It was one for the record books when Alabama took down Clemson last night, 45-40, for the CFP National Championship on ESPN. But it’s not the NCAA Record Book we’re talking about. It’s the parody Twitter account annals and the record is for Most Beloved Imaginary Sports Object ever.
Launched on a whim in September while watching Monday Night Football, @ThePylonCam handle became a national celebrity last night after several key plays landed in its, um, lap. [EDITOR’S NOTE: @ThePylonCam is not in any way sanctioned by or affiliated with ESPN. But we do like when our fans have good, clean, fun.]
“We love the shout-outs from the major media who recognize the incredible technology stuffed in our innards and the innovative angles we now provide,” @ThePylonCam told Front Row in an exclusive person-on-pylon interview Tuesday afternoon. “But what we really love are the declarations of love from true football fans worldwide. They make all the tough hits — and dearth of red-zone corner activity at times — worthwhile.”
(Confession: @ThePylonCam is not a living object. But its creator, David Wasson, a former contract employee in Stats & Info for ESPN is very alive. . . and very funny. Using what Wasson, 43, calls “a bit of irreverence and pith along the way – and a huge dose of Odell Beckham Jr.” his parody account followers surpassed 200 last night and his fans became legion. We return you to the story of his alter ego.)
With several prior uses of ESPN’s PylonCam technology, it wasn’t until last night that @ThePylonCam had its breakout moment(s).
“We feel like The Lorax in many ways,” TPC said. “We speak for the orange foam that my peeps at Gilman created and [ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Product Innovation] Jed Drake’s crew at ESPN stuffed with HD cameras. Before this year, we were a largely disenfranchised lot of dummy orange rectangles with no soul. But this year, given the gift of sight, we realized our voice needed to be heard.”
Fortunately, TPC’s voice box wasn’t crushed in any of the game’s violent collisions at the goal line – credit sturdy design and a rigorous weight training program.
“Not gonna lie… A couple of those licks last night smarted a bit,” TPC said. “[Alabama return man] Kenyan Drake gave us a wonderful bro-hug on the kickoff return, which felt awesome once we regained our bearings. Thankfully, we are built Ford Tough (wink, wink …) and can play with pain!”
Utilizing its ubiquitous #WeSeeYou hashtag, TPC was intent on letting fans know “we see all — as long as ‘all’ happens in or around the goal line. Plus, we really felt we needed something catchy that maybe we could get trending worldwide. Last night was pretty close. . . Another goal: an NFL superstar kneeling down to us and saying ‘Hi Mom!’ in ultimate selfie-style awesomeness.”
But fame and all its trappings can be a fickle friend and we couldn’t help but hear some ominous tones in TPCs’ voice. Could he fall into the seedy underworld of one-hit wonders and cautionary tales who couldn’t handle their 15 (or 60 game minutes) of fame?
“Oh man, the future is SO bright,” TPC said. “Scorcese was on the horn earlier today. Leo wanted a word. President Obama contemplated a tweet shout-out. Besides picking up the AT&T endorsement last night, of course, the world is our oyster. Viva la pylon cams!”
May #WeSeeYou prosper as a pylon and a person. . . Godspeed.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 12, 2016