I love this, Roll Tide Guy!
What’s a University of Alabama freshman to do after instant Internet fame invades his life because of a viral cardboard cutout of his face? If you’re 19-year-old Jack Blankenship, you flag down Beyonce and Jay-Z at a New York Knicks game Monday night.
“I waved at them for the longest time and did the face at them too,” Blankenship told Mashable on Tuesday after appearing on the Today Show in NYC. “Finally, I captured their attention. Beyonce laughed and did ‘The Face!’ Soon after, Jay-Z did too!”
The first high-profile sighting of Blankenship and his cardboard cutout popped up on Feb. 4 during the Alabama vs. Ole Miss contest; ESPN2 cameras captured his antics on camera. The video now has 1 million pageviews on YouTube. A screengrab of the face sign also appeared on imgur and has garnered 694,658 views.
Blankenship created the cardboard cutout to distract opposing teams’ players. Its popularity sparked his school’s marketing department to print 200 paper copies of it when Alabama played Tennessee on Feb. 18.
His popular facial expression has humble beginnings. Originally, he and his buddy Austin Jackson used the expression to signify whenever something funny was near them. Two more friends began employing the expression, and they even took a Wal-Mart Studio photo of all four of them doing it (see photo on left).
Now, all of his friends from his hometown of Tuscaloosa do The Face and so do fans at Alabama basketball games.
“The people at The University of Alabama have reacted very well to the face,” he says. “The faculty have been really supportive of it too. It was shocking to see my head on so many different things, and when I walk around campus, people recognize me, but they don’t do the face at me just yet.”
The cutout seems to work at distracting players, as far as free-throw shooting percentage goes. The opposing teams’ percentages dip during the second halves, at which time they’re facing Blankenship’s face:
- Ole Miss: 1st half: 60% free throws; 2nd half: 55% (-5%)
- Florida: 1st half 100% FT, 2nd half: 67% (-33%)
- Tennessee: 1st half: 75% FT, 2nd half: 69% (-6%)
“I also do this to prevent the student section from yelling obscenities and negative comments at the opposing team,” Blankenship says.
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