ANN ARBOR, Mich (WLNS) – He stands taller than most of the team at a towering 6-foot-5 and has been “Michigan Football” since he was just 5 years old.
But it was “The Play” that truly changed his life forever.
“We all thought that a punt was definitely the way to go,” says fan Chris Baldwin. “And our punter last year, Blake O’Neill was insanely good, like he could pin it at the 1 year line, certainly inside the 5.”
The game announcer described the action “whoa! He has trouble with the snap! And the ball in free!! It’s picked up by michigan state, jalen watts-jackson! And he scores!!! On the last play of the game!! Unbelievable!!”
Sure, people still stop Jalen Watts-Jackson or former Wolverine punter Blake O’Neill to talk about “The Play”.
But another key “player” wasn’t actually on the field at all.
Chris Baldwin was in the stands.
“I just remember after he scored it was just complete chaos,” says Baldwin. “From the people around me, you know, the state fans in the stadium, the players on the field running all over and jumping up and down and… Apparently I did a pose. (laughs)”
Baldwin continues “I didn’t realize it in the moment definitely. I didn’t know that, I didn’t realize I was on camera until probably 20 minutes to a half hour after the game. I started feeling a bunch of texts and calls and people have even said you know, I was doing the same pose in the stadium or in my living room or something but yea, you were just happened to be the one that was caught on camera for it.”
6 News caught Chris on camera the day before the big game last year.
He was camping-out with his friends for ESPN’s “College Game Day.”
“Being a Michigan fan my whole life, we went through some rough years, but now that we’re finally back, and it’s definitely a lot more encouraging.”
These days the “encouraging” still comes from all over.
U of M students, visiting fans and news stations all asking the same thing: “can we see the pose one more time… (long pause) i love i! (laughs) that’s perfect!”
Baldwin recalls “I expected everybody like the day of, like, look at this, look at this kid, you know, isn’t that funny how devastated he is. (laughs) I certainly figured you know, by the next Saturday, you know, that will pretty much be the end of it.”
Not even close.
Soon after ESPN came calling and flew him out to Atlanta for the ESPN college football awards.
“They had the play of the year, and no surprise that was the winner,” recalls Baldwin. “So yea, so they had me present the trophy to Coach Dantonio, hand it over, shake his hand, and say congratulations that sort of thing.”
But perhaps the the biggest honor?
Being forever immortalized in plastic.
“To have a Lego modeled after me. (laughs) so yea, that was fun to see. You know, just another fun thing.”
And Chris has been having fun with all this fame.
But he doesn’t want to keep the pose all to himself.
In fact, he hopes to see many others doing it as well on Saturday, just so long as they’re wearing different colors.
Baldwin laughs, “I want to see a lot of green in the shocked look. I guess we gotta give them a taste of their own medicine.”