olympics held at Pyoktong, North Korea. In addition to containing numerous photos of the sports contested—such as tug of war, football, and bizarre […]

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Seizing the Narrative

December 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments

It’s fair to say this has been a momentous week for Willie Gault, the former Chicago Bears wideout who was also a track star of great renown. Things started off great when police in Los Angeles found his stolen Super Bowl ring, but then took a turn for the worse—the much, much worse—after news emerged […]

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The Catch

November 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

I love this whole approach of picking apart successful yarns to figure out what makes them work. To get myself in the book-writing mindset, I’ve been doing likewise with a bunch of great stories from my formative years—things that have managed to stick with me all these decades later. It’s probably no great shock for […]

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After the Peak

September 30th, 2011 · No Comments

During this past week’s procrastinatory idylls, I had a chance to read two very different accounts of how folks deal with the fallout of fame. The first was an excerpt from an upcoming biography of the late Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, a man who basically apart after his playing career was over. His […]

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Tommy Can You Hear Me?

September 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Knocking back a few pints with fellow scribe Doug Merlino last night, the conversation inevitably turned to sports—or, more specifically, the late 1980s heyday of Sports Illustrated, the magazine that taught us both to love the art of storytelling. We both remembered that this vintage era of SI featured a ginormous number of “as told […]

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Fear the Beard

September 13th, 2011 · 3 Comments

One of the many historical realms I’m trying to bring to life in the next book is that of Oregon’s Vietnam-era college scene. And one of that scene’s biggest controversies was that involving Fred Milton, an Oregon State University football star who refused his coach’s demand that he shave his beard—in the off-season, it’s important […]

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Justice Too Swift

July 6th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Years back, in an effort to quell football fan violence, authorities in Philadelphia set up a courtroom at Veterans Stadium, so that drunken brawlers could be punished within minutes of being arrested. Sure, such a legal arrangement wasn’t in the constitutional spirit, since the accused weren’t permitted legal representation or a chance to review the […]

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The Grandeur of Glory

November 19th, 2010 · 4 Comments

(Cross-posted to/from PLoS Blogs) All the recent chatter over the dangers of professional football compelled me to look up one of my favorite snippets of Greek mythology: the tale of Achilles’ choice, from Book Nine of the Iliad. For those who have only foggy memories of high-school English, the story goes like this: the gods […]

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The Legend of Big Rich

April 22nd, 2010 · 11 Comments

Whenever the NFL Draft rolls around, we’re reminded of one of the most thought-provoking stories ever produced by the annual ritual: the 2002 saga of Richard “Big Rich” Williams. A star offensive tackle at tiny Gardner-Webb University, Williams was such a muscular force that he played himself onto the pro scouts’ radar. After a strong […]

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The Soul-Warping Nature of Fandom

February 8th, 2010 · 10 Comments

Last night, a certain sporting event didn’t go the way we had hoped, leaving us questioning why we invest so much of ourselves in supporting certain teams. Even under the best of circumstances, such fandom leads to nothing but heartache most years, as seasons inevitably end on sour notes. Is it time, perhaps, to give […]

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The Horse Gallops Onward

January 22nd, 2010 · No Comments

When it comes to sports fandom, we’re incurable pessimists—perhaps no surprise given our decades-long love affair with the most miserable franchise in the history of athletics. And so in the run-up to this Sunday’s monster Colts game, we will not dare to offer any sunny predictions about the inevitability of a Super Bowl. We’ve been […]

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The Beard of Destiny

December 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

As is made clear in our mission statement, management reserves the right to occasionally drop the fascination with esoterica in favor of talking pro football (the American kind). Let us now invoke that right in order to discuss our beloved Indianapolis Colts, who yesterday clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. This accomplishment brings […]

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R.I.P. Barrel Man

December 9th, 2009 · 2 Comments

We’re diehard Indianapolis Colts fans, and thus tend to hate the Denver Broncos with a fiery passion normally reserved for plague rats, ex post facto laws, and Jean-Bédel Bokassa. But we’re eternally fascinated by sports fans who undergo tremendous physical discomfort in the name of supporting their side—there is something beautifully transcendent about the practice, […]

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You Can’t Stop the Horse

November 16th, 2009 · 7 Comments

Late start today, due to the fact we stayed up late last night watching our beloved Colts mount a miraculous comeback against their archenemies. For the record, we think Belichick’s gamble was a good one—the Pats had been unstoppable in short-yardage situations all night, and the Colts’ D has been decimated by injuries. That said, […]

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Intelligence as Curse

October 20th, 2009 · 6 Comments

We’re headquartered on the Stanford campus this week, which has brought to mind one of our favorite football scouting reports ever: John Clayton’s strangely damning take on Kwame Harris, an All-Pac-10 offensive lineman for the Cardinal in the early part of the millennium. Clayton loved Harris’s arms, technique, and strength, but didn’t likehis head—and not […]

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Is Football Our Species’ Savior?

