As Tim Howard's record-setting 16-save performance wrapped up on Tuesday, fans immediately started tweeting out memes and messages of respect to the 35-year-old goalkeeper. Sure, the U.S. lost 2-1 to Belgium, but everyone was more interested in heralding America's newest hero than talking about the end of Team USA's run.
One crafty fan rushed to Wikipedia to change the entry for the U.S. Secretary of Defense. That title belongs to Chuck Hagel, but for a few brief moments before Wikipedia switched it back and locked the page, the entry said that Howard reports directly to President Obama and is a member of the National Security Council.
A screengrab was tweeted and retweeted more than 40,000 times. Dozens of media outlets posted it, and by Wednesday afternoon, Hagen actually called Howard to congratulate him and invite the entire team to the Pentagon.
But when a member of the media asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest if the White House had anything to do with the Wikipedia edit, he responded, "I don't have any personnel announcements to make." That's his standard response, but he embellished a bit:
"Unfortunately I can't claim credit for that brilliant idea that was manifested on Wikipedia," he said. "But I think even Secretary Hagel would agree with me that Tim Howard demonstrated an ability to repel an opponent's attacks with remarkable courage and bravery and athleticism yesterday."
I think all of Team USA's fans would agree. The Wikipedia page edit was soon followed by a White House petition to name him as Sec. of Defense.
“We, the undersigned, hereby petition for the appointment of Timothy Matthew “Tim” Howard, Goalkeeper and MVP of the USMNT, king of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, to the office of U.S. Secretary of Defense for acts of valor and general badassery during the 2014 World Cup,” it reads.
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