Nebraska Football and Fireworks
Photo Credit: Erin Sorensen

Nebraska Football and Fireworks

July 04, 2019

Happy Fourth of July. May your day be filled with burgers, brats, beer and blowing stuff up. 

There is truly no better way to celebrate America’s birthday. And there is nothing more American than football. At its most basic level, it’s a bunch of jacked dudes hitting each other to see who can hit harder while drunk dudes outside the stadium slingshot themselves onto flaming fold-out tables (Bills Mafia will forever be the G.O.A.T.). If we could play football in the summertime and not risk the entire field melting, we would play football on Independence Day every year and it would be the greatest sight you’d ever see.

But we don’t. 


That doesn’t mean we’re not still thinking about football though. At least, Joe Evans is. 

My kind of question, Joe.

(I tried to intro this better. It was harder than expected. Blame Jacob.)


  • Snake: That guy who used to play basketball in Oakland, California, but didn’t like it there either and changed teams again.
  • Sparkler: They’re sticks that, while they burn, they emit sparks and colored flames and we have decided these are the things that are safe for our five-year-old children to use. Mostly because they’re small, quick and fan-favorites. 
  • Black Cat: The best brand of fireworks you can buy.
  • Tank: Literally an itty bitty paper tank with a fuse sticking out of the back and small fireworks inside its cannon. This one probably didn’t need a description.
  • Artillery Shell: In keeping with the military theme, this one is also self-explanatory.
  • Parachute: Let’s just get to the comparisons.


See: firework description. These things are weird and gross-looking and it would seem an insult to call any current Husker player a snake.


This one also feels like it could become an insult as these things aren’t very dangerous but I’m going to try and spin it. You know who’s small, super quick and has a history of creating sparks every time he touches a football? This guy is dangerous, and while he won’t blow off any hands, he’ll make you look dumb if you don’t know how to keep him in check. JD Spielman is my guy here. 


The brand. The thing that makes everything else possible. This is recognizable, not just in name, but it in appearance. This is the logo that shows up on firework tents. There’s only one guy it can be. Which player is all over covers? When a website writes about Nebraska, who appears in the story’s accompanying photo? If Nebraska gets back to winning ways, who’s going to be leading that charge on the field? Adrian Martinez is Nebraska’s brand ambassador for the next three years because he is not allowed to leave early.


Quick and powerful. Once the fuse is lit and it reaches the engine, the thing shoots forward and spits fire. Ben Stille is the tank. The junior defensive end who has grown men with families on social media complimenting the size of his arms — cannons, if you will (sorry, trying to delete)— is best described as a tank. He’s quick off the line once the ball is snapped and can blow people up. 


You carefully load a shell into the tubing. You light the fuse, stand back and watch it go boom. Kinda like Mo Barry. Point him at the target, snap the ball and watch the boom. Barry even explodes after plays have been made, so much so practically all of his teammates have their own Barry impersonations. Is this maybe the most dangerous firework on the list? Barry is the most dangerous Blackshirt. 


So these things shoot a tiny little toy soldier into the air but the parachute rarely opens properly and the thing never lands where it’s supposed to. Most of the time, it just falls on a roof a block away. They’re kind of disappointing. Which makes this hard to compare to a current Husker. Maybe we just look at the parachute part of it? A chute is the paratrooper’s safety net. If it doesn’t work, the soldier is in trouble. In that respect, let’s go with Brenden Jaimes. If he doesn’t work, Martinez is in trouble. This is a really bad close. Thanks for the question, Joe. 

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