September 16th, 2009 · No Comments

In the course of conducting some morning research on chimpanzee cannibalism, we found ourselves absorbed in a 2006 paper that compared the aggressive tendencies of chimps and humans. (A PDF can be downloaded by clicking here.) As it turns out, humans and chimps are equally adept that cold-blooded murder, but our primate brethren are far […]

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(Mid)Westworld

September 10th, 2009 · 7 Comments

For the second time in less than a month, we’re off to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a brief, work-related visit. We’ll do our best to post from the road, though we may get too caught up in ironing our shirts and watching tonight’s Titans-Steelers tilt. Oh, and if anyone can recommend a good, […]

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Carbonated Vicodin in a Can

August 20th, 2009 · No Comments

We generally shy away from Red Bull, due to a bad experience we had after consuming four cans of the stuff one night. (Suffice to say our earthly vessel did not appreciate the deluge of taurine.) But perhaps we should reconsider our aversion in light of this Winona State study. Because Red Bull may have […]

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Farewell, Arena Football League

August 4th, 2009 · No Comments

We can’t say we ever watched more than 90 seconds of an Arena Football game, so news of the league’s imminent demise didn’t exactly make us cry hot, salty tears. But 22 years is a long time for an upstart pro-sports league to make it—the likes of the USFL could only dream of achieving such […]

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Jim Johnson and the Peter Principle

July 31st, 2009 · 2 Comments

As noted at the end of our mission statement, we reserve the right to occasionally veer away from the esoteric in favor of more mainstream topics that tickle our fancy. And so we’d like to spend a few minutes ruminating over the passing of Jim Johnson, arguably the greatest NFL defensive coordinator ever. A bold […]

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Sports Transition Fail

July 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

In response to our recent post about Japanese tackle football, a commenter asked a salient question: I’ve always wondered if some of the high-ranking sumo wrestlers could make it in the NFL as blitzing specialists. There’s been a long history of association between football and wrestling in the US, with a lot of highschool wrestling […]

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“Speed Like the Wind”

July 24th, 2009 · 7 Comments

After receiving word that a team of Notre Dame pigskin alums will soon take on Japan’s national football team, we got to wondering about the uniquely American sport’s history in the Land of the Rising Sun. Our natural assumption was that it was brought over during the post-World War II occupation. But it was, in […]

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“Amorous Paranoia”

July 9th, 2009 · No Comments

The tragic death of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair—one of the toughest competitors to ever play the position—gives us a chance to loop back to one of Microkhan’s most dicussed topics: suicide. For those who don’t already know, McNair perished in a murder-suicide perpetrated by his young girlfriend. We’ve long been morbidly fascinated with […]

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Stepping Into a More Brutal Ring

July 2nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

We were saddened to learn of the death of Alexis “The Explosive Thin Man” Arguello, one of our all-time favorite boxers. And we were surprised to discover that just a year before his passing, Arguello had been elected the mayor of Managua. (Okay, we admit it—we don’t keep up on Nicaraguan municipal politics like we […]

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Using Canned Peas to Your Advantage

June 19th, 2009 · No Comments

In keeping with last week’s Bad Movie Friday theme, we’re gonna once again focus on the thespian debut of a notorious athlete. In this case, our critical eye turns toward Brian Bosworth, the ex-Sooner star turned Bo Jackson doormat. Shortly after his pro football career came to an embarrassing end, Bosworth shifted gears and starred […]

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The Mother of All TD Dances

May 13th, 2009 · 6 Comments

For reasons best left unsaid, Microkhan found himself watching Bundesliga highlights yesterday evening. Not a bad time at all, but the Germans’ post-goal celebrations really disappoint. The whole running-toward-the-crowd-with-spread-arms thing is almost wholly lacking in imagination, and does little to express the pure joy of athletic genius. This got us thinking about the celebratory dance […]

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The Madden Killer That Wasn’t

April 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Microkhan is one of the few (American) football fans who doesn’t lament the retirement of longtime TV announcer John Madden. For far too long, the noted fried-food enthusiast has filled airtime with nothing but head-thunkingly obvious comments. His typical pre-kickoff riff over the last decade has gone something like this: “To win, I think they’re […]

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