The following is a reader editorial and does not necessarily represent the editorial opinion of Off Tackle Empire, SBNation, Vox Media, or anyone else you plan on suing over having your feelings hurt by the fact that someone does not care for the Blackshirts tradition. There are sources cited and a respectful attempt to articulate an opinion; please match that tone in the comments. And I swear, if you say "cancel culture" unironically, your ass is banned before you can sadly release a red balloon while trailing Illinois on your home turf. --Mgmt One fateful day in the fall of 1964, Huskers assistant coach Mike Corgan walked into a discount athletic supply store in Lincoln and walked out with a set of black pullover jerseys. Head Coach Bob Devaney had recently made the decision to enter the 20th century by playing different squads on offense and defense, and needed some way to distinguish his defensive players from the offensive starters during practices. But not everyone on defense got a black jersey - only those who earned the right to be on the starting squad. The legend of the "black shirts" (as they were originally known) was born.
Five decades of beating up on Kansas, OK State, K State, and other college football heavyweights solidified the reputation of the fearsome "blackshirts" defense and placed Nebraska on the cusp of being a genuine college football Blue Blood program. But after almost a decade in the Bee One Gee, Nebraska is looking down the barrel of a losing record in conference play and is barely above .500 overall, despite playing in the feckless B1G West. Even worse, the global pandemic has seems to have instilled in the entire Husker organization a monomanical desire to play football, like the early modern dancing manias which tore through plague-stricken Germany. In spite of (or maybe because of?) the increasing scorn and derision being heaped on the Nebraska program, the Nebraska leadership continues to lean into a bizarre narrative where they "saved" football: