Gridiron Rhetoric: Week 10

[Cross-blogged for Leland Quarterly]

There’s clearly a lot to be said after a game like last week’s, and all of it is worthy of heroic hexameter.  I could talk about Luck’s determination (which we’ve seen against USC before), or about how we scored more points against USC than anyone else has ever (breaking our own 2009 record)—but I want to talk about what wasn’t on the field.

Namely: Shayne Skov, Delano Howell, Jordan Williamson, and Zach Ertz.

It was, to say the least, a bad day for Stanford’s injured list.  Skov’s been out, mohawk and all, since Arizona; Howell’s presence in the backfield was sorely missed; Williamson poetically gave up the kicking game to the younger brother of the hero of last year’s game; and Ertz—oh Ertz—is one of our three dominant tight ends, our Tree Amigos, our Tree’s Company, our Tree Musketeers, our Tree Wishes, our Holy Treenity…

Pictured: our new Nike Pro Combat uniforms

Yes, fate is a cruel and unjust mistress, and the injured list can make or break a season.  But this is Stanford, after all.  We have something those other Pac-12 schools don’t have.  I’m not talking about a potential number-one-draft-pick quarterback, though we have that.  And I’m not talking about a dominant offensive line, though we have that.  I’m not even talking about the highest graduation rate of any Pac-12 football program, though we sure as hell have that.

No, I’m talking about something even more special.  You see, Stanford has a $12.6 billion endowment.  That’s more than every other Pac-12 school put together.  And we spend it on the most dangerous thing imaginable:


Let’s go back for a minute to 2005.  George W. Bush is being inaugurated for his second term.  Saddam Hussein is put on trial.  Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo is taking theaters by storm.  And into this brave new world, Stanford researchers introduce the cold glove, a device that enables athletes to cool down rapidly after workouts, massively reducing muscle fatigue.

Move on to 2010.  Wikileaks releases tens of thousands of classified documents to the mercy of the internet.  North Korea fires artillery shells at a South Korean island.  The second half of Glee’s breakthrough first season airs on Fox.  And the San Francisco 49ers are outfitted with complex networks of force and pressure sensors by Stanford researchers, allowing Stanford unprecedented access to a professional football team.

Fast forward to the present.  Stanford researchers start using force-sensitive mouthpieces to collect in situ data of football collisions.

The red LED light means it’s from the future.

What is the point of this, you might ask?  Well, besides continuing to push the boundaries of sports and orthopedic medicine to new frontiers, pursuing cutting-edge science that may change the way sports equipment is designed, and creating the potential to vastly reduce the damage caused by sports injuries, Stanford is clearly focused on one thing: getting Skov, Howell, Williamson, and Ertz back on the field.

That’s right.  We can rebuild them.  We have the technology.

Better.  Stronger.  Faster.  Harder, well, that one was Daft Punk’s idea.

Because really, what’s a six million dollar man to a university with a twelve and a half billion dollar endowment?  0.048%, that’s what.  Start warming up the operating table, boys.  It’s time to build us a football team.

Finally, a look at some rhetoric from around the internet:


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