History of AIRBHG

As taken from www.hawkeyenation.com
First things first; I don’t believe in curses, jinxes or voodoo.  I don’t think Bobby Brady brought home any bad luck when he found the little Tiki God. With that out of the way, there is this little thing Iowa fans call AIRBHG.

Someone made a post on our message boards back in March that underscored Iowa’s issues with running backs dating back to 2001.  The list is staggering for for nothing more than it’s amazing coincidence of attrition at one position.  Given Iowa’s running back injuries against UNI, two going down in the same quarter, I thought we’d bring this item to the home page.  I must also add that some Hawkeye fans posted on twitter this past week that new Iowa running back Mark Weisman was sent to kill AIRBHG.  I hope they are right, or at least maybe Weisman can trick AIRBHG because he is a fullback playing running back.

Below is the post as it first appeared on our board shortly after Jordan Canzeri tore his ACL during spring drills.  I have taken the liberty to update it since then, including links to some of the ‘founding fathers’ from where the term originated and where part of the synopsis began. If you have the time, pay them a visit, too.

Remember, it’s all a coincidence.  A sick, heinous and unbelievable coincidence.


AIRBHG is an acronym, which stands for ‘Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God’. It’s existence was first noted by the sports blog Black Heart, Gold Pants. Running backs who have played for the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Kirk Ferentz era have had a surprising, if not shocking string of bad luck. The only plausible explanation is that of an otherworldly force at play. Enter AIRBHG

The following Chronology was begun at The Hawkeye Lounge, but several revisions have been required to attain complete accuracy.

1) Ladell Betts, after logging hundreds of carries over his first three seasons which do not result in a winning record, makes it through his ‘payoff’ senior year only to miss his final game, due to injury. This is the first time where AIRBHG strikes, but it’s unattributable due to it being the first occurrence.
2) Replacement Aaron Greving rushes for over 100 yards in the Alamo Bowl, raising expectations for 2002.

1) Greving, the projected starter is injured and abruptly quits mid way through the season.
2) Justice Hariston fails to qualify.
3) Jermelle Lewis has a very good year backing up Fred Russell; AIRBHG takes note.
4) Russell has one of the most productive rushing seasons in Iowa history

1) Lewis tears ACL in the spring, misses first half of season but is not the same back upon his return
2) Promising freshman Albert Young breaks leg on kickoff return, out for year.
3) AJ Johnson lasts a semester before getting kicked out.
4) Russell escapes the wrath of AIRBHG, likely due to his being 5-feet-6 inches tall and hiding behind gargantuan Left Tackle Robert Gallery
5) Champ Davis starts at fullback for Iowa in season opening win against Miami, becoming the first true freshman to start on offense under Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. AIRBHG is not amused and takes note.

1) Shonn Greene fails to qualify out of high school
2) Russell leaves early for the NFL, thumbs nose at AIRBHG. However, he goes undrafted
3) In a move designed to confuse AIRBHG, Champ Davis moves from fullback to tight end during 2004 spring practice before moving back to fullback during the season
4) Lewis tears other ACL
5) Albert Young tears ACL misses second full season.
6) Marques Simmons misses several games with a high ankle sprain
7) Marcus Schnoor tears ACL
8) Champ Davis misses final four games of 2004 due to injury
9) Sam Brownlee leads Iowa in rushing with 227 yards.
NOTE: Iowa overcomes AIRBHG and shares the Big Ten title with Michigan, despite one of the worst rushing attacks in college football. Iowa finishes the year 10-2 after a 2-2 start, concluding with Drew Tate hitting Warren Holloway as time expired on a bomb in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. AIRBHG attempted to influence the outcome in this one by distorting Offensive Coordinator Ken O’Keefe and Head Coach Kirk Ferentz’s clock awareness, but the players were able to rise above and emerge victorious. However, AIRBHG is unamused.

1) Ferentz tricks AIRBHG by briefly moving Damian Sims to corner. As of 2012, Sims remains is the only scholarship running back to go four years without a major injury.

1) Kalvin Bailey - flunked out after one year
2) Corey Robertson - flunked out after one year
3) Albert Young, having sacrificed two years to AIRBHG, is rewarded with a complete season in which he gains over 1,000 rushing in conference play alone. He remains the last scholarship Iowa running back to reach his senior season while still enrolled at the University of Iowa. 

1) Shonn Greene ineligible
2) Dana Brown assaults girlfriend and is kicked off the team during the great purge of ’07.

