Come this fall, not all of the hard hits at University of Massachusetts football games will be taking place on the field. At a press conference today, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, newly-hired athletic director Ryan Bamford and head football coach Mark Whipple enthusiastically announced that, starting this fall, Canadian rock band Nickelback will replace the highly acclaimed Minuteman Marching Band on the sidelines of football games.
“Coach Whipple, Ryan and I are all hip to the music of today,” Subbaswamy remarked. “We were discussing what would bring students to the games, and we realized we needed something fresh and exciting.”
Nickelback, who formed in 1995 in Alberta, Canada, has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Despite constant and nearly universal critical disdain, their loyal fans maintain that they are “the best band ever!,” and that anyone who thinks otherwise is a “total loser.”
“When I came to this university, I saw the seeds of a great football program, but I also saw a program that needed to be taken to the next level,” Bamford said. “I am proud to say that with this move, we’ve taken the first steps towards reaching our long-term goals.”
The big power chords, pounding drums and palpable angst of classics like “Photograph,” “How You Remind Me” and “Rockstar” will be ricocheting out from the sidelines at each football game, both home and away, according to Whipple.
“We’ll win as a team, we’ll lose as a team and we’ll prepare as a team,” Whipple affirmed. “But most importantly, starting this year, we’ll enjoy The ‘Back as a team. There’s no feeling better than running out of that tunnel, feeling that atmosphere, the excitement of the students and hearing Chad Kroeger’s awesome voice telling you that he never made it as a wise man.”
Though he said the marching band would be missed, Whipple said he had no regrets about the hire, and that the team has responded positively to the change.
“The bottom line is, we’re a team of winners, and so is Nickelback, so this is a natural fit,” Whipple said excitedly. “When the guys are warming up, and they hear the first few seconds of ‘Savin’ Me,’ you can just feel a change in the chemistry of the team. It’s electric.”
Though Chad Kroeger, the band’s lead singer, could not be present for the press conference, he appeared in a videotaped message from his 10,000-room mansion in Beverly Hills.
“This is an amazing opportunity for us,” Kroeger said. “We get paid to kick out the jams for hours at a time and not have to worry about rehearsing for the half-time show or anything, because all of the students will either have left or be too drunk to notice!”
He added, “The Chancellor also told us that if this worked out well, they’d give us a bunch more money to play a free concert for the campus. Something about a Barney blowup?”
By ¡Whammy!, who can be reached by standing silently in the Herter-Bartlett tunnel for twenty minutes, then playing a B flat scale on the trombone and shouting, “Where do I have to go to get some cranberries in this school? Am I right?”