Chris Kluwe is entering his eighth season as the punter for the Minnesota Vikings, and he's damn good at his day job. He has punted over 500 times for over 20,000 net yards while pinning opponents inside the 20 yard line 180 times in his NFL career. He's annually one of the best and most consistent punters in the league.
But of course, that's not why we're talking about him. Although Rich Eisen has assured us that punters are people too, Chris Kluwe's abnormal popularity is based on his quirky life outside of football.
He's a huge fan of video games. Kluwe has spent more time playing World of Warcraft than most nerdy teenagers; he even formed his Twitter handle (@ChrisWarcraft) based on his love of the game. He often uses his Twitter account to critique the latest games when they're released. (Or in some cases, before they're released. Apparently being an NFL punter can get you into some pretty lofty inside gaming circles.)
When Kluwe isn't playing Guitar Hero, he's playing real live bass guitar for his band Tripping Icarus. He formed the band with a couple buddies a few years ago and they've released two albums and an EP. (You can download the band's latest work on their website.)
And even when it actually comes to football, Kluwe is much more visible than your average punter. His infamous "whiteboard session" tweets regarding the day-to-day life of a punter are always a perfect mix of biting satire and sophomoric humor. Kluwe was also one of the more outspoken players during last year's NFL lockout. He caught a lot of flack from fellow players for calling the holdout by the elite NFLPA players representatives a "douchebag move". In classic Kluwe fashion, he didn't back away from the criticism--he faced it head-on with an open letter to his critics on Deadspin.
Deadspin is a very popular blog with a propensity to be on the filthy and controversial side of sports. Naturally, Kluwe and Deadspin have formed an unholy (albeit entertaining) alliance in the past few weeks.
Back on August 1, he held a lengthy Q&A session with Deadspin's commenters. The responses from Kluwe were just as one would expect--quick-witted, vulgar, and surprisingly enlightening. Since then, he's practically been a part-time writer for Deadspin. He's always hopping in the comment section to break down the intricacies of the NFL fining system or completely fly off the handle when someone suggests that teams should never punt. On Thursday Deadspin released the Vikings chapter of "Why Your Team Sucks", an ongoing feature by Deadspin writer (who also happens to be a Minnesota native and Vikings fan) Drew Magary. Kluwe was quick with a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal for Magary and Deadspin as a whole.
What endears Kluwe to a lot of fans is the fact that it isn't always about braggadocio and sarcasm. For very foul-mouthed Twitter barb he flings at an unsuspecting target, he's just as likely to make a self-deprecating comment on how his tackling form could use some work or how Devin Hester gives him nightmares. It might be hard to find at times, but there's usually some humility mixed in with the humor.
It doesn't look like Kluwe is going to slow down his outspoken ways anytime soon, and we should all be grateful for that. Every time he pops up with something to say, it's online gold. Keep winning the internet, Chris.
And oh yeah--keep pinning opponents inside the 20 too.