Mystery Solved: Barney Amor Is A Pillow Connoisseur
While some fans may sleep on Barney Amor, Penn State’s punter would never sleep on you. Though that’s mostly because he’s very particular about what he sleeps on.
When departing the team bus before entering Beaver Stadium, each player has their own routine. Some plug into their headphones, staying locked in. Some greet fans, stopping for pictures and high-fives. Amor stepped off for the Nittany Lions’ home opener against Ohio in a unique way.
He carried a pillow.
Tucked underneath his armpit, positioned betwixt his arm and ribcage, Amor befuddled many — myself included.
As the weeks rolled on, so did Amor’s bizarre pregame ritual. Like the vast majority of those who noticed, I spent days and nights racking my brain.
Was Amor sleeping on the bus? The ride doesn’t take very long. Why didn’t Amor leave the pillow on the bus? Nobody was going to steal it and surely an intern could’ve retrieved it for him. Was he planning on napping in the locker room? It seems unlikely before a football game.
I embarked on a mission to speak to Amor on the record about his pillow. It wasn’t easy. Before Penn State’s matchup with Northwestern — a game in which Amor earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors — the Nittany Lion punter was made available. Unfortunately, my class schedule did not afford me an opportunity to attend Amor’s Zoom call.
My assumption that there would be ample opportunities in the future proved erroneous.
Every week, I waited for Greg Kincaid’s weekly media schedule to be released. And every week, I moved closer and closer to the disappointing realization that the mystery of Amor’s pillow would forever remain unsolved.
Barring a Thanksgiving week post-practice press conference that I was nowhere near close enough to attend, Amor’s name never appeared. The Nittany Lions’ Senior Day game against Michigan State seemed to be my final chance, so I sent a desperate email to Kincaid and Associate Athletic Director for Communications Kris Petersen.
My request was never answered.
Despite the brief moratorium on Amor-related investigation, my prayers were answered in the form of a Rose Bowl media day featuring the full roster. Just minutes after telling Amor I had “a very strange question that had been weighing on me,” my season-long quest for the truth reached its conclusion.
This is the story of Amor’s pillow.
Amor’s pillow exploits began before he even arrived in Happy Valley in September 2020. At Colgate, his previous school, Amor was already keeping his pillow by his side.
“I’m a homebody, so I like just bringing it just to make sure I get a better night’s sleep to be honest,” Amor excitedly told me.
While preparing for their home games, the Nittany Lions relocate to a team hotel before game day. Amor said the arrangement isn’t ideal.
“I don’t know. Like I trust hotels, but you don’t know what people do,” said Amor.
Amor’s distrust of previous hotel patrons is not just a sign of his intelligence, but it’s also an example of the punter’s refined pillow taste.
“Some hotel [pillows] are like super soft,” Amor said. “You gotta really fluff them up or tuck one side under.”
Hotel pillows are not the only ones that draw the ire of Amor.
“Paper-thin ones,” said Amor, when asked to name his least favorite kind of pillow. “The ones where your neck is like completely lodged, the ones that don’t do anything.”
“I sleep on my side, so I don’t like having an awkward neck position,” Amor continued. “I like the medium, the pillows that can breathe…airflow!”
Amor’s status as a public pillow aficionado quickly caught the eye of the business world, earning him a NIL deal.
“I had my own pillow and then companies were like ‘oh, we see you walking with a pillow every day, so we’ll send you a bunch of pillows,” Amor said with a laugh.
Coop Home Goods began sending Amor “a boatload of stuff,” including the “comfiest pillow” that Penn State’s resident expert has ever owned.
Smitten with his pillow of choice, Amor brings it wherever he can, leading to its public travel from the hotel to the team bus to the locker room and back to his home.
“Now it works both ways. I can get a good night’s sleep, and I don’t have to worry about if the pillow has a lot of feathers or something in it,” Amor said. “They’re expensive pillows, but they’re really good quality so you can’t complain at all.”
Punters aren’t always known for their personality, but Amor is a kingfisher among crows, making comedic social media videos and serving as the team’s official salad spinner. His incredibly rich backstory, accolades, and impressive on-field play (including the second-highest punt average in program history) are among the ways Amor will go down in the Penn State annals. However, if there’s one thing Amor will be remembered for, it’s his pillow.
Barney Amor, the pillow connoisseur.
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An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.
“Rather than kind of dig up a dinosaur, we thought we would do something a little bit more creative that gave us the ability to make some interesting food that’s a little bit upscale.”
From 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 707 students will dance in THON and help raise money for pediatric cancer research.