John Francis “Chick” Meehan coached the NYU football team for seven successful seasons from 1925 to 1931, ushering in the Golden Age of NYU football. Under his leadership, the Violets won 49 games, drew four and suffered only 15 losses. Knute Rockne of Notre Dame called Meehan “the best football coach in America.” But for Meehan, athletic culture at NYU has suffered ever since the sport was discontinued in 1953 by then-Chancellor Henry T. Heald.
This Halloween, Meehan, together with his former players halfback Ken Strong and running back Ed Smith, has risen from the dead with the goal of reviving the NYU football program. There have been multiple reports of the players throwing the ball around in Washington Square Park and terrorizing people in the park between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m.
“Ehgrehuhgurrrur,” Strong grunted when asked for a comment about the accusations.
In the 60 years since the football team was disbanded, varsity sports have slipped off the radar. These days, academics before athletics is a phrase often heard bouncing off the walls of the Coles Sports Center. In its heyday, NYU teams played to full-capacity crowds in Yankee Stadium and were famous for gaudy uniforms, precision drills and military huddles. According to Meehan’s New York Times obituary, to promote additional color he had cannons shot off after every NYU score.
“No football,” Meehan said. “NYU no strong.”
The NYU football program ground to a halt in 1942 when the football season was suspended because of the economic pressure and loss of personnel caused by the United States’ entry into World War II. When the program started again in 1944, it was an uphill battle to regain the power and prestige the program once had.
“We sad when program stop,” Strong said.
Smith was drafted in the third round of the 1936 NFL Draft and played for the Boston Redskins and Green Bay Packers. During the 1935 football season, Smith posed for the Heisman Trophy study with the now-iconic straight arm. He died in 1998.
Meehan, Strong and Smith have declared they will not eternally rest until their once-proud program has returned to prominence. They will continue to haunt the students of NYU and the administration, especially athletic director Chris Bledsoe, as they still blame the athletic department for the loss of their team. They have also demanded for the university to schedule a football game where the deceased players will perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance at halftime.
“Me want ‘Thriller,’” Smith said.
There is no telling how he knows of the song.
This story is part of our fictitious coverage in celebration of Halloween 2013. All people and events in the story are fictional.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 31 print edition. Dewey Riley is deputy sheriff of Woodsboro. Email him at email@example.com.