1) Jevon Pugh - left school after one year
2) Jeff Brinson - injured and redshirts
3) Nate Guillory, a Juco transfer, leaves in fall camp. Rumors abound that he saw an apparition resembling AIRBHG whilst chanting ‘Bloody Mary’ in the football training room with the lights off and left town without bringing along any of his personal effects. This is unconfirmed, however.
4) Paki O’Meara #2 on depth chart throughout season.
5) Greene, having surrendered two years to AIRBHG, is rewarded with the best season running the ball in Iowa history and wins the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.

1) Just days into 2009, Greene comes across a collection of long lost Irish sayings which includes ‘May you be in the NFL one season before AIRBHG knows you’re out of Iowa City’ and decides to turn professional with one year of eligibility remaining. He is presently unharmed and walks without the aid of crutches or a knee brace.
2) Jewel Hampton tears ACL in fall camp
3) Brinson still injured has one carry
4) Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher do a nice job but usually one or both is hobbled
5) Paki again a staple on depth chart. Rumors suggesting Paki was a frequent visitor to the Black Angel in an Iowa City cemetery are as of yet unfounded.

1) Brinson leaves before spring ball
2) Wegher chooses not to play football for Iowa following an 11-2, Orange Bowl winning season.
3) Marcus Coker - breaks collarbone in August camp
4) Hampton – torn ACL by game three, transfers prior to bowl
5) Robinson – concussions, then academics, not in good standing, then marijuana arrest, kicked off team
6) Paki apparently also injured.
7) Brad Rogers misses 2010 Insight Bowl with heart condition

1. Mika’il McCall was the talk of camp and goes off in the first quarter of the first game, then suffers a broken ankle after nine carries
2. Rogers misses the first half of the season with the heart condition, then is cleared to play
3. McCall is cleared to play but doesn’t see action against Minnesota and Michigan. Gets two carries at Purdue, fumbles and is benched. Suspended for the season shortly thereafter for undisclosed reasons
4. Coker somehow escapes AIRBHG for the regular season, but is suspended for the 2011 Insight Bowl for a violation of the student code.
5. Jordan Canzeri starts and plays well in bowl game, AIRBHG notices.
NOTE: Hampton has a breakout year for Southern Illinois, gaining 1,121 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. He elects to turn professional with one year of eligibility remaining.

1. McCall transfers in January of 2012
2. Coker transfers to Stony Brook in January of 2012 after rushing for nearly 1,400 yards as a sophomore at Iowa, which was good for the second best total in the Big Ten in 2012
3. Indiana Brownlee tries to end the curse of AIRBHG
4. Canzeri suffers knee injury in March of 2012 during the third practice of spring drills and also the first day in pads. Canzeri’s father confirms to HawkeyeInsider.com that it was a tear of the ACL and that Jordan will likely redshirt in 2013.
5. Incoming running back Greg Garmon openly mocks AIRBHG on March 30th
6. Garmon retweets curious item from ‘Weed Tweets’ on May 12th
7. Incoming running back Greg Garmon arrested for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in early June.
7a. 7/26/12: Ferentz announces that Garmon will not be suspended as this falls within the student code of conduct and first violation parameters, per Ferentz.
8a. 7/26/12: De’Andre Johnson, who was listed as the #2 back heading into fall camp per Iowa’s 2012 media guide, cited for Disorderly House
8b. 7/28/12: De’Andre Johnson charged with speeding on a motorcycle (60 in a 25) in University Heights as well as briefly evading police, per the police report.
8c. 7/29/12: Ferentz releases statement: “I was very disappointed to learn of the situation involving De’Andre Johnson Saturday evening. As a result, De’Andre has been suspended immediately from all team activities.”
8d. 8/1/12: De’Andre Johnson dismissed from team. “I am disappointed that things didn’t work out better for De’Andre,” said Ferentz. “We wish him all the best moving forward.”
9a. 8/18/12: Freshman running back Barkley Hill injures left knee on final play of the scrimmage. Personnel on the field were reported saying they heard a ‘pop’. Hill was taken off the field on a cart. Nothing official has been reported as of yet.
9b. 8/21/12: Iowa confirms that Hill tore his ACL & will miss season.
10. 9/15/12: Damon Bullock rushes for nearly 80 yards in little more than a quarter against UNI and is knocked unconscious, leaves the game, likely concussion of a yet to be determined grade.
11. 9/15/12: Greg Garmon replaces Bullock against UNI and injures his right arm/elbow. Did not return, arm was bandaged and iced. Prognosis uncertain.


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