Michigan’s “First Perfect College Football Fan” Is Discovered

Mikado, MI — Behavioral analysts who have been searching the urban centers and back roads of Michigan for the past 47 years claim to have located a man in this isolated crossroads town west of Greenbush and north of Oscoda who, they say, is a “completely neutral fan of college football in this state.”

The announcement came Wednesday, in the first month of the latest collegiate football season, with both major Michigan universities — the University of Michigan and Michigan State University — boasting undefeated records after two weeks of early play.

Walter Tenbrooks, 42, who operates a combination hardware store and taxidermy at the flashing light on highways F41 and F30 in this isolated locale was described by researchers as a “reasonably ardent and apparently honest college football enthusiast who, after months of testing and intensive investigation by our field analysts, displayed an equal interest and caring” in the fortunes of both UM and MSU in their gridiron endeavors.

Tenbrooks, a 1987 graduate of Oscoda High School and the father of a boy and girl of elementary school age, reportedly feels an “equal rooting interest” while paying “close attention each year to the won-and-loss records of each school.” The clerk/taxidermist was subjected to extensive observation and analysis, including daily polygraph testing, by teams from the Midwest Behavioral Institute (MBI) of Bay City. During last year’s Michigan–Michigan State football contest, he was found to be “entirely truthful” by investigators when he told family and friends that he was “ardently hoping for a tie.”

(Editor’s note: Under present rules, college football has eliminated ties as the outcome of football contests. MBI investigators began their search for a non-committal state of Michigan fan in 1974, when ties were allowed under previous NCAA provisions, and in that time neither the analysts nor Tenbrooks had been apprised of the change. “We only get one channel up here,” Tenbrooks said. “We get cable all right, but it’s a awful small one, and the only things what I watch are the games. My wife sees the news in our family.”)

MBI investigators had scoured the state, both the Upper and Lower peninsulas, in searching out the perfectly neutral college football fan. It had been erroneously reported in 1991 that a man in St. Ignace was believed to have been the first such football follower to be discovered. But a subsequent search of what the original allegedly non-committal fan told analysts was a “fall-out shelter out back in case of, you know, like a world war” had later proved to be decorated in maize and blue bunting, with a 24-hour “eternal flame” candle illuminating a huge portrait and shrine to former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler. Coded telegrams from onetime Wolverine athletic director Don Canham were also discovered in the “fall-out shelter,” apparently relating to Michigan football recruiting in the Upper Peninsula.

“We were embarrassed by that mistake,” said an MBI spokesperson. “Since that time we have relied on lie-detecting backup for our in-the-field analysis. Use of polygraph techniques in 1991 would have surely ruled out the bogus St. Ignace prospect as the first ‘successful find’ of our research.”

MBI analysts reportedly viewed the recent Michigan–Notre Dame game with Tenbrooks in his Mikado home, with the subject wired to electrodes and sensory analysis computers. Following the exciting last second comeback win by the Wolverines, he was quoted as saying “Well, wasn’t that nice? That was a very pleasant outcome.” Investigators reported that he said almost exactly the same words earlier the same day when he was informed that Michigan State had beaten Florida Atlantic 44-0. The Spartan game was not telecast in Mikado. “We don’t see much of Florida Atlantic up here,” Tenbrooks said.

Investigators have long searched Michigan in hopes of finding a college football fan who shared an equal interest in the fates of the Spartans and the Wolverines. Five Michigan governors have tasked the behavioral institute in that quest, seeking to find a common ground that would allow the state’s college fans to “End the bickering, unite as one, extend the hands of brotherhood, bring Blue and Green together, and stick it to Ohio and its so-called university, twice a year, every year, year after year,” in the words of former Governor George Romney, an original backer of the study. Sadly, Romney died before MBI investigators turned up Tenbrooks this week. (Romney’s son Mitt, currently campaigning for the Presidency and named after a baseball glove, said when informed of MBI’s findings “When I lived in Michigan, I liked the University of Michigan and Michigan State University exactly the same. In fact, I like every other university in this great land of ours the same amount. I want everybody to win!” Expanding on his comments, the candidate later told reporters “My idea of the perfect college season would be one in which every team goes 12-0.”)

Tenbrooks said Wednesday that he is “looking forward” to victories by both the University of Michigan (playing Eastern Michigan) and Michigan State (at Notre Dame) this coming weekend. “I believe in the words of Martin Luther King, who said ‘Can’t we all just get along?’” he said. (Editor’s note: Actually it was Rodney King.)

Michigan’s first “Neutral Fan” describes himself as a political “middle-of-the-roader,” who “tried to vote for everybody in the last election, but they wouldn’t let me.”