Cal football

Locker Room Talk with the Boys of the Berkeley Gazette

Once upon a time, Berkeley had its own daily newspaper, the Berkeley Gazette, and for a brief, semi-glorious moment, it had two sports-reporting brothers. The paper was small enough that the brothers weren’t exclusively sports-reporters, but being born and bred in Berkeley, with Bear-blood in their veins, they wasted as much ink and newsprint on Cal’s sports program as they could possibly get away with.

How Did the Axe Cross the Bay? A Ferry Tale

For those who know, the Stanford Axe is more than just a trophy. Awarded to the annual winner of the Stanford­–Cal “Big Game” (full disclosure: I’m a Stanford grad), the Axe represents one of the oldest college rivalries in the country, dating back to 1892. The origins of the Stanford Axe have been told again and again, including the infamous heist of the Axe by Cal students in 1899, and subsequent repossession by Stanford 30 years later.

Yet, some mysteries remain.

10 Questions for Cal Football’s Favorite Bookworm

Cal running back and rising senior Patrick Laird is known for more than just his walk-on career and impressive collection of awards. An avid reader since childhood, Laird isn’t afraid to flaunt his bibliophilia—on the football field and now, in the classroom. With the support of Cal Athletics, he’s using his platform as a standout football player to encourage younger students to pick up a book (or four, or six) this summer.

WATCH: The Play

Saturday’s Big Game marks the 35th anniversary of the five-lateral kickoff return so legendary that it’s simply known as The Play. Filmmaker Peter Vogt tells the story behind the historic moment in his eponymous documentary which features interviews with Cal coach Joe Kapp, Stanford quarterback John Elway, radio play-by-play announcer Joe Starkey, that one trombone player, and many others. Watch clips of those interviews and raw footage from the 1982 game below.

Kapp Redux: Revisiting Joe Kapp v. NFL in Light of the Kaepernick Case

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lawsuit against NFL owners for colluding to keep him out of football because he launched the “take-a-knee” protests against racial injustice evokes an earlier landmark sports case, one involving another player whose surname shares a phonetically identical initial syllable with Kaepernick’s.

The Vagabonds of Tightwad Hill Have the Best View in Sports

“This man needs an escort!” the security guard shouted, as ticketholders decked in blue and gold filed past me through the turnstiles into Memorial Stadium. I had no ticket for the sold out game against Bears’ rival USC, but I had a scheme to watch it regardless.

The Selfless Quarterback: Cancer Intercepted Joe Roth’s Career, Not His Enduring Legacy

In 1975, two years before Tom Brady was born, another Golden Boy burst upon the football scene. He was a Cal quarterback named Joe Roth, and he had it all: looks (6-foot-4, with wavy blond hair and, in the words of his girlfriend, Tracy Lagos McAllister, “a super-cute smile”), brains, and an abiding Catholic faith that led him to take the Golden Rule seriously.

The Book of Proverb: In a New Autobiography, the ‘Last of the Biblical Tackles’ Tells All

To say Proverb Jacobs has written his memoirs is a little like saying that Herman Melville wrote a story about a whale.

That’s not to exaggerate the literary accomplishment, only to say that when it comes to sheer bulk, Jacobs’s humbly titled, self-published Autobiography of an Unknown Football Player makes even Moby-Dick look like small-fry. The former Oakland Raider’s opus runs to nearly 1,600 pages in two volumes, including notes and index. Stacked one atop the other, they’re nearly as thick as a pint glass is tall.

From the Winter 2014 Gender Assumptions issue of California.

Tough Stance: A Q&A With the Authors Who Say Cal Athletics Should Learn from Stanford

All hell was breaking loose over UC Berkeley’s abysmal graduation rates for football and men’s basketball players as California magazine was doing final edits on the Winter 2013 issue. That magazine was to include an in-depth interview with the authors of a paper on the Cal Athletics program, which, in singling out graduation rates and the commercialization of sports on campus, helped spark the recent controversy.

Bad News Bears: Report dings Cal’s strikingly low admissions bar for student athletes

If they were winning, the news might not seem so bad. But they’re not. And it is.

Cal football is currently 1-10 on the season and has the worst-ranked defense in the country. As of the latest available statistics, they also have the lowest graduation rates of any BCS school—that is, of any major college football program in the country. Only 44 percent of players admitted between 2003 and 2006 graduated within a six-year time frame.

For the men’s basketball team, the rate was even lower—just 38 percent.

Remembering ‘The Munc’

“He was like a bull, with speed,” said Ed White of his old teammate and fellow Cal alum Chuck Muncie, who died on Monday of a heart attack at age 60. The two played together at the San Diego Chargers in the early 80s, where Ed was an All-Pro offensive guard and Chuck was an All-Pro running back.

The Big Game of 1982

This photo was taken during the Axe Rally held Monday, November 22, 1982, two days after “The Play”. Mariet Ford (most left) was one of the players who lateraled their way to the endzone. Go Bears! Photo courtesy of Ken Raust.

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