James Franklin is officially the 16th head football coach in Penn State history. While that means a lot of things, the most important thing, of course, is that Franklin’s name and likeness are going to be put on corny t-shirts throughout Happy Valley sooner rather than later, because any time a person can be put on a t-shirt in one way or another, it’s going to happen. So, as the clothing stories send their BILLieve and O’Brien’s Lions shirts off to impoverished countries, it’s time to get those Franklin shirts on the presses.
To save everyone some time, I compiled a list of 10 possible shirts that involve James Franklin in one way or another. My only demand is that I get 50 percent commission on all sales if any of them are used. What? I’m not seeing a dime of the money that gets made? Dammit, ok.
1) King James
Fun fact: every human being to ever have the name “James” who was relatively good at something has earned the nickname “King James” at one time or another. This one would be simple, just a picture of James Franklin’s head and a photoshopped image of a crown. Just imagine the famous picture of Notorious B.I.G. or the old cover of SLAM magazine that featured then-Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James. The difference is instead of those guys, naturally, it’s a picture of James Franklin.
One last thing to remember with this one is the fun that all the high horse blowhards in the media would have with it. “They depict their coach as a KING!? What arrogance! It just shows Penn State’s football culture STILL RUNS RAMPANT AND THAT THE NCAA SHOULD SHUT THEM DOWN 5EVER!!!~!~!~~~!” I want those people to get thrown off of a gigantic metal structure a la Mankind.
2) (Front) He ‘Bilt Vandy, (Back) Time to Restore the Roar
This one is so easy that I put zero thought into it and there’s a 97 percent chance that the fine folks at Family Clothesline have already begun mass producing shirts with this slogan. It would probably include a picture of Vanderbilt’s hand signal on the front and massive all-caps blue and white letters on the back, because Penn State. This the most simple idea for a shirt and I’d be mildly surprised if it wasn’t sold by the time classes start on Monday.
3) Quite Frankly, We Are Penn State
It’s a name pun AND it features the most prominent slogan in college football this side of “Roll Tide.” Just imagine a blue shirt and these words in all white forming a circle around James Franklin’s noggin. Like the previous idea, it’s an incredibly simple shirt that someone, somewhere has almost definitely come up with already. It’s also not that funny, but I guarantee a child somewhere would find it funny which would make it totally worth it. Or something.
4) We Commandeered the Commodore
I like this because it’s a clever play on Vanderbilt’s nickname, the Commodores. It would likely drive at least one Vandy fan to insanity, and that fan would likely be the school’s athletic director, David Williams. Of course, the issue here is that nobody actually knows what a Commodore is unless they know something about the military, so explaining what it means would probably be a pain in the ass.
5) Give Us Your Tears Skip Bayless
Did you know that ESPN’s resident troll/shock jock/asshole went to Vanderbilt? Strangely enough, he went to be a journalist, only the school doesn’t have a journalism program, which is like the fourth most Skip Bayless thing ever. He isn’t shy to vocalize his love of Vandy — except for the fact that he likes Oklahoma or something — so this would be a great opportunity to get a laugh at his expense.
Seriously, I would fork out $50 for this shirt. I’m not kidding. Take a picture of sad Bayless after Tim Tebow got cut from his latest NFL team, photoshop tears onto it, and put a jar at the bottom collecting his tears. I would buy 100 of these over the course of my life and I would cherish every single one.
6) Shabba (F)Ranks(lin)
Hear me out. You probably don’t get this joke, which is fine. Shabba Ranks is a Jamaican dancehall musician who became famous when rapper A$AP Ferg released a song called “Shabba” on his critically acclaimed album Trap Lord in 2013. Here is a picture of Shabba Ranks. Here is a picture of James Franklin. They look nothing alike. The possibility for some hilarious photoshopping is off the charts.
Most importantly, this shirt would establish that Franklin is a hip-hop coach. Literally.
7) James Knows Football
This shirt has several things going for it. Most notably, it pays homage to the famous “Joe Knows Football” shirts that one kid in class wears at least once a week. At a school where tradition is so important, why not honor tradition in a semi-unconventional way?
The other reason this shirt could be a success is because for those stingy people, you could pull a Cleveland Browns fan and either tape over or cross out “OE” and put “AMES.” This way, it’s like you got a new shirt, only you didn’t drop a $20 on it. Instead, you just paid for a sharpie and some tape. That’s the kind of craftiness and intellect we expect out of Penn Staters.
Now that we don’t have “Iron Lion” anymore, why not do something that’s kind of similar? Sure, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue well, but it’s a good way to get Franklin’s name out there in a way that’s kind of clever. More importantly, this shirt pays homage to Craig Fitzgerald, who I just now realized is gone, which probably explains why I’m crying as I type this section.
9) The Vandy Man Can
Nothing like a play on a famous song that gives its listeners a childlike sense of wonder and happiness. Like some of the earlier shirts, it’s a subtle dig at Vanderbilt, plus what would be better than a t-shirt with Franklin’s face and a bunch of pieces of candy on it? To keep with the “wonder and happiness” theme, I’d put the odds at 2.5:1 that this shirt would include Franklin’s soon to be famous “I can’t tell you how excited I am to come home” quote from his introductory press release on the back, because that’s the kind of sentimental thing that people would eat up.
10) James Franklin Lives Here.