Remember Michigan Football Meme Kid? Where Is He Now?
If you're a Michigan State fan, you've heard of this kid, and if you're a Michigan fan, you've been taunted with his image for years. On that fateful day nearly seven years ago, October 17th, 2015, then-Michigan quarterback Blake O'Neill made a critical error in the fourth quarter, giving the Spartans a 27-23 victory in the blink of an eye. This left all Michigan fans stunned, and when the camera cut to one upset student, a Sophomore named Chris Baldwin, his stunned look of pure horror and shock was immortalized in history forever. And when Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram got ahold of it, it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Baldwin, who was just a kid at the time, became the face of Michigan's loss to rival MSU, and every Michigan State fan clung to this image every year when football season rolled around again. My high school history teacher knew I was a Michigan fan, and he was a Spartan, so every day before class in the fall he would play the "he has trouble with the snap...and the ball is free!" on a loop before his lecture started. Every day. Those words still ring in my head before I fall asleep at night.
And Chris's life certainly changed. All of a sudden he had old friends reaching out, family members, acquaintances, classmates, everyone had something to say about it. His parents made him a pillow of the meme, and Chris learned that other families had been making the meme into gifts for each other, too, from t-shirts, to blankets, to framed photos, etc. Almost always MSU fans taunting their Wolverine friends and family members.
Chris went on local news television talking about the incident. He even went on a sports podcast called Spiro Avenue where they actually brought in 2015 MSU quarterback Jalen Watts-Jackson to relive the fateful play alongside Chris. His life became associated with this one night of his life, and he had to adjust. He released this statement on his social media the night it happened, jokingly referring to himself as an "Internet star."
And that meme lasted much longer than those "weeks to come." We are coming up on the seventh football season since this event happened, and MSU fans still constantly reference Baldwin's move that was dubbed the "surrender cobra." It is defined by Urban Dictionary as "a pose frequently displayed by sports fans after their team has made a disastrous play, or the other team has made an extraordinary play. The Surrender Cobra is sported by placing one's hands on their head with elbows splayed to the sides."
Today, Chris Baldwin works as a developer using his University of Michigan degree, and became engaged to his girlfriend Madalyn in August 2022. They still attend Michigan football games every year with their friends, who will never let them forget that fateful day in 2015 when the ultimate Surrender Cobra was born.
Do you still bring this meme up to your Wolverine friends?